The news that Disney+ is developing a miniseries centered around Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is something that’s been met with a lot of excitement online since it broke, but it’s worth noting that most of the excitement has less to do with Renner’s Avengers character Clint Barton and much more to do with the fact that the series is said to introduce Kate Bishop to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wondering who Kate Bishop is? Read on.
Kate Bishop debuted in 2005’s Young Avengers No. 1, created by Wonder Woman screenwriter Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung. She wouldn’t adopt the Hawkeye identity until the 12th issue of the series, although the idea had been repeatedly floated for the six months leading up her taking the mantle. At that point in Marvel’s comic book continuity, Clint Barton was dead, having been killed in 2004’s Avengers No. 502; he’d get better a couple of years later, because, well, “comics.”
A driven amateur athlete, Bishop became a superhero by accident after becoming involved in the first outing of the Young Avengers team (a group of teenage superheroes who were inspired by the adventures of Captain America, Iron Man et al.); nonetheless, she became both a fan-favorite character, in large part due to her often sarcastic tone, and also one of the more active characters created for that series, appearing both in multiple Young Avengers-related projects and the critically acclaimed 2012 Hawkeye comic book series alongside a resurrected Barton.
That series, which ran for 22 issues between 2012 and 2015, is arguably responsible for Kate Bishop as she exists in most fans’ minds today. Originally introduced as a supporting character, Bishop quickly graduated to protagonist status as she revealed herself to be more thoughtful and capable — if no less impulsive — than the man who was technically her mentor. By the series’ end, she had spent time in Los Angeles as a solo private eye, a status quo she’d return to for her first solo comic series, 2016’s Hawkeye.
The Kate Bishop of that series owed as much to Jim Rockford or Veronica Mars as she did Clint Barton or any other comic book archer, completing the transformation of the character from Young Avengers‘ hyper-competent, most confident member to an incarnation of the classic private eye trope — a detective who gets the job done, as much by coincidence and accident and personal charm as through use of her varied and impressive skill set. (Her personal life, of course, is very complicated as well.)
The result is a hero unlike most in comic books, and one that is remarkably charming and enjoyable to read about; if the Kate Bishop of the MCU proves to be half as interesting, she’ll be a welcome addition to the universe, and just might be many fans’ new favorite character.
In current Marvel comic book continuity, Kate Bishop remains in Los Angeles, leading the current version of the West Coast Avengers, a team that also includes Clint Barton’s Hawkeye, as well as her boyfriend, Johnny Watts. (See the earlier note about her complicated personal life.) The team is funded by a television crew that follows it around for a reality show, much to Bishop’s regret. If nothing else, Disney+ should take note of the obvious spinoff potential if the Hawkeye show performs well.