THUNDERBOLTS #20-22 (1998-1999): Decisions Trilogy; Hawkeye joins

The Thunderbolts take the battle to Justine Hammer’s new Masters of Evil gang.

Pretty much because of Klaw, the team is downed and captured until another figure appears to save them…


He offers an origin story for himself that includes his history against Iron Man, but says he never intended to be a villain.

Now, obviously, the Thunderbolts are the right people to tell that story to if you want some empathy. But parts of his story are too farfetched for Jolt to believe, like when she asks him why he’s not riding a winged horse like the Dreadknight who fought Iron Man and he claims that Black Knight stole his horse.

I mean, Black Knight is too lame to beat anybody.

And of course he’s not Dreadknight. But he is a villain-turned-hero…

It’s Hawkeye!

Yes, these are the issues where Hawkeye becomes the new team leader, offering to rehabilitate them as a satellite time for The Avengers–like the West Coast Avengers used to be.

Songbird, who has long had designs on being team leader, is not thrilled. And the rest of the team want to know if they’ll bet Presidential pardons…

Hawkeye lies and tells the team he can do that for them.

But Mach 1 has to go to prison.

Overall, the negotiations are going okay but then Hercules shows up.

And wants to fight Atlas. We get a big, dumb, very fun fight.

And when Hawkeye stands between Herc and the team, he earns their trust.

But Clint’s fan backfires, and he becomes a media target as a criminal. This leads directly into a crossover with The Avengers (and since Kurt Busiek writes both titles, it works well).

Still loving this comic.

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