Hawkeye: Who is Kate Bishop?

Who is Kate Bishop Hawkeye - Cover
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Marvel Studios officially announced that Kate Bishop, the third Hawkeye to appear in Marvel’s comics, would be joining their cinematic universe at San Diego Comic Con. The new streaming series Hawkeye is scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2021, but comics fans are already excited to hear that Kate will be playing a big role in the new series. That makes sense for those who have read her many appearances in multiple volumes of Hawkeye and Young Avengers, but might leave those focused on the movies in the dark. That’s why we’ve assembled everything you need to get to know Kate Bishop in one convenient rundown here, complete with comics recommendations and previous adaptations.

Creation & Origins

Kate Bishop was created by writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung, and debuted in Young Avengers (vol. 1) #1 alongside a number of other new characters, all of them roughly based on the legacies of famous Avengers. This series was launched in the wake of the “Avengers Disassembled” event that killed a number of key characters, including Hawkeye, before disbanding the team.

The Young Avengers attempted to fill that void by utilizing familiar names and powers to deliver a new team with teenage superheroes. Kate Bishop was accidentally pulled into the team’s first adventure and proved herself every bit as capable of battling supervillains despite having no powers of her own, armed only with fragments of Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Swordsman’s gear. Kate does possess incredible skill with archery and has been trained in martial arts, skills only enhanced as she has continued her superhero career.

Who is Kate Bishop Hawkeye - SoCal
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

History

Kate Bishop worked alongside the original Young Avengers for the team’s entire tenure, battling villains like Mister Hyde and Kang the Conqueror. Hawkeye and the others were initially told to cease their vigilante activities, but Captain America eventually recognized Kate’s innate drive and sense of justice, leading to him gifting her the original Hawkeye’s gear. After Clint Barton returned to life, Kate and Clint struggled with the shared identity, largely due to their shared bull-headed nature.

This conflict was expanded upon (and somewhat resolved) in the fourth volume of Hawkeye. The two team up for a variety of missions in the acclaimed series that explored the Hawkeyes both together and individually. This period also enshrined Kate Bishop as a significant player at Marvel Comics, leading to appearances in events like Secret Invasion and Siege.

Kate Bishop has remained an active hero both in her own adventures and on multiple teams. She was the protagonist of the most recent volume of Hawkeye and has featured in later iterations of Young Avengers. Along the way, Kate has also been made aware of her father’s connections to organized super crime, including the Maggia, but has battled him and his allies, opting to remain a superhero no matter the cost. Her most recent adventures have featured Kate Bishop engaged in detective work in the Los Angeles area and leading the newest iteration of the West Coast Avengers in the same setting.

Who is Kate Bishop Hawkeye - Matt Fraction David Aja
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Greatest Hits

Kate Bishop has only been featured in Marvel comics for less than 15 years, but has already featured in a wide-range of excellent stories. Here are a few of the best starting points for new readers.

Sidekicks: Young Avengers (vol. 1) #1-6: This story introduced Kate Bishop to Marvel Comics as a skilled archer, martial artist, and emerging leader amongst this group of superpowered teenagers. Unlike other characters, Bishop emerged fully formed in this story and has remained a popular character ever since. Marvel movie fans can expect to see more young heroes emerge from this series as well, including the possibility of Cassie Lang using Pym Particles to become Stature.

The Vagabond Code: Hawkeye (vol. 4) #2: The second issue of this series, considered by many to be a modern classic, introduced the dynamic of dual Hawkeyes. It’s a perfect expression of how Clint and Kate interact in the comics and display of why Kate is well-suited to assume the Hawkeye mantle full time. It’s a self-contained story filled with character work, humor, and action—an excellent introduction all around.

L.A. Woman: Hawkeye (vol. 4) #14, 16, 18, 20, and Annual #1: Kate Bishop fled to Los Angeles for her own adventures towards the end of this Hawkeye series, working as a private investigator and facing down Madame Masque. These stories showcase Kate at her best as a solo hero, and also provide some possibilities for what her future in the MCU may look like after Renner’s Hawkeye is retired.

Young Avengers: Young Avengers (vol. 2) #1-15: The second volume of Young Avengers functions as a single, sweeping story, one that presents Kate Bishop’s current comics status wonderfully. It captures how she has grown as a leader, hero, and friend, in addition to highlighting most of her key relationships. This series also serves as potential inspiration for any future film or television adaptations of the Young Avengers emerging in the MCU.

Notable Adaptations

Kate Bishop’s relatively short existence as a Marvel Comics character has limited the number of stories she has featured in outside of comics. However, there are a few worth looking at for interested Marvel fans ready to find more Kate Bishop wherever she might appear.

Avengers: Ultron Revolution, “Into the Future”: This flashforward episode featured a variety of cameo appearances, including one of Kate as an Avenger, albeit as an unvoiced role. It’s one of the first steps Marvel Entertainment has taken to integrating multiple legacy heroes across all of their media lines, though, making it well worth a watch.

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Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2: The Lego line remains the most accessible and consistently enjoyable video game adaptations of Marvel properties. Kate Bishop appeared in the second installment as part of a DLC package, one that will allow new fans to utilize the character throughout a variety of wacky missions.

Hawkeye (Disney+): The biggest adaptation for Kate Bishop still remains in the future, however, with the upcoming release of Hawkeye on Disney’s new streaming service. This series focused on Clint Barton passing his mantle down will almost certainly make Kate Bishop every bit as popular with audiences as the original Hawkguy.