This week, Disney finally released the trailer for Marvel Studios’ next Disney+ series, Hawkeye. Among the sights, sounds, and flying arrows are two heroes, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Regular viewers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will recognize Clint from his appearances as Hawkeye in the Avengers movies, Thor, and Captain America: Civil War. However, Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop is a new addition and among the younger heroes who are being introduced in the MCU. But, who is Kate Bishop? What is she capable of, and what role might she play in this universe?
Before reading any further, this is your potential spoiler warning! This article will detail Kate Bishop’s origins, skills and abilities, relationship with Clint Barton, popular comic book storylines, and more. As such, some of this information could be a spoiler for events or plotlines in the Hawkeye series or MCU at large. Read at your own risk!
Who is Kate Bishop? Comic Book Origins
Who is Kate Bishop, you ask? Katherine “Kate” Bishop is a young hero who was created by writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung. She first appeared in 2005’s Young Avengers #1. She is one of three characters in the Marvel Universe to use the mantle of Hawkeye. However, she is not simply given this title. Kate earns the title of Hawkeye and her role as a Young Avenger through hard work, determination, and intense training.
Like many heroes, Kate Bishop’s dedication to heroism and desire to fight evil comes from an injustice she suffered. Although there are initially few details, a special issue of Young Avengers reveals that before joining the team Kate was ambushed in Central Park. She is traumatized by the incident, but soon after, she begins intense combat training. This training takes her from an average girl to a formidable force for good.
Later in the All-New Hawkeye comics series, more details are given to Kate’s backstory. Readers discover that Kate idolized her father growing up, but she later discovers that he is involved in organized crime. After being taken captive by her father’s rival gang, Kate is rescued by Hawkeye and the rest of the Avengers. In saving Kate, Clint ultimately inspires her to become a hero.
Kate Bishop’s Skills and Abilities
Much like Clint Barton, Kate Bishop possesses an affinity for archery. However, she is also a skilled swordswoman, martial artist, and boxer. In her arsenal are battle staves, a sword, a bow, arrows, and of course some specialty arrows, which were seen in the trailer for the Hawkeye series. Inspiration for her fighting style and choice of weapons comes from Clint as well as Marvel Comics’ Mockingbird, who has often partnered with Hawkeye in the comics. In many ways, Kate is the best of both Clint and Mockingbird, making her a force to be reckoned with.
However, Kate Bishop’s skills go far beyond combat. In her more recent appearances in the comics, Kate has opened her own private investigations business in Los Angeles. She serves the community much like Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Jessica Jones: a hero/detective for hire. Unfortunately, due to the many major, potential world-ending events that occur in the Marvel Comics universes, this aspect of Kate’s life has not been explored much.
Her Relationship with Clint Barton
Although the two Hawkeyes have had several run-ins with each other over the years, the more recent Marvel NOW! comics depict their relationship the best. After the events of Avengers vs. X-Men in 2012, Clint and Kate decide to focus on street-level crime instead of facing world, universe, or multiverse threats. During this time, the two primarily have a mentor and apprentice-style relationship. However, they are also constantly competing with one another. Their relationship is similar to that of Anakin and Obi-Wan in The Clone Wars or Revenge of the Sith. Like Anakin, Kate is remarkably skilled and often able to do things better than her mentor, but like Obi-Wan, Clint is older, wiser, and still impressively skilled.
Like any relationship, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop have their ups and downs. Sometimes it is them against the world, but sometimes they get sick of each other and need to do things alone. In either case, the dynamic between them is one of care, humor, competition, and admiration.
Kate Bishop’s Most Popular Stories
Despite being a younger hero and a fairly recent addition to Marvel Comics, Kate Bishop has been involved in several stories. She has fought alongside the Young Avengers, been involved in two Civil Wars, and even helped stop a Skrull invasion. However, like many heroes, Kate’s best stories are in comics outside of crossovers and potential world-ending threats.
Some of the best stories featuring Kate Bishop can be found in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s 2012 Hawkeye comics and the All-New Hawkeye comics written by Jeff Lemire in 2015. In both series, Kate Bishop co-stars with Clint Barton. The duo works together to take on organized street crime like Madame Masque and the Russian Mafia. However, they eventually end up tangling with larger, more dangerous organizations like HYDRA. Both series are terrifically written and not only give readers an indication of who Kate is but what her relationship with Clint is. They are must-reads for anyone interested in discovering, “Who is Kate Bishop?”
Potential Role Kate Could Play in the MCU
Kate Bishop’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe should not be taken lightly. Marvel Studios is including younger heroes in several of their latest and upcoming projects. These heroes include Yelena Belova from Black Widow, Wanda’s children from WandaVision, Kamala Khan from the Ms. Marvel series as well as The Marvels movie, and Riri Williams from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and the Ironheart series. With most of the original Avengers retired or not alive, it is likely that Marvel Studios is assembling the next generation of heroes. If so, Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop is a great addition. Viewers of the Hawkeye series will likely find that she is clever, competitive, unrelenting, and maybe an even better archer than Clint Barton.
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