Listen, people. People, listen. Listen. Come on.
Kate Bishop is amazing. I know you know that. I know that you really love Kate, and that you want to yell at us that she’s not even Hawkeye’s sidekick, but rather, she’s the better Hawkeye, but guys that’s the entire point of this competition. Kate could have easily been written as a “spin-off” version of the real Hawkeye, as Clint’s kid partner, as Lady Hawkeye, or Hawkeye-Girl, but instead she’s a fully realized character with her own agenda, and her presence in Clint Barton’s life has a lasting effect that doesn’t diminish her own life. In Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series, Kate eventually does head off on her own, and that has both a profound effect on Clint and is handled as if it were a story all her own. Her adventures are real ones and she’s a real person in them, but they still serve to help define the original Hawkeye.
Now, let’s compare Kato.
Guys, for real, guys? Guys. I love Kato.
But in actuality, I love Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee worship was a major part of my childhood. I’m not sure if 90s kids feel the same, but I grew up watching martial arts movies, and while a lot of them were glorious schlock, the very best were Bruce Lee’s films. He was an icon for anyone growing up in the 70s and 80s, and his earliest role as Kato; driver and sidekick to the Green Hornet on his eponymous TV show. The success of the character in China was legendary (and the show was apparently referred to as The Kato Show there), but sadly, the series lasted a little over a year. Still, Bruce broke down plenty of walls for the representation of Asian characters in mainstream American media.
Now I ask you all this – aside from being played by Bruce Lee, what’s one memorable or important thing that Kato did?
Kate calls Clint on his bad behavior and his being eternally down on himself. She started her own detective agency when she couldn’t take the crap anymore, and was a founder of the Young Avengers. She’s had time to grow and time to rethink her place in the world, and she knows who she is. She’s Hawkeye. As far as characters are concerned, Kate Bishop just might have the edge over Kato… but it’s up to you to let us know.