As the Ten Realms pick up the pieces after War of the Realms, Asgard’s liaison from Earth has everyone else noticeably disappointed in Thor.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Thor Annual #1, on sale now from Marvel.
The Ten Realms were brought to their lowest point during the 2019 crossover event War of the Realms as the Dark Elf Malekith cut a bloody path of destruction across all the worlds that stood in his way, including Earth. And while Malekith was eventually defeated, the various realms are still in the middle of picking up the pieces from his rampage one year since the incident, with a familiar Avenger selected to represent Earth on the Council of Realms to prevent another such tragedy from taking place: Hawkeye. And while Clint Barton is more than happy to take up the job, nobody in the other realms appear particularly pleased by the Avenging Archer’s selection.
The War of Realms had grown nearly uncontrollable because the various kingdoms had failed to work together properly as Malekith steadily grew in power, through murder and guile as he built his armies. This came down a breakdown between the relations between Asgard and Midgard — the Norse term for Earth — as a new Thor temporarily replaced the Odinson while Asgard’s liaison with S.H.I.E.L.D., operative Roz Solomon, ran afoul against the Roxxon Corporation while it quietly allied itself with Malekith’s intended conquest of Asgard and the rest of the Ten Realms. Now with Thor on the throne as the new Asgardian All-Father, the God of Thunder moves forward with an old ally to stand as Midgard’s new representative on the Council of Realms, though — as revealed in Thor Annual #1 by Aaron Kuder, Cam Smith, Chris O’Halloran and VC’s Joe Sabino — Clint Barton wasn’t anyone’s first choice.
The circumstances behind Hawkeye’s selection to the council were unknown to Clint as he joins his fellow representatives as part of Asgard’s envoy at the first council meeting on the Light Elf realm of Alfheim. The other representatives are eagerly expecting Spider-Man to join the council, given his prominent role in repelling Malekith from Earth, and are audibly disappointed as Hawkeye arrives, to Clint’s understandable chagrin. And to add to Hawkeye’s mounting embarrassment, the council reveals they considered Black Panther and even the Punisher before they ultimately settled on Hawkeye, with all other intended candidates either too busy or otherwise unavailable to take the position.
Given his power set, Hawkeye has always been one of the more street-level figures amongst Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, mixing it up with gods and monsters with a well placed quip and arrow. Despite years of superhero experience, both solo and with the Avengers, Clint still hasn’t quite earned the respect he deserves among the various realms and will have to go to particularly extreme lengths to prove himself worthy of serving on this council as it already finds itself under attack from a fearsome threat from across the Marvel Multiverse.
Hawkeye is the one Avenger that, despite being a fixture on the team for years, just can’t catch a single ounce of respect on Earth or across the Ten Realms. Mirroring Midgard, the fantasy general public was hoping for the Marvel Universe’s flashiest and most iconic superheroes to work with, not a guy with trick arrows as his calling card. And while Clint may be eager to prove his naysayers wrong, he will always be annoyed that he was nobody’s first, second or even third pick to represent Earth’s superhero community as the Ten Realms continue to rebuild from the events of the War of the Realms.
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