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Hawkeye with Sky-Cycle

Avengers 60th Anniversary
by yo go re


Ex-circus performer Clint Barton renounced a life of crime to join the Avengers as Hawkeye. Using his archery skills atop his Sky-Cycle he leads the fight against the foes no single hero could withstand.

I like how that makes it sound like the "life of crime" he gave up was "being a circus performer." Technically his big criminal career only began because the cops saw him holding stolen property (meaning he was horning in on their territory), and then only continued because he wanted to tap Black Widow. When he thought she'd been killed (he didn't check), he decided to audition for the Avengers... by kidnapping Jarvis, tying him up, attacking the Avengers and then, before they can beat him into a chunky purple paste, ordering them to stop so he can shoot the ropes off Jarvis. Amazingly, this is just the first in a whole series of mind-bogglingly dumb things he did in the early days of those Avengers stories. For comparison, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch joined by mailing in a letter.

Hawkeye's original costume was vaguely medieval/Robin Hood inspired, because he was an enemy for Iron Man: you know, high-tech vs. low-tech, all that. Eventually the costume got slightly tweaked, and this is basically what he wore for decades. The big change is that the suit is now light blue instead of dark blue, and the chainmail and straps are purple instead of light blue. Oh, and instead of a little skirt, he now has a loincloth that hangs down the front and back. The limbs come from one of the superarticulated bodies, but the torso and even the boots, which look like Captain America's, are new.

Once he joined the Avengers, Hawkeye's role on the team was being a grumbly little bitch, willing to argue with Captain America's leadership at any turn. He thought he should be in charge, which makes sense for a guy who's constantly advertising himself with his own costume. Like, look at it: there's an H on the forehead of his mask, and the straps on his torso combine with his belt to form H's on both his front and back! We get it, dude, you think you should be more famous than you are.

The new torso is a little skinner than the one used for all the other Hawkeyes. The bands around the biceps and wrists are separate, so we may see this mold again, though they'll have to do something about the gap in the waist: for the first time, Hawkeye's loincloth dealie is softgoods, rather than plastic, and Hasbro's left a little gap between the abdomen and pelvis so the cloth doesn't get pinched/ripped when you're moving the joint. His belt is supposed to help hide that gap, but it sits slightly too high to actually do that, and it's plugged into the body both in the stomach and the small of the back, so you can't even cheat it down yourself. Also, while I've never really thought about the material the "real" Hawkeye's flap would be made of, I certainly never imagined the purple parts of it were just a pattern on the surface instead of something solid. Especially since those are supposed to be little pop-open chambers where he's storing his different arrowheads.

In addition to all the usual joints (ankles, boots, knees, thighs, hips, waist, chest. wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, neck, head), this Hawkeye also has pec hinges. They're easy to miss, since they're hidden under his chainmail shawl. But they're necessary, since he's an archer and needs them to arch. All three of his accessories - bow, arrow, and quiver - are reused pieces, but they're nice enough and suit the character, so we're not going to complain too much about it. Especially since we've still got one more accessory to discuss.

Any super-team with extremely varied power levels faces a problem: how do you get everybody to participate in the fight on equal footing? Like, it's most obvious with the Justice League, where Flash would logically reach the scene (and probably defeat the villain) way before anyone else, but you still have to wait for Batman and Aquaman to show up and make them feel like they matter. So for the Avengers, you've got Iron Man, Thor, and... a bunch of people who can't fly. And while a Quinjet will be suitable for going across state lines, it's a giant waste to take it from central Manhattan over to Hudson Park. So what to do? Here comes the Avengers Sky-Sled.

As early as 1966 (the first appearance we've been able to find so far is Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3, a month before the introduction of High Evolutionary's atomic steeds; hover bikes were all the rage back then), the Avengers were using "Sky-Sleds," single-person hover-vehicles that let Hawkeye and Captain America keep up with anybody who could fly. They appeared pretty consistently over the decades, but then Hawkeye #1, it's presented like something new Clint just came up with himself. Despite the fact that he rode one in Avengers #234, the last issue he appeared in before his limited series!

Hawkeye's version, the Sky-Cycle, looks like a jet ski. For the sky. A jet sky. It's basically a big flat seat mounted above an engine (and a whole bunch of other technology, judging by the cutaway view published in Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #15) with a rounded windshield in the front. It apparently works with real compressed air, rather than some imaginary comicbook anti-gravity magic, and this design is very specifically Hawkeye's rather than the ones used by the Avengers. You want to know what's really imaginary about it? When he's taking the Sky-Cycle on its first test flight, he muses to himself that it cost him "three months' salary." Three months. Three months' salary to buy a flying motorcycle! Can you imagine being able to buy a flying-goddamn-vehicle for just three months' salary? Can you imagine being able to buy any vehicle for just three months' salary?

The Hawkeye comic came out in 1983. His job, at the time, was head of security for Cross Technological Enterprises. (Yes, Hawkeye, the guy who gets beat up all the time worked for a company called "CTE." That wouldn't be ironic for several more decades.) Anyway, looking at historical employment records, and assuming a security guard's pay would be commensurate with other "public safety" workers (cops and corrections), he'd be earning about $2,000 a month. Meaning HAVING SOMEONE SCRATCH-BUILD A FLYING MOTORCYCLE cost him approximately six grand. At a time when a new car cost less than $10k. There's a running joke that journalists are innumerate (like "illiterate," but for numbers instead of letters), but clearly comic writers are just as bad.

The Sky-Cycle is assembled from three pieces: the base, the body, and the windshield. They click together very easily and, unlike some hover-rides we could name, can be taken apart again with no trouble for easier storage. The set includes a three-pronged translucent stand to plug into the bottom and make the bike fly. Hawkeye has enough articulation to ride the Sky-Cycle nicely, and his skirt thing being softgoods means he can actually sit on it, instead of just kind of hovering above it like ToyBiz's Hawkeye did.

This Hawkeye is the best anybody's made, and even if he did drop this costume almost immediately upon getting his Sky-Cycle, they're both such iconic looks that the set is still a ton of fun!

-- 09/12/23

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