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1st Story: Tom DeFalco (writer), Mark Bright (penciler), Joe Rubinstein (inker)2nd Story: Tom DeFalco (writer), Jim Lee (penciler), Al Williamson (inker)Jack Morelli (letterer), Ken Feduniewicz (colorist), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)
(1st story)Mockingbird and Wonder Man are watching Hawkeye train with some clowns for the charity show at the Los Angeles Coliseum that they are putting on that night. With some time to spare, Hawkeye and Mockingbird take some time out, unaware that they were being spied on by a man who reports in to a chunky man inside a warehouse where his goons are training – apparently to destroy Hawkeye! Later, the clowns are getting ready for the show when they are rendered unconscious by a gas arrow. Hawkeye enters the ring of the Coliseum as the show is underway to an applauding crowd – but it becomes clear to Hawkeye that these aren't the clowns he trained with, as the ones he spares with are bent on killing him. Resourceful as ever, Hawkeye is able to defeat them, even with his bow destroyed, unaware that Mockingbird is looking for him in the dressing room after they became separated earlier in the afternoon, and she stumbles across the unconscious clowns, and a strange arrowhead. Mockingbird finds Hawkeye after a mysterious encounter, and shows him the arrowhead. Hawkeye recognizes it as belonging to the man who really trained him, surprising Mockingbird. Elsewhere, the chunky man crushes a statue head of Hawkeye and boasts that he is the best archer in the world – Trick Shot!
(2nd story)Mockingbird is running late to get to the Coliseum to see Hawkeye's performance, so using some daring acrobatics, hitches a ride on a helicopter to help her get there quicker. Looking for Hawkeye in the changing rooms, she discovers the performers unconscious, and finds a mysterious arrow, before being set upon by goons. She fights them and takes most of them down, before two run into the corridor, where they take a woman hostage. Bobbi follows them, but they escape in a getaway van, so she leaps onto the van and continues to fight them, although the van crashes into a parked car. Bobbi is able to rescue the woman and take the remaining goons down, before their mysterious employer, watching from a limo, fires a flaming arrow towards the crashed vehicles. Bobbi knows that they will explode, so manages to stop the arrow just in time, but she isn't quick enough to go after the fleeing limo. She returns to the Coliseum and finds Hawkeye. She shows him the arrow she found, and Hawkeye reveals that it belongs to someone he never wanted to see again – the man who really trained him!
1st story:'You clowns don't stand a chance against me! I've beaten you before and I'll do it again! They don't call me the world's greatest archer for nothing!' Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye boasts as he rides a white horse, leans slightly off the horse and aims his bow – before firing several arrows towards a group of clowns in the circus ring ahead of him, as the horse comes to a stop. 'Go ahead, jump around all you like! Keep trying to distract me!' Hawkeye calls out. 'Any bets I still nail three for three?' he asks as suddenly, the clowns move, revealing three targets behind them, each with an arrow positioned perfectly in the middle of the target. 'He did it again! Three bullseyes!' one clown comments. 'The guy's unbelievable!' another exclaims, while a third clown tells the others that they still have one more routine to practice.
Sitting in the stand are Simon Williams a.k.a. Wonder Man and Bobbie Morse Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird, both Hawkeye's teammates, Mockingbird is also Hawkeye's wife. Simon remarks to Bobbi that this is going to be some show, and wishes he could see the real thing tonight. 'At least you made the dress rehearsal, Wonder Man' Bobbi points out. Simon then asks Bobbi where her husband finds the time to volunteer for these special benefit performances, as he has his hands full running the West Coast Avengers. Simon chomps down on another hot dog as Bobbi informs him that the proceeds from this particular exhibition will be donated to a local orphanage. Bobbi adds that Hawkeye still remembers the days when he and his brother Barney were stuck in one, until they eventually ran away and ended up at a traveling carnival, where Clint first met the Swordsman, who took him under his wing and gave him his first bow, and relentlessly trained him to become the greatest trick-shooter of all!
Simon tells Bobbi that he has heard that story before, and remarks that one thing has always puzzled him – why did the Swordsman teach Hawkeye archery? Before Bobbi can answer, Hawkeye calls out to her, announcing that they are out of here, and that he is free until showtime. One of the clowns waves at Hawkeye and tells him that they will see him tonight. Moments later, Hawkeye is on his sky-cycle, and Mockingbird sits behind him, clinging to her husband, while Wonder Man hovers above them thanks to his booster pack, he tells Hawkeye 'You're going to knock 'em dead tonight, Hawkeye! Break a leg!' Hawkeye thanks Wonder Man, and Mockingbird tells him that they will meet him back at Avengers Compound, before they take to the air in the sky-cycle, as Clint remarks that it is too bad none of the other Avengers can catch his show tonight, as they don't know what they are missing. Mockingbird tells Clint to simmer down, and that she has a question about the Swordsman. Why did he -' she begins, but Clint suddenly does several loops mid-air with the sky-cycle.
