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Why Hawkeye And Other Non-Powered Superheroes Are Still Amazing

Illustration for article titled Why Hawkeye And Other Non-Powered Superheroes Are Still Amazing

We've heard it pretty much every time Marvel's Avengers have been on the big screen. People point to Hawkeye and Black Widow and insist, "They shouldn't be here." Because what superhero team needs two normal humans? But those people are missing the point: Those heroes' normality is their greatest strength.

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Welcome to 'In Defense Of', a semi-regular io9 feature where we make the case for characters, concepts, and media we love.

Hawkeye and Black Widow in particular deserve to be Avengers because of their awesome skills. Hawkeye is a master bowman, Widow the finest spy in the world. In comparison to their allies they might just be human, but that's the point: they're essentially the audience surrogates in ideal form, the best a human being can be.

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To us normal folks watching and reading the comics and movies, these non-powered people are our gateway into this weird and intense world of gods and heroes. They're humans at the peak of their potential, standing as equals with the superpowered. And that's something to look up to: the fact that at our best, we can stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Thor or Captain America.

And way fewer people ever bring up these questions when it comes to the ultimate manifestation of the 'badass normal': Batman. Part of Batman's whole mystique is that he is so finely honed, so well trained (and so well endowed with wonderful gadgets and toys) is that he can stand tall alongside aliens and people who are basically walking gods.

If Batman is so talented, so amazing that he can take down foes powered and unpowered alike, it magnifies the abilities of the likes of Wonder Woman or Superman to the awe-inspiring levels that we should be seeing them at. Without an extraordinary human alongside them, superheroes risk becoming sort of ho-hum and aloof, because they become the new normal. Standing alongside a regular human being grounds them in such a way that their superpowers stand out more.

So, what do you think? Should the likes of Hawkeye, Batman and Black Widow hand in their hero licenses for not having powers? Or are they an important part of their team's makeup? Let us know in the comments.

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DISCUSSION

Everytime I hear ppl criticize Hawkeye being an Avenger (and it's usually hawkeye because the kind of troglodyte who makes such an argument naturally gives Black Widow a pass because boobs) I know for a fact they have never read Matt Fraction's Hawkeye run and thus are not worth knowing or talking to re: comics.