It’s been a year since I last did a rewatch, ending Phase Three with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Now that the Infinity Saga is over and Thanos has turned to dust, our surviving heroes have moved on… with various degrees of success. Phase Four incorporates both cinematic releases and television programs. For the television programs, I am limiting each article to three episodes each
Characters created by: by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, David Mack, Joe Quesada, Devin Grayson, J.G. Jones, John Romita Sr., Matt Fraction and David Aja
Returning characters: Clint Barton, Laura Barton, Yelena Belova, Wilson Fisk1, Cooper, Lila, and Nathaniel Barton
Episode one: Never Meet Your Heroes
Director: Rhys Thomas.
Writers: Jonathan Igla
US Release Date: November 24, 2021
Summary: During the Battle of New York in 2012, a young Kate Bishop is saved from a Chitauri warrior by Clint Barton, but her father Derek is killed in the chaos. Following Derek’s funeral, Bishop vows to become a hero to keep her and her mother Eleanor safe.
In the present day, Bishop has become an experienced archer, martial artist, and fencer. She visits Eleanor for Christmas and discovers her engagement to Jack Duquesne. At a charity auction gala, Bishop becomes suspicious of Duquesne and his uncle Armand III, following them into a secret black market auction featuring items recovered from the wreckage of the Avengers Compound, where they both bid on a sword belonging to the brutal vigilante Ronin.
Suddenly, a group of masked thugs known as the Tracksuit Mafia break into the auction and take the attendees hostage in search of a mysterious watch. Jack uses the chaos to steal the sword while Kate dons the Ronin attire and takes down the thugs, freeing the hostages and saving a one-eyed stray dog in the process, taking him home with her.
Meanwhile, Barton is struggling to come to terms with his deeds done as Ronin and the death of Natasha Romanoff. He enjoys a night out with his children and later sees Kate in the Ronin attire on the news. Bishop tracks down Armand to investigate him, only to find him dead in his office. She flees the murder scene but is ambushed by the Tracksuits, and saved by Barton, who confronts her.
Changes from the Comics: In the comics, Jack Duquesne was Clint’s mentor, the villain-turned-hero the Swordsman
Easter Eggs: The first time in the MCU that reference is made to Clint Barton being hard of hearing.
MCU Connections: The Battle of New York is seen both in flashback and fictionalized in Rogers: the Musical. Clint’s costume and weapons as Ronin make an appearance. The Ronin costume was left at the compound because Clint changed back into his Hawkeye persona for the final fight in Endgame
Music: The episode features a musical number from the fictional Broadway musical titled Rogers: The Musical titled “Save the City”, centered on the Battle of New York, written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Episode two: Hide and Seek
Director: Rhys Thomas.
Writers: Elisa Climent
US Release Date: November 24, 2021
Summary: After encountering Kate Bishop in an alley, Clint Barton is taken to her apartment before they are shortly attacked by the Tracksuit Mafia, who set fire to the place. The pair are forced to evacuate, leaving the Ronin suit behind. After relocating to Bishop’s vacationing aunt’s apartment, Barton sends his children back home, but promises to return by Christmas Day.
Barton escorts Bishop to her workplace and then recovers the Ronin suit at a LARPing event from a firefighter named Grills.
Later, Bishop fails to convince Eleanor Bishop of Jack Duquesne’s involvement in his uncle Armand Duquesne’s death. After challenging Duquesne to a fencing duel, she tries to contact Barton, but learns that Barton knowingly allowed himself to be captured by the Tracksuit Mafia.
She tracks down Barton’s location but ends up being captured herself. The gang informs their leader, Maya Lopez, of Barton and Bishop’s captivity.
Changes from the Comics: In the comics Grills was a neighbor of Barton who grilled on the roof of their building
Easter Eggs: Kate’s aunt is named Moira Brandon. In the comics, Brandon is an aged former film actress who sold her home to the Avengers for use as their west coast headquarters. After helping Hawkeye and Mockingbird on a case she is made an honorary Avenger. The large film posters in the apartment are for fake movies Brandon starred in. Detective Caudle was a detective for the Santa Monica Police Department portrayed as a bald white male. Kate Bishop constantly bothered him when she was trying to bring Flynt Ward to justice.
Episode three: Echoes
Director: Bert & Bertie2
Writers: Katrina Mathewson
US Release Date: December 1, 2021
Summary: Lopez interrogates Barton and Bishop about Ronin, who killed her father years prior. Barton manages to free himself and fend off the Tracksuit Mafia, though Lopez breaks his hearing aid in the process.
After Bishop is freed, the pair escape using Barton’s trick arrows and get his hearing aid fixed. While moving to another location, Lopez’s lieutenant Kazi advises her not to get into trouble with her “uncle”.
Intending to learn more about the Tracksuit Mafia as well as Duquesne, Bishop convinces Barton to infiltrate Eleanor’s penthouse and use her company account to access Bishop Security’s criminal database. However, Bishop is locked out of the system while attempting to bypass security while Barton encounters Duquesne, who threatens him with Ronin’s sword.
Changes from the Comics: In the comics, Maya Lopez was first introduced in Daredevil #9. Her father was killed by Wilson Fisk in the comics, rather than Ronin as shown here. She is raised by Fisk who honors his promise to her father, which is not shown in the episode.
Easter Eggs: When Kate draws a new costume for Clint, it’s his original purple costume, worn when he first appeared as a villain for Iron-Man in “Tales of Suspense.”
MCU Connections: Hawkeye uses an arrow labeled Pym to grow another arrow to gigantic proportions.
My take: As I’m sure you can only imagine I really loved Rogers the Musical and it makes me wonder if we’re going to see more of how the public sees the Avengers and other heroes. We’re going to see that obviously in Ms Marvel but it was like to see what other plays, films, movies of the week involving the Avengers and the stories that everyone has lived through. After all everyone in our world has a 9/11 story I imagine everyone in the 616 has the story of where they were when The Blip happened. This will be even more interesting when the mutants arrive in the MCU and how they are perceived in contrast.
I also love that this show addresses the deaf characters in the Marvel Universe such as Echo and Hawkeye. This is also another example of legacy characters passing the torch such as we have seen with Black Widow and will see with Ms Marvel, She-Hulk, and Ironheart. Naturally I am hoping for Young Avengers with Bishop’s introduction.