'Whoops, sorry about that, Mock!' Clint tells her, claiming that a sudden updraft caught him by surprise and that he almost lost control of the sky-cycle. Clint asks Bobbi if she is okay, as he knows how those unexpected spills affect her stomach. 'I... I'm just ducky' Mockingbird replies, unaware that down on the ground, someone is watching them, and thinks to himself that it is time to check in with the boss man.
Sometime later, at a non-descript warehouse on the waterfront, the man who was watching the Bartons enters, where a chunky man standing in the shadows is firing some arrows from a bow, towards several men in dark blue spandex costumes, they dart about, as one of them exclaims 'Look alive, you lunkheads! Those arrows are razor sharp!' 'Big deal, they can't penetrate our steel arm protectors!' one of the goons points out as the arrow falls against the steel covering his arm. 'Me an' Arnie got open shots at the target!' one of them calls out, throwing several balls back into the warehouse, while one of them tells him not to miss the target. 'Scratch one cement statue!' one of the goons exclaims as the balls break through a large statute of Hawkeye, but he is annoyed that the boss wasn't even looking.
The man who was watching the Avengers wears a suit and approaches the chunky man in the shadows, informing him that he went to the Los Angeles Coliseum as he ordered, that the Archer was there, and that he is definitely planning to be tonight's featured attraction. 'Good! My assassin are all trained and ready for a real battle! Treat the rubes to a show they'll never forget!' the chunky man exclaims, gritting his teeth, he declares that he is anxious to see how good Hawkeye has become over the years, as it has been a very long time since he last saw him. 'He owes me a debt which can only be paid in blood!'
A few hours later, people being filing into the Memorial Coliseum, while in the dressing room, the clowns are finishing their make-up. 'Hey! You should see the crowd out there! We're talking full house!' one of them tells the others. 'Close the door, Manny – and give the rest of us a chance to get dressed!' another exclaims. 'Yeah, sure, but hurry up! Show starts in... fifteen minutes...' Manny begins, before looking puzzled as the chunky man can be seen down the corridor – and he fires an arrow, which streaks into the changing room before the door closes. 'What the heck is -' Manny begins, before the arrowhead opens and releases a gas that renders the clowns unconscious.
Within the coliseum, an announcer calls out 'Ladies and gentlemen! Children of all ages! The management of the Los Angeles Veterans Memorial Coliseum is proud to present – HAWKEYE! The Avenging Archer!' Hawkeye rides into the ring on the white horse, 'Yahoo! Way to go, Avenger!' a kid in the audience calls out. 'C'mon, guys, let's show these people a little action!' Hawkeye tells the clowns up ahead, but when they don't move into their position, he tells them that they are not anywhere near the targets. 'Wrong, pally! The only target around here – is you!' one of the phoney clowns calls back. 'Ice him, Elmo!' he tells one of his companions, who raises a large bazooka – and fires it, causing the horse to buck up on its hind legs and throw Hawkeye backwards.
Hawkeye lands on the ground and instinctively notches two arrows as he rolls to safety, but the arrows strike the steel bands on the “clowns” arms. 'Cool it, fellas! I don't mind a few ad libs – but let's not get ridiculous!' Hawkeye exclaims. 'You're going to have to do better than that, Avenger!' one of the “clowns” calls back, while another boasts that they know all of his tricks and defenses – before they throw two balls towards him at close range, striking him in his shoulder and leg. 'YEOW!' Hawkeye exclaims, seeing that the “clowns” are using lacrosse-like gizmos to hurl ivory balls, he knows that he can't avoid them out here, he turns and leaps over the wall that acts as the ring in, while his shoulder and leg suddenly turn numb.
Clint realizes that something has gone wrong, that those jokers are fighting him for real, and making him look bad in front of his adoring public. 'Well, no more' Clint thinks to himself, before leaping up and firing an arrow back into the ring, 'Eat some arrow, wise guys!' Clint calls out, warning them that they are about to learn first hand the reasons why he is an Avenger. 'Pay attention now! There will be a quiz later! Clint jokes. 'Ha! Ya ain't as good as her rep, archer!' one of the fake clowns calls back as the arrow misses them. 'Ya missed us!' the fake clown calls back. 'Did I?' Clint asks as he peals onto a trampoline as the arrow spins around and strikes one of the fake clowns in the back. Up in the air after bouncing on the trampoline, Hawkeye fires another arrow down into the ring, which releases a gas that takes out two more of the fake clowns.
