Tuesday, December 06, 2016

"The Fatal Finale" shouldn't be where you drop eight pages of villain backstory...

...although, that's probably the most entertaining portion of this issue: from 1990, Avengers Spotlight #36, "Bitter Pill" Written by Steve Gerber, pencils by Al Milgrom, inks by Don Heck.

This was the conclusion of a six-issue Hawkeye serial (set back a month, by last issue's Forgotten One fill-in) in which Hawkeye takes on the gangs of L.A, gets shot, recovers, and gets a new armored costume. As you did in the 90's...the implication is that Hawkeye isn't so much out of his depth, though he is, as he isn't very "street" anymore since he's been an Avenger for so long. By this chapter, his investigation into the bombing deaths of some thirty members of the "Stone Perfs," has come up with nothing; so we check in with the mastermind behind the gang warfare: one Lotus Newmark. Survivor. Entrepreneur. Drug lord. Wonder Woman fan.

Lotus takes her underling, Fernando, a.k.a. "Prince Charming," to her palatial estate, and into her confidence, telling him her life story origin: born in L.A, Lotus had lived in Hong Kong as a girl, when her mother was killed in a traffic accident. Her father, who had managed to save her, couldn't forgive himself for not saving his wife as well, and fell into gambling and drink. When crime boss Li Fong came to call in his marker, he demands two fingers as payment, to serve as an example to others. Instead, Lotus's father offers a "barter," and trades away his daughter.

Fong had taken Lotus just to further rob her father of dignity, but came to find something more in her, and would raise her almost as a son. Except he totally still had sex with her. Lotus doesn't sugarcoat her story, but also doesn't feel like a victim, since she did receive an education in business and martial arts, as well as revenge: when she turned 21, Fong gave her her freedom...and her father's address. Lotus cut two fingers off her father, forced him to look at it for a full minute, then killed him by driving her hand into her father's chest.

The next day, Hawkeye and his then-wife Bobbi are at a birthday party for Luis, a young boy who saved Clint's life; when Luis recognizes the passing "Prince Charming" as one of the Stone Perfs. Plainclothes, Clint confronts him, curious how he survived when the rest of the gang was bombed by a helicopter, but in the scuffle Luis's little sister is shot. (It's a bit brutal, it looks like it would've killed her instantly.) Charming then manages to pistolwhip Hawkeye, shoot a cop, and then escape in Hawkeye's skycycle! Charming flies it back to Lotus's estate, who wants no part of him now; and sends him packing; while Hawkeye has another skycycle and arrows dropped off by USAgent. Going after Charming, Hawkeye forces him down, and Charming nearly gets the drop on him again! Before getting gunned down by the "Terminizer," the vigilante who had murdered several other gang members, and was pretty obviously young Luis. Crying, Hawkeye tells the boy not to unmask, he didn't want to know.

Back at the Avengers Compound, Hawkeye gets an earful from USAgent for not getting the Terminizer; while a supporting Mockingbird tells Hawkeye he could tell her the story. Hawkeye says "not for ten years or so," but of course they wouldn't be together then...I don't think Lotus has returned since, but I wouldn't mind if she did.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Huh, this could've easily been a Batman story as well from the sound of it. Probably with a different ending, like Batman busting this "terminzer" anyways.

Where's the trademark satire and Gerber wit? Don't see it here so far.