Origins and Early Days
Orphaned at an early age, Clint Barton was sent to a children's home with his brother Bernard. Running away to join a traveling circus, the pair worked as roustabouts. While a member of the circus, Clint was trained by the original Swordsman and by Trick Shot.
Witnessing Iron Man in action, Barton attempted to emulate him by donning a colorful costume and employing his archery skills to fight crime. However, during his first public appearance, Hawkeye was mistaken for a thief by police. The Black Widow enlisted him as her partner and they clashed with Iron Man on several occasions.
Although Hawkeye became romantically involved with the Widow, he was unhappy being a criminal. When he approached the Avengers and told them of his desire to reform, Iron Man sponsored his membership on the team.
Barton formed, along with Captain America, Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver, an incarnation of the Avengers known as "Cap's Kooky Quartet." This was the lineup that succeeded the original after the four remaining founders all took indefinite leaves of absence. This team was at first regarded as less formidable than the previous roster, but soon proved themselves against the likes of such as Kang the Conqueror and Doctor Doom. Hawkeye was an active member of the Avengers for years, with his archery skills and inventive trick arrows augmenting the superhuman powers of his associates. His carefree and rebellious personality meant that he sometimes argued with Captain America, but their teamwork never faltered when faced by outside threats.
Continued Career and Mockingbird
For a short time, Barton abandoned his Hawkeye identity, and taking Hank Pym's growth serum, operated under the name Goliath. He resumed his Hawkeye identity after briefly being the Golden Archer soon after. He has taken several extended leaves of absence from the Avengers, trying to establish a career for himself outside of the group. On the first of these leaves, he actually resigned on the grounds that he wanted to prove he did not need a team in order to be effective, only to almost immediately join the Defenders for several months!
During one of his leaves of absence from the Avengers, Barton was security chief for Cross Technological Enterprises. He met and eloped with Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. fellow crime fighter Mockingbird at this time. Another person he met while at Cross was Jorge Latham, who would design his Sky-Cycle. It was also during this time that he and Mockingbird were kidnapped by Crossfire, a villain who wanted to use hypnotic ultrasounds to force superheroes to kill each other. Hawkeye and Mockingbird defeated Crossfire, but Barton suffered permanent hearing damage due to the ultrasounds, and for a long time was forced to wear a hearing aid. Eventually Franklin Richards cured him of this injury.
West Coast Avengers
Upon his return to the Avengers, Barton was appointed to chair a new second team of Avengers based on the West Coast by then-chairman, the Vision. The team Hawkeye chose consisted of Mockingbird, his original inspiration Iron Man, Wonder Man, and Tigra. Hawkeye and Mockingbird acted as the guiding force behind the team. Barton hired his old friend from Cross Technologies, Jorge Latham, to act as the on-staff mechanic and to build a new fleet of sky-cycles. Hank Pym helped the team in a civilian capacity as the resident scientist.
One of the western team's adventures scattered them across time. Hawkeye and most of the team were stranded in ancient Egypt, but Mockingbird was in the Old West, held captive and rendered an amnesiac by Phantom Rider (Lincoln Slade), who posed as her lover. In a mountaintop battle between the two after her escape, Barbara allowed Slade to fall to his death. The couple separated after Clint learned of this (through the Rider's spirit); the rift was exacerbated when she proved instrumental in a plot by several world governments to abduct and dismantle the Vision for his near takeover of the world (although he had aborted the plan before anyone was truly harmed.) Mockingbird, along with Tigra and Moon Knight, left the team and with Bill Foster briefly formed a splinter group. Tigra and later Mockingbird returned to the AWC.
The West Coast team operated both independently and in conjunction with the senior East Coast team. One mission they were involved on was Operation Galactic Storm. Barton was initially relegated to remain on Earth as part of the "rear guard" team due to a "lack of raw power." With some timely aid from Hank Pym, he re-assumed his old Goliath identity, and took USAgent's place on Captain America's team bound for the Kree Empire. After Iron Man, against orders, led a group of Avengers to execute the Kree Supreme Intelligence, Barton was important in helping Captain America regain confidence in his leadership. Briefly maintaining the Goliath identity, Clint and Bobbi managed to reconcile during this time.
On the AWC's last mission, the team began an otherworldly trek to rescue the captured Mockingbird from the hands of Satannish The Supreme and Mephisto. During their escape, Mephisto tragically killed Mockingbird. Shortly thereafter, Vision began the vote that disbanded the West Coast team.
Renewed Solo Career and Thunderbolts
After Mockingbird's death, Hawkeye became a solo agent for a considerable amount of time. During this time, Barton was commissioned to train a group of rebels known as the Shadows along with Sundance and Striker. He attempted to keep them from killing, but on one raid Striker killed a woman and injured her fiancee, a friend of James Rhodes.