Another fake clown comes up behind Hawkeye, who is preparing to fire another arrow – and slams his hand against the bow, breaking it in two. Hawkeye looks at his broken bow, unimpressed, he turns to the fake clown and punches him in the face, knocking him out.
Elsewhere, at that very moment, Mockingbird is making her way down a corridor towards the dressing rooms, thinking that it took her a lot longer to get here than she had planned, and supposes she has missed the first act by now, she decides to meet Clint in his dressing room – but as she opens the door to the dressing room, she discovers the unconscious clowns. Mockingbird realizes that they have been drugged, and notices a gas arrow on the floor. She doesn't recognize the arrow, so assumes it doesn't belong to Hawkeye. 'What's going on?' Mockingbird wonders, unaware that someone approaches her from behind and reaches out for her.
Meanwhile, the crowd are enjoying the “act”. 'What a show!' one of them calls out. 'The way they're going at it, you'd believe it's a real fight!' a woman exclaims, while a blond man points out that it looks like they are coming up to the finale. Two “clowns” remain, and one of them tells Hawkeye that it is all over, that there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. 'We can pick you off at our leisure now!' the other points out. Clint's left shoulder and leg are still killing him, but he can't let the “clowns” know that. They hurl more balls towards Hawkeye, telling him that he did well in the early rounds, but that it was only a matter of time, as their superior numbers and skills have overwhelmed him. 'You're totally defenseless without your bow!' the other points out.
Clint reaches for an arrow from the holster on his back and tells the clowns that a trained fighting man is never defenseless, as he always has his wits and reflexes to fall back on. 'My speciality is hurling projectiles! I usually use a bow to do so – but that doesn’t mean I'm any less accurate, or deadly, by hand!' Hawkeye boasts as he tosses several arrows at the balls, two strike the balls, splitting them in half, while the other arrows pin the “clowns” up against a post in the center of the ring. Clint wishes he knew what this was all about, and notices the crowd going wild, that they think this is how the show was rehearsed. He wonders what he does for an encore, before a figure appears behind him: 'HAWKEYE!' the figure shouts. Clint turns around, and is surprised by who he sees – it's Mockingbird.
'Are you all right? Bobbi asks, going over to Hawkeye, who tells her that he is fine, and noticing that Bobbi's costume has been torn to shreds, he asks her what happened to her. 'Never mind that' Bobbi replies, announcing that she has something important to ask him. 'What?' Hawkeye asks, before Bobbi holds up the arrow she found in the changing room, and asks him if he has ever seen an arrow like it before. 'Oh, no!' Hawkeye exclaims. Mockingbird realizes something is wrong, and tells Clint that she has never seen him so pale. 'It belongs to the man who really trained me!' Clint reveals. This surprises Bobbi: 'But I thought -' she begins, to which Hawkeye announces that it was a lie – a lie which has returned to haunt him! 'I pradyed that I'd never face to face him again!' Hawkeye adds.
Elsewhere the chunky man stands over the broken statue of Hawkeye, and declares that at long last, his former student must realize the truth – that Trick Shot lives and has returned to issue the ultimate challenge. Trick Shot boasts that the costumed upstart must be cowering in his boots by now, as there can only be one living archer who is the best in all the world. Trick Shot then stands on the statue head of Hawkeye and crushes it: 'ME!' he boasts.
2nd story:'Hawkeye's going to freak out! I'm late, late late for his big show at the Los Angeles Coliseum' Bobbi Morse-Barton a.k.a. Mockingbird thinks to herself as she runs across the rooftops of cars on a jam-packed road. She tells herself that it isn't her fault, as she never expected to run into a traffic jam at this time of day. 'Wait'll I tell the wife! I've had fares run out on me before – but never quite like this!' the cab driver Bobbi ditched smiles to himself, while in a car nearby, a man exclaims 'Omigosh! It's that Avengers lady! Whatshername! The one married to the guy with the arrows?' Bobbi would hate to disappoint Hawkeye, as he loves showing off and doesn't get many opportunities to perform for a real audience. Leaping from one car to another, Bobbi sees that her ride has arrived, right on schedule, and is grateful that her cab driver had his radio tuned to the WKLA traffic report, and although it took some convincing, she managed to get her driver to have his dispatcher patch her through to the station's manager, so that she could wangle herself a lift with their traffic helicopter.
