Avengers: United They Stand has a reputation for being one of the worst Marvel cartoons of the ’90s, as well as one of Marvel’s worst cartoons ever. This stems from a number of issues, all of which make the show’s single season an absolute chore to watch. One of its biggest issues was the fact that it lacked more mainstream characters like Captain America, Iron Man and Thor.
Perhaps the only really big name on the team was Hawkeye, but he certainly wasn’t one of the show’s few bright spots. Pompous, annoying and outfitted with a horrible costume, this Hawkeye was obviously written to ape the success of a certain clawed Canuck. Here’s why Hawkeye adds to the show’s already exorbitant list of sins.
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United They Stand’s Hawkeye Looked Bad
United They Stand‘s designs and art style were criticized across the board, and there’s perhaps no Avenger who got worse duds than Clint Barton. The show’s version of Hawkeye’s costume is one of the more original ones, far different from the suits seen in the comics. It combines the gaudiness of his original 616 universe costume while foreshadowing his look in the Ultimate Universe. Sadly, the grounded utilitarianism of that look, which the Marvel Cinematic Universe wisely drew from instead of his classic costume, is nowhere to be seen.
It’s easily the most ridiculous suit that Hawkeye’s ever worn, and the worst part is that it’s meant to look cool. To go along with the poor attempt at a futuristic setting, his suit is sometimes adorned with plated armor, which only slightly improves it. There are also variant costumes to go along with the failed toyline, one of which for some reason gives Hawkeye a bare midriff.
United They Stand’s Hawkeye Had a Bad Attitude
In United They Stand, Hawkeye is incredibly insufferable, and there’s more than just lazy writing to blame. Back in the ’90s, the Avengers were very much a bargain bin X-Men, and their animated series was no different. Many of the characters on the cartoon were recast to fit into X-Men archetypes, sometimes accentuated by sharing voice actors from the X-Men animated series. For instance, Tigra has the same voice actress as Rogue.
Hawkeye is made to be the Wolverine-esque bad boy, but without anything that people actually like about Wolverine. Whereas Wolverine is actually cool and has the skill to easily back up his mean outlook, Hawkeye just comes off as being as lame as he looks. Wolverine also as a tragic backstory, which really no version of Hawkeye could compare with. It also doesn’t help that this version isn’t given any real depth or backstory.
Instead, this Hawkeye goes about constantly whining and complaining for no real reason, getting into unnecessary arguments with just about anybody. The only real highlight of his characterization is a rather ironic bromance with Wonder Man. This is the only hint at depth or real character behind all of Hawkeye’s bellyaching, but given the sole season of the short-lived series, it never went anywhere.
Hawkeye’s Legacy Gets Ignored
Given its tentative place in the Marvel universe, it’s strange that United They Stand arguably makes Ant-Man the legacy hero and not Hawkeye. Hawkeye was first seen in this cartoon continuity in the Iron Man animated series, and it’s weird that nothing of this legacy is mentioned. To be fair, that cartoon was horribly received in its own right, but unlike this show, it at least got a second season that improved things slightly.
Hawkeye on that show was also a sarcastic cynic, and he was fittingly given a voice that made him sound like a late-night show host. On that show, however, it actually worked, namely because Hawkeye was sometimes actually right to act the way that he did. He also had his original costume there, which, while itself pretty ugly, still looked better than this one. Lacking all of these things here makes United They Stand‘s version of Hawkeye easily the worst of any adaptation.
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