As War Machine, Rhodes investigated and was surprised to see Hawkeye among the rebels. A government-backed group led by USAgent also arrived adding further confusion between the "Brothers in Arms". The three were able to stop the conflict and were confronted by the mysterious Advisor.
After years of fighting alongside the Avengers, Hawkeye offered to lead the Thunderbolts. Sympathetic to their plight as criminals trying to redeem themselves for their past actions, he decided to help them become a legitimate superhero team. They briefly assumed new identities to try and start over, with Hawkeye calling himself the new Dreadknight. He also became romantically involved with Moonstone. As leader, Hawkeye led the Thunderbolts both alongside and sometimes against his former teammates in the Avengers.
Eventually rejoining the Avengers, Clint began a dallying affair with The Wasp, causing tension with her sometime lover, Hank Pym. When the Scarlet Witch had her breakdown that resulted in the breakup of the Avengers, Barton perished on an exploding Kree ship created by her crazed state.
The Scarlet Witch did not act again until a year later when she altered time and space on a universal level changing the Earth's history to where mutants were the rulers while human beings were a minority. Barton was was very much alive after these changes, and affiliated with an underground human resistance who opposed the mutant laws and supremacy. Like all of the other inhabitants on the planet, Clint retained no memory of his previous life. This changed however, after the X-Man Emma Frost restored his memories in hopes of recruiting him and the resistance to oppose Magneto and the Scarlet Witch. While his new teammates joined them and recruited more of his original Avenger teammates, Barton grew more reluctant in joining their cause and left them to deal with his returned memories. Through unknown circumstances, he eventually caught up to them and opposed the Wanda Maximoff. Failing to kill her with one of his arrows, he brought up their history as teammates as well as his former romantic feelings for her, angrily demanding to know why she ended his life. His confrontation with her did not last for very long. Clint's tensions eventually renewed Wanda's mental instability causing her to once again erase him from existence.
She then restored reality to it's original state, only to remove mutant genomes from millions of mutants on Earth making them human and without any powers. Clint awoke inside Avengers Mansion confused by the recent events. Leaving his "Hawkeye" wardrobe and equipment at the mansion, he set out to relocate the Scarlet Witch. He went to Doctor Strange for assistance in locating her. Doctor Strange was the only person in the world to know of his revival at the time. Clint found Wanda in a small European village located in the mountains living her life as a gypsy. Spending the night with her, Barton learned she had no memory of her previous life and was supposedly depowered. He left at dawn the next morning heeding the warning of Doctor Strange not to attempt to revive her memories and possibly worsen her mental condition.
After the assassination of Captain America, Iron Man approached Clint about taking up the shield. Barton proved himself to be one of the few who could wield it effectively, and considered taking up the mantle. He and Iron Man encountered the Young Avengers called Patriot and Hawkeye. They convinced him that wearing Steve Rogers' costume and wielding his shield would be wrong, and he allowed the unregistered young heroes to go free. Later, when Clint learned that Stark had given the shield to "Bucky" Barnes (Cap's WWII sidekick and the reformed Winter Soldier), he payed this new Captain America a visit to express his disapproval.
Barton revealed himself as the current user of the Ronin guise, joining the New Avengers. During World War Hulk, he was defeated by two of the Hulk's Warbound while trying to defend Rick Jones.
During the Skrull Invasion, Barton headed to the Savage Land with the New Avengers to investigate a crashed Skrull ship. There, both they and the Mighty Avengers came across many heroes from years past including a "Hawkeye" and a "Mockingbird". This "Hawkeye" was discovered to be a Skrull, but after Clint questioned "Mockingbird" of her miscarriage, he truly believed her to be his late wife. Teammates Luke Cage and Wolverine were more suspicious. This was justified later, when Clint was proven wrong by Mr. Fantastic, whose technology forced the Skrulls to revert to their true structures. Clint did not hesitate in shooting the Skrull Mockingbird impostor dead with one of Black Widow's firearms. Enraged by such deception, Barton became more dedicated to opposing the invading Skrulls without any second thoughts on killing them. During the final battle with the Skrulls alongside dozens of superheroes, he used his old bow and quiver of trick arrows (dropped by the wounded Kate Bishop) to kill several Super-Skrulls and to severely wound Queen Veranke, the orchestrator of the entire invasion, who had been posing as Spider-Woman. After the fighting, it was discovered that the people replaced by the Skrulls were alive and well, including Bobbi.
Reuniting with his wife, they were the first to be invited by Captain America (Barnes) to his safe house which he offered as a base of operations to the New Avengers' cause and future activities. The team�s first being a search and rescue mission for the newborn daughter of fellow teammate Luke Cage. Clint was infuriated at Norman Osborn�s rise to power- especially at the former super villain�s own Avengers group which was composed of super villains and murderers who assumed the identities of his fugitive Avengers. Wanting to dissuade Osborn and his group from using the Avengers name and logo, Clint and his New Avengers attempted to lure and battle them in the former Hellfire Club headquarters but were instead opposed by the Hood's crime syndicate who were sent in place of the new Dark Avengers.
