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Avengers #65: Review

Apr 1969
Roy Thomas, Gene Colan

Story Name:

Mightier than the sword

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers #65 Review by (September 10, 2022)
Gene Colan completes the pencilling of this 3-issue story.

Egghead spouts a lot of Shakespeare quotes in this issue, even more than he did in the previous 2.

We've seen the Hawkeye/Swordsman origin story before in #19. But then the name Clint Barton was never used and there was no mention of brother Barney. I checked back in #19-20 and it is true that Hawkeye tells the other Avengers of his past with the villain but Swordsman doesn't appear to know who he is. However he does call Hawkeye his pupil in #29.

Most recently Swordsman was in Captain America #105 working for Batroc after his app in our Annual #1.

Swordsman will show up next in #78-79 as as part of Grim Reaper's Lethal Legion. And then in #100 which features everyone who's ever been (however briefly) an Avenger.

Egghead will return in Marvel Feature #5, part of the run which stars Hank Pym trapped at rodent-size.

There's another 3-issue tale next, and Barry Smith guest-pencils the 1st 2 issues.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #65 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Swordsman rushes to a meeting with Egghead who begins by telling Swordsman some of his own history (just for the reader of course). How the 2 young brothers Barney and Clint Barton sought jobs at the carnival that Swordsman headlined. The main man took Clint on as an apprentice and nurtured his natural talent for archery while Barney became a roustabout. But 1 day Clint caught his mentor stealing the carnival's takings and wouldn't have anything to do with it. So Swordsman chased him onto the aerialist's highwire and cut the line. He left the carnival and left the boy for dead.

Then Egghead says that Clint grew up to be Hawkeye, which Swordsman says he always suspected but was never sure. Anyway Egghead wants to hire him to invade Avengers Mansion and bring him his old foe Giant-Man and he can kill Hawkeye. (Elihas Starr doesn't realise that Henry Pym has now become the shrinking Yellowjacket and that the giant who foiled his plan in #63 was actually the new Goliath Clint Barton who has given up being Hawkeye.) He chose Swordy because he was once an Avenger (#20) and so can get in to the Mansion.

The Avengers have brought Barney Barton's body to the Mansion. Last issue he gave his life saving their lives from Egghead and saving the US, maybe the world, from his death-ray. Clint remembers the last time he saw Barney before last issue. It was after Swordsman tried to kill him at the carnival. Barney found his damaged body and took him for help. He thought his brother a mug for not joining Swordsman's life of crime, and swore he'd never make the same mistake. Barney ran off and became a hoodlum, and when Clint heard of his rise in criminal status he stopped using his name. But now he swears revenge on Egghead.

Meanwhile Swordsman has sneaked inside using the entry codes they strangely haven't changed since #20, plus a device he liberated at the time which deactivates their alarms. He passes Edwin Jarvis preparing a meal and nears the meeting chamber. But that corridor has a new alarm which warns the Avengers of his approach. They confront him and he says he's come for Goliath and Hawkeye (who he thinks isn't present). But Clint Barton gives the game away by announcing himself as "the kid you taught then almost killed".

Goliath wants to take the foe on single-handed but has to fight the other Avengers to stop them from interfering, much to Swordsman's enjoyment. But the villain finally puts a stop to this by blasting the other Avengers with his gadget-laden sword. Then he fights the giant but demands that Clint face him with bow and arrows. But another blast from the sword causes Clint to lose concentration and shrink to normal size and fall unconscious.

Swordsman carries the limp body away reasoning that Egghead wanted Goliath, and it's not *his* fault if Goliath is Hawkeye. And personally he didn't want to kill Hawkeye, just prove that his swordsmanship was still superior to Clint's archery. But when he returns with the body and explains who it is Egghead refuses to pay him if it's not Henry Pym. The 2 villains fight giving Goliath time to recover and grow again. Egghead's ray gun knocks Swordsman through a window where he clings to a window ledge. Clint bats Eggy aside with the swat of a hand and goes to save his erstwhile mentor. He sees the man lose his grip on the ledge. Quickly fashioning a large metal bow and an arrow line he sees Swordsman clinging to a lower windowsill and fires the line to allow the man to climb top safety.

Goliath holds both villains in his giant hands and Swordsman admits that Clint has proven himself the master. But Clint says that won't bring his brother back.

Gene Colan
Sam Grainger
Sam Grainger
Gene Colan (Cover Penciler)
Frank Giacoia (Cover Inker)
Marie Severin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.
Editor: Stan Lee.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther


(Edwin Jarvis)

(Janet Van Dyne)

Plus: Egghead (Elihas Starr), Goliath (Clint Barton), Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne).

> Avengers: Book info and issue index

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