Looking up at the chopper, Bobbi realizes that the pilot has seen her, and is now looking for a place to land. Bobbi decides that she can save him the trouble if she can use the exit sign up ahead to give her sufficient momentum – then she leaps off the car rooftop, grabs the overhanging exit sign and uses it to propel her upwards to the chopper, grabbing the underside. 'Made it!' Bobbi thinks to herself, grateful that the pilot saw what she was doing and compensated for her additional weight. 'Welcome aboard, lady!' the pilot calls out as Bobbi clings to the side of the chopper. He tells her to hang tight and that they will get her to the Coliseum in no time flat. 'What a view' Bobbi thinks to herself as she looks down at the city below. She tells herself that she never would have imagined that a simple girl from San Diego would ever experience a wild ride like this!
flashback images:Bobbi decides that it is hard to believe that just a few years ago she was plain old Barbara Morse, an A+ student at Georgia Tech, and when her favorite professor took a sabbatical to work on a government project, Bobbi went with her. She remembers that SHIELD was one of its major sponsors, and the idea of becoming Mata Hari appealed to Bobbi, so she enrolled in spy school, becoming a field agent for a while – but when that didn't work out, she went solo.
Present:That is, of course, until she met Hawkeye. Bobbi admits that he may not be perfect, but no man has ever gotten to her the way he did – and still does. She tells herself that Hawkeye is some piece of work, even though he leads the West Coast Avengers, he still manages to find the time to put on these occasional benefits for charity. The chopper approaches the Coliseum, and a few minutes later, Bobbi is inside, walking down a corridor, she is certain she has missed the first act, and supposes that Clint will be in the dressing room – but as she enters the dressing room, she is shocked to find that the clowns Hawkeye was supposed to be performing with are unconscious, and she believes they have been drugged. Bobbi notices something on the floor, and goes in for a closer look, discovering a gas arrow.
Suddenly, someone approaches her from behind – 'You shouldn't be sticking your nose where it doesn't belong, missy!' snarls one of the goons employed to destroy Hawkeye as he leaps at Mockingbird, 'Haven't you heard that curiosity killed the cat?' he asks her. 'Yes, but – I'm the Mockingbird and you're the clumsy cat!' Bobbi declares as she spins around and flips the goon over her back. Bobbi looks behind her and discovers several more of the goons. 'Not bad, lady! You made my friend Harry look like a real jerk! You must be feeling pretty proud of yourself!' one of them calls out to her, before boasting that he can change that, as he several balls towards Bobbi using a contraption on his arm. Bobbi notices this, and pulls out her battle stave, just in time to knock the balls away.
'Have you ever considered therapy, buster?' Bobbi asks the goon, remarking that the symbolism behind his choice of weapon is painfully obvious. 'Of course, I'm the one with the battle stave which telescopes to twice its length!' Bobbi adds as she pulls on her battle stave, then leaps towards the goons, telling them that she hopes this kind of talk isn't making them uncomfortable, as she strikes one of the goons, knocking them back. 'Let me at her!' another exclaims, boasting that his steel fist will finish her off – but he doesn't get the chance, as Bobbi leaps over him, causing him to smash into a table. A weapon is only as deadly as the person behind it – and you're a creampuff!' Bobbi tells the goon, who gets back on his feet and tells her to shut up, that she is making him crazy. 'I can't take all the credit!' Bobbi tells him, before he grabs her, and raises his steel fist, boasting that he has her now. 'Do you?' Bobbi retorts, as she manages to knee him in the chest, betting that the rest of him isn't as well-armored as his fist! 'What do you know? I was right!' Bobbi jokes.
Nearby, another of the goons decides that he is not taking any chances, as Mockingbird is crazy, so he raises a gun and opens fire, but the bullets just deflect off her, as Bobbi explains that her costume is made of a special blend of material which is impervious to small arms fire. 'The perfect action wear – for the contemporary gal on the go!' Mockingbird exclaims as she hurls her battle stave at the goon who fired at her, while two others rush from the changing room, one of them exclaims that they can't stop her, that she fights like a wild cat. 'Move it already! We've wasted enough time here!' the other points out, suggesting that their teammates must have finished off the archer by now. As she follows them into the corridor, Mockingbird hears the comment about the archer, and supposes they are talking about Hawkeye. She wonders who these guys are and what they want, when suddenly, Bobbi sees a woman walking down the corridor.
