Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

To Be or Not To Be?

Although the Defenders appeared in only a flashback panel in Captain America #179, the thoughtfully told story is worth recapping.

At a time when political disillusionment led Steve Rogers to set aside his iconic shield and stop adventuring as Captain America, a surprise attack from an arrow-slinging adversary got him back into battle.

Golden Archer: Thou art all of which I have heard--and less in the same stroke. For though dost seek to deny any rightful heritage! Yet I know thee, varlet--and though thou knowest me not, there be a great debt to be settled 'twixt thee and me!

After several cajoling speeches and attacks, Steve Rogers realized he was not facing the sometimes-villainous Golden Archer of the Squadron Supreme. Instead, he was dodging arrows from his longtime friend Clint Barton (Hawkeye) in disguise.

But what were Hawkeye's reasons for staging the fight? In one of his more sentimental moments, the archer recalled how inspirational the Star-Spangled Avenger had been to him—even when Hawkeye left the Avengers to go solo or team up with other super-types. Alliances alone didn't define a hero.

Hawkeye's pep talk following the mock attack prompted Steve Rogers to put his own politics aside and fight crime incognito as "Nomad, the man without a country" (beginning in Captain America #180).

Captain America. Vol. 1. No. 179. November 1974. "Slings and Arrows!" Steve Englehart (prose), Sal Buscema (pencils), Vince Colletta (brushes), Orzechowski (letters), P. Goldberg (colors), Roy Thomas (editor).

1 comment:

pblfsda said...

Last year I was rereading the Steve Englehart Avengers and Captain America stories. Of course, that meant I had to dig out my 1973 "Defenders" (for the "Evil Eye" crossover) and 1975 "Dr. Strange"s (for the follow-up crossover with Dormammu). That's when I noticed how much Hawkeye was making the rounds back then.
After the Kree-Skrull War he switched to that Native American-inspired Barry Smith costume, which didn't last long but suggested the creators were interested in doing something different with him. When he went back to the purple tunic they put him on tour, pretty much. Like you said, he appeared in "Incredible Hulk" and "Defenders", but also "Daredevil", Marvel Team-up" and the Cap issue in your post. From there he went straight into Giant-Size Avengers#2 to join the Kang War in progress. When it was finally over (in the summer of 1976) he opted to stay in the old west.
Have you ever used the Marvel Chronology Project? I'm probably going there after this comment to see what order all those stories took place. If you have any trouble finding it, I'll be glad to give you the URL.
Thanks for the flashback. It's too bad Cap didn't stay Nomad longer. He might have made a good misfit candidate for the Defenders. But it would have made the Bicentennial seem weird.