Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hawkeye got deafened

I found out last year that Hawkeye, yes, him of the Avengers fame, was once deafened in comic, and learnt American Sign Language (ASL).  A friend gave me copies of Hawkeye 4 and Avengers 239 to read, as those covered his new found deafness.

Hawkeye 4 is where he goes deaf, after Mockingbird and himself have been captured by a dude called Crossfire who comes up with this frankly batshit crazy plan:

Hawkeye escapes Crossfire's clutches by putting a hypersonic arrow head in his mouth to block the awful ultrasonic sound Crossfire is blaring out at his victims.  This noise is making Hawkeye and Mockingbird fight each other TO THE DEATH!!  It's very dramatic.  The hypsersonic arrowhead vibrates through Hawkeye's skull and counteracts Crossfire's noise assault.  But leaves Clint deafened.

He doesn't want anyone to know he can't hear, and tries to hide it:

Poor Hawkguy.  But never fear! Mockingbird knows something is up and demands he explain himself.  Then they get married.  After knowing each other for all of a week. Uh-huh.

Anyway, I thought this was a good depiction of communication problems.

Then we get Avengers 239.

Yeaahhhhh... this is going to be weird..

So, active and reserve Avengers get invited onto the Letterman show.  Clint's deafness happened fairly recently and we get a look at his coping strategies:

He gets the question sheet before the show so he can prep his answers and give them as requested.  However, it doesn't quite go smoothly:

Beast announces he is forming a new Avengers team and so Letterman's first question is about this.  But Clint doesn't see that the question is different and plows on ahead with his prepared answer.  And does the same with the next (incorrect) question.  Poor guy.  I can only hope that he didn't feel stupid after this.  I think he dealt with it quite well and pulled it off.

Upon reading this the first time, I'm ashamed to say I did wonder why he didn't lipread the different question and adjust his answer.  Upon engaging my brain I figured that Clint is newly deaf, there is no reason to assume he can lipread and he was probably quite nervous and a bit stressed about this interview.  He was concerned enough to prep for the questions and set up a scenario where he could manage the conversation without revealing his deafness.  Even if he did lipread Letterman and realise that the question had changed, what was he meant to do?  He wouldn't know what Beast had said - he wasn't facing him as he spoke.  He couldn't have asked Letterman to repeat himself and he probably wouldn't want to wing it.  Nah, I think he did the best he could.

After I read these issues I read Dan Slott's She-Hulk, where Hawkeye's deafness was referenced in She-Hulk 2.
Jennifer Walters is working as a lawyer and due to the high profile nature of this particular case the jurors have been pulled from the past, a year ago.  One of the jurors is Clint Barton, who died a few months after the point in time he was pulled from.  Jen wants to save her friend but cannot just tell him because she cannot let on that she knows him - jurors are meant to be impartial.  So, she tries to warn him.  In the most stupid way possible:

1) You cannot speak one sentence in English and simutaeneously sign a completely different sentence in ASL. You can't even do the same sentence in English and ASL at the same time, as you'll either screw up the English or the ASL.  They don't operate the same.
2) Why on earth does Jen assume that no one else in the courtroom knows ASL.
3) Why isn't she concerned about anyone asking her why is doing these strange hand movements?  Won't the judge hold her in contempt of court?  Because she sure looks like she's taking the piss.
4) Clint clearly has no idea what she's doing. 

Jen, I get you're desperate.  I get you miss your friend.  But please, don't ever do that again, it's embarassing!

If you want more deaf Hawkguy, Hawkeye 19 is a speical ASL issue.  Hopefully it will be out in JUne, but given the recent delays it could be out much later. Who knows.

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