'Stay back, or we'll kill her!' one of the goons exclaims as he grabs the woman and puts a gun to her head. The other goon warns Mockingbird not to follow them. Bobbi had no intention of following them, until now, as she wanted to find her husband, fearing that he is in real trouble, she can sense that he needs her, unaware that Hawkeye is in the center of the Coliseum, battling more goons, dressed as clowns. Bobbi tells herself that Hawkeye will have to take care of himself for now, and a few moments later, she reaches an exit, where she sees the goons climbing into a getaway van, and taking the hostage with them. The van speeds off, and Bobbi knows that there is no way she can outrace it, but hopes that if she can snap her battle staves together in time, which she does, and uses them to lift herself from the parking lot, over a fence, where she lands on top of the van as it rounds a corner. 'Perfect! But this is no time to congratulate myself! I have to move fast!' Bobbi thinks – before she suddenly flips over as bullets are fired up through the roof of the van.
'Dumb broad musta thought we couldn't hear her up there!' one of the goons exclaims, before boasting 'She's history, now!' But as Mockingbird drops down onto the windshield, the driver calls back 'Wanna bet?' as Mockingbird smiles and asks if she can join the fun, before kicking in the windshield, knowing that she has to watch the angle of her entry, as she doesn't want to accidentally clip the hostage. Bobbi then kiccks the back door of the van open and suggests to the goons that they go and buy some refreshments, forcing them out the door, she jokes that she will keep the party hopping until they get back, as the men land on the tarmac, while the driver, stunned by the sheer audacity of Mockingbird's attack, loses control of the van and crashes into a nearby fence, bursting through it, he collides with some parked cars – just as Bobbi leaps from the van with the woman, Bobbi knows that she has to hit the ground and roll at the proper angle so that her reinforced costume takes the impact. After doing so, Bobbi asks the woman if she is okay. 'Uh...I think so' the woman responds.
Suddenly, Bobbi hears a strange sound – and throwing stars are suddenly tossed her way by two more goons. The stars cut up parts of Bobbi's costume, and Bobbi is glad for her SHIELD training. 'I've really got to hand it to you boys! You certainly came prepared for a fight!' Bobbi exclaims as she rushes towards one of them and throws her battle stave at him, before asking 'Who are you working for? I'd like to personally compliment him on his training procedures! Such professional work shouldn't be unrewarded!' Bobbi declares as she kicks the other goon in the stomach. Nearby, in a limo, the chunky man watches and thinks to himself 'What a magnificent creature! I can easily see why my former student is so attracted to her!' He holds ip an arrow and decides that it is unfortunate that she must be dealt with. 'Mockingbird! Run!' the woman Bobbi rescued suddenly screams as an arrow streaks towards Bobbi. Bobbi looks up and sees the flaming arrow, and worries that it might ignite one of the nearby ruptured tanks from where the van crashed into the cars.
Bobbi can't let that happen, and leaps onto one of the cars, realizing that this has to be the craziest stunt she ever attempted, she decides that if she wanted sanity she would not have joined the Avengers, and as she flips into the air, Bobbi realizes that she only has one chance to get the arrow, so has to make it count – and suddenly, she catches the arrow between her feet in a daring move. Landing on the ground with the arrow disabled, Bobbi sees a fleeping limo, and assumes the arrow came from there, but she knows she can't worry about that, as she has to find out what happened to Hawkeye.
Soon, Bobbi arrives back at the Coliseum, and rushes in to see an adoring audience clapping for Hawkeye. Approaching him from behind, Bobbi hopes that Hawkeye can clue her in on the curved arrow she found, pleased she stopped back in the dressing room to retrieve it. 'Hawkeye!' Mockingbird calls out. 'You!' Clint replies as he spins around. Bobbi leaps into his arms, 'Of course it's me!' she tells him, asking him if he is all right. Hawkeye confirms that he is, before asking Bobbi what happened to her, as her costume is in shreds. 'Never mind that' Bobbi remarks, announcing that she has something important to ask Hawkeye, she pulls out the curved arrow and asks him if he has ever seen an arrow like it before. 'Oh, NO!' Hawkeye gasps. Mockingbird asks him what is wrong, and tells him that she has never seen him so pale.
Hawkeye turns away from Mockingbird as he explains that the arrow belongs to the man who really trained him, and that he prayed he would never have to face him again. 'You won't...if I have anything to say about it' Bobbi declares. Bobbi points out that this man is obviously a top professional killer, and asks Hawkeye to promise her that he won't go up against him alone. 'Promise me!' she exclaims. 'Yeah, sure...' Hawkeye replies, taking Bobbi in his arms. 'I promise' he remarks, smirking.
1st story:Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Wonder Man (all West Coast Avengers)
in flashback:Clint & Barney BartonSwordsman
2nd story:Hawkeye, Mockingbird (both West Coast Avengers)
in flashback:Bobbi MorseNick Fury
1st story:First appearance of Trickshot.
2nd story:Mata Hari was an infamous female spy during World War I.