Episode #19 - The Widow's Sting
Original Airdate - December 19th, 2010
Hawkeye’s still out to take down the Black Widow, and he’s going to shake down every Hydra agent on the planet to do it. Which is starting to tick off Nick Fury. Both Iron Man and Fury order Hawkeye to back off, but hey… it’s Hawkeye. So with SHIELD babysitter Mockingbird at his side, Hawkeye infiltrates Hydra Island to take the fight right to the Black Widow. Will Hawkeye finally trust somebody enough to save his life?

Written by Chris Wyatt & Kevin Burke
Directed by Vinton Hueck
Review by Medinnus
Media by Marvel Animation

One of the tactics which I think are contributing to the overall strength of the A: EMH series is that as the various story-arcs develop through Season One; Chris Wyatt and Kevin Burke have done a superlative job with the episodes in the Hydra/Cosmic Cube. The dialogue is snappy, the action choreographed very well, and the characterizations of the major players continue to build. Each of the featured characters get a chance to shine, to have their moment “in the sun”, so to speak. One of the hallmarks of Season One is that the writing staff has an excellent sense of pacing and character-building.

The episode focuses on Hawkeye’s relentless pursuit of his ex-SHIELD partner, the Black Widow, after she framed him for her own betrayal of that organization to Hydra. While his own name was cleared, the sting of her betrayal still drives him tirelessly towards her apprehension.

After breaking up a meeting of the Grim Reaper and MODOC (plus assorted minions of theirs), Hawkeye is told by Nick Fury and Iron Man to leave the Black Widow and Hydra to SHIELD; given Hawkeye’s history of strict obedience to orders, Nick Fury takes the precaution of assigning special SHIELD agent Mockingbird (Bobbi Morse, who used to be attacked to Hawkeye and the Black Widow’s own team) to hook up with the Avenging Archer. In the MU 616, Hawkeye and Mockingbird are one of the few married sets of Avengers, and many fans have waited all season for her appearance, since a cameo of her could be seen in promotional scenes before the cartoon was launched.

In many ways, this episode perfectly captures the spirit of the Silver Age relationship between Captain America and Hawkeye; early in Avengers history, when Captain America was leading three new recruits, the team also fought against the Black Widow, who was a spy and Hawkeye’s ex-lover.

Focused on Hawkeye as this episode is, much of the fight choreography focuses on his archery shots and his trick arrows. One of the nice touches seen here is the limits on Hawkeye’s quiver capacity; he doesn’t have a seemingly unending supply, as in other cartoons.

Another nice set of “Easter Eggs” for Marvel fans is the litany of crime bosses that the Grim Reaper (“The Fat Man” - the Kingpin), Viper (The Yashida clan, led by Gorgon), and the Black Widow (Count Nefaria, Alexander Lukin) report on to Baron Von Strucker.

Of course, the real twist in this episode is really the last reveal - the Viper, killed in the battle, was actually a Skrull! Of course, it does make one wonder where the real Viper is being held...

Hawkeye and Captain America during the “Kooky Quartet” era

Check out more "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" insights from Medinnus at his own website!