At the discovery of evidence proving Osborn�s corrupt politics, Clint went to the media exposing his identity and denouncing the Dark Avengers and Osborn�s connections with the Hood. His final words were a message encouraging the American public to resist Osborn�s new regime. This did not rest well with Clint�s teammates; none of them were not comfortable with him starting a media war with the enemy without their consent and grew concerned for their own safety including his. Despite negative feedback from his teammates, Clint remained on good terms with his friends throughout their course of activities.
Aside from the New Avengers� missions, Clint�s relationships with his individual teammates continued to develop. He gradually remained good friends with Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and Wolverine, and was particularly happy to be working with his former Avengers teammate and friend Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) again after the team�s previous tension with her former Mighty Avengers before the Skrull invasion. He now trusted James Barnes and gradually accepted him as the new Captain America as well as a valued friend and ally. Clint learned Bobbi did not consider him her husband and had initially intended to divorce their marriage before her abduction, but he successfully revived their relationship. However, he remains distrustful and cautious of Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) due to the Skrull empress Veranke�s portrayal of her; traits he shared in common with teammate Luke Cage.
He was later unanimously voted as leader of the New Avengers in which he appointed Ms. Marvel as his deputy leader. He coordinated the team in aiding Doctor Strange in locating the next Sorcerer Supreme in New Orleans opposing Dormammu, the Hood and Madame Masque in the process, opposing Ymir alongside the Osborn�s Avengers, aiding Hank Pym (now the Wasp) and his Mighty Avengers in China with its superheroes against the powerful Inhuman extraterrestrial the Unspoken, and escaping capture from the Dark Avengers and the Hood�s Crime Syndicate now led by Doctor Jones Harrow. The aftermath of the New Avengers� later activities however, placed Luke Cage in critical condition and confined Wolverine on the Utopia X island neighboring San Francisco�s bay which had been declared a prison by Norman Osborn. Wanting to end Osborn�s reign before the status of the superhero community worsened, Clint infiltrated Stark Tower incapacitating a majority of the Dark Avengers in attempt to assassinate Norman Osborn, but failed being imprisoned by Ares and Osborn as a bargaining chip towards his own team. Osborn, using Mentallo (Marvin Flumm), took the location of the New Avengers secret base from his mind. The others were able to clear out in time while using the Dark Avengers attack on their now empty hideout to free him from captivity. Once they are safe in their auxiliary safe house, Clint apologizes to his team for attempted assassination. Then, Steve Rogers turns up, saying that they, as the Avengers, will right the wrongs Osborn had caused.
After the events of Siege, Steve Rogers puts together a new team of Avengers. Clint joins the team and returns to his Hawkeye identity(although he encourages Kate Bishop to keep the Hawkeye identity as well). He and Mockingbird are also members of the New Avengers,although Hawkeye later leaves the New Avengers when he receives an Avengers priority call from the main team, claiming that he was only there to spend time with his wife.
Hawkeye aids Mockingbird and her anti-terrorist organization, the World Counter-terrorism Agency. Together, they thwart Crossfire's illegal arms operation, and encounter Lincoln Slade's descendant, Jaime Slade, who later goes onto become the new Phantom Rider. Crossfire and the new Phantom Rider team-up to battle the heroes. This feud has its casualties with Mockingbird's mother being severely wounded and the death of Hamilton Slade, both at the hands of Crossfire. Hawkeye leaves the W.C.A. after it becomes clear that his relationship with Mockingbird has become too strained. However, he quickly rejoins after being informed by Steve Rogers that a kill list of international spies includes Mockingbird.
Hawkeye and Mockingbird team-up with the Black Widow to take on the mysterious new Ronin and the Dark Ocean Society. The new Ronin is later revealed to be Alexei Shostakov, the former Red Guardian and ex-husband of the Black Widow. During the final battle with the new Ronin, Hawkeye receives a strong blow to the head. When the battle is won, he assures Mockingbird and Black Widow that he suffered no ill effects from the blow. The blow to the head that Hawkeye received proves to be more serious than first thought. While battling the Lethal Legion with the Avengers, Hawkeye's aim is shown to be faltering. After the battle, Tony Stark, Donald Blake and Steve Rogers examine Hawkeye to discover what is causing it. Their diagnosis is that Hawkeye is steadily losing his sight and will soon go blind. Iron Man provides Hawkeye technology that should stall the blindness. Later, Trick Shot arrives at Avengers Tower on the brink of death. Trick Shot tells Hawkeye that he was forced to train another archer, one who was as good as Hawkeye, before fainting in his arms.
During the attack of the Serpent, Hawkeye learned his feelings for his fellow Avenger Spider-Woman, after both battled Nul in Brazil.
Time later this event, Captain America left the leadership of the Secret Avengers in the hands of Clint.