Marvel has been running the table with hit Disney+ series in 2021. From WandaVision to Loki, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has given fans new looks at lesser used characters while introducing new faces to the pantheon. Now it’s Hawkeye’s turn to star in a titular series. Jeremy Renner’s archer character, Clint Barton, is the only one of the original six Avengers not to have a big-screen blockbuster. Instead, he’ll get a six-part series with protégé Kate Bishop. But who is Kate Bishop in the Marvel comics? Let’s run down her history.
Before we get into the history of Katherine Bishop in the comics, a quick reminder that just because this is what is in the comics, it does not necessarily mean it will be this way in the show. Like Agatha Harkness, who is Scarlet Witch’s mentor on the page and nemesis in WandaVision, the MCU is famous for changing characters to fit its own needs.
But, should the series stick to the established backstory, Kate Bishop is the youngest daughter of a wealthy Manhattan family. She spent her life going to boarding schools and desperately trying to get her parents’ attention. Her mother passed away when she was a tween, her older sister is somewhat distant, and her father ignores them.
Kate took up archery after a supervillain kidnapped her and the Avengers turned up to save her at her father’s request. Hawkeye was first on the scene shooting arrows; she believed he saved her life and so he became her idol.
Bishop was initially introduced in 2005’s Young Avengers #1 as part of the new generation of superheroes. Her compatriots included Wiccan (Billy Maximoff), Speed (Tommy Maximoff), Patriot (Eli Bradley), and Kid Loki, each of whom fans have already seen introduced throughout earlier Disney+ series. But her most popular comic series came more recently, in the 2012 Hawkeye run written by David Aja and Matt Fraction.
Based on the Disney+ show’s logo art, fans are pretty sure the new series is pulling from the Aja/Fraction story run. In it, Hawkeye recruited Kate after recently giving up his Ronin persona and started fighting street-level crime in Brooklyn. Their adventures include taking down a nefarious circus full of evil clowns and going up against the mafia, the latter of which are threatening Barton’s family, which nearly convinces him to give up the bow completely. It’s only Kate’s friendship and belief in him that gets him back on his feet and fighting again.
Whether or not any of this makes it into the holiday caper in the six-episode Hawkeye run remains to be seen. After all, Yelena is already coming for Hawkeye over Natasha’s passing at the behest of Val. And there’s a Captain America musical, Rogers!, which I personally need a whole lot more information about, starting with where I can buy tickets.
But fans can be pretty sure of one thing: By the time the series is over, the Hawkeye mantel will likely be passed, and Kate Bishop is about to become everyone’s new favorite wisecracking bow and arrow wielding superhero.
Hawkeye premieres with two episodes on Wednesday, Nov. 24, on Disney+.