The Hulk cannot be killed…proper? When Bruce Banner wanted to make certain that wasn’t the case, he selected one undervalued hero to check it: Hawkeye.

The Incredible Hulk is a fancy determine in Marvel Comics; his incalculable power could be a boon if aimed appropriately, however too usually it ends in catastrophic collateral harm. As such, Bruce Banner has created various anti-Hulk contingencies through the years. But the best but was trusted to none apart from the Avenging Archer himself: Hawkeye.

As a refresher, the plot of Civil War II revolves round a brand new Inhuman who experiences visions of a attainable future. One such imaginative and prescient exhibits the Hulk standing in a gamma-charred landscape with a number of key Avengers useless round him. Spurred on by this, Captain Marvel and Tony Stark lead a unified entrance of Avengers, Inhumans, and Ultimates to Banner’s doorstep. As their accusations fly, the physician’s obvious agitation begins to develop, till Hawkeye swiftly executes Banner earlier than he can rework. But Bruce truly counted on this occurring.


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It’s revealed that Bruce sat down with Clint a number of months earlier than the incident and gave him a capsule particularly designed to kill him and staunch the Hulk’s emergence so he would not be revived by proxy. In their assembly, Banner tells Barton that the anxiousness of not figuring out when he would possibly lose management subsequent is simply too exhausting and horrifying a life to guide. He trusts Hawkeye to be his kill switch not simply because he is one of the best marksman within the Marvel Universe, however as a result of he is the one almost certainly to suppress his conscience and do what must be achieved. And although Clint initially takes offense, Banner’s learn right here is justified. This came about in Civil War II #3 by Brian Michael Bendis, David Marquez, and Olivier Coipel.

As Matt Murdock pointedly mentions in the course of the ensuing trial, Clint has a felony previous. This would not make him distinctive amongst Marvel’s superheroes, and even as an Avenger—his desultory lover Natasha Romanoff has loads of blood in her previous as nicely. But Bruce surmised that Clint was among the many solely heroes who would be capable to dwell with the act. It hearkens again to his temporary stint because the Ronin, when he was resurrected following the occasions of Avengers Disassembled. Ronin would develop into an id by which Clint may specific and act upon what he deemed the mandatory evils—like killing Norman Osborn to disband the Dark Avengers. And in contrast to a few of his friends, Clint is not prone to spend an egregious period of time hand-wringing in regards to the morality.

There’s one other layer to Bruce’s alternative right here which is each technical and emotional. Because Hawkeye can see what few others can, he has to take care of a totally regular hand underneath stress, in any other case he might be extra of a legal responsibility than an asset. Bruce calculated this and trusted the archer to basically euthanize him. The tragedy is that once they made the settlement, this future-seeing Inhuman wasn’t but an element. Bruce instructed Clint to tug the drawstring “if I Hulk out again”, however—fairly underscoring the theme of the story—Clint acted earlier than anybody might be sure that was going to occur. The single pooling tear on Banner’s face might be an auto-somatic response, or it might be the final expression of a person who was mistrusted and betrayed by his allies. Bruce trusted Hawkeye to kill the Hulk, however we’ll by no means know if Clint could have needlessly murdered a good friend.

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