Following Civil War, many consider Captain America’s greatest Avengers rivalry to be with Iron Man, but his rivalry is actually with Hawkeye.
There are few Avengers that get under Captain America’s skin quite like Iron Man especially after the two had a massive falling out during the events of Civil War, though after taking a look at the origins of the Avengers as an established team, it becomes clear that Captain America’s greatest superhero rival isn’t Iron Man–it’s Hawkeye.
During the events of Civil War by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, Marvel’s superheroes find themselves under a great deal of scrutiny as their ability to carry out their own brand of vigilante justice with impunity is met with the idea of governmental oversight to ensure everyone can be held accountable for their actions. While Iron Man is on board with the idea, Captain America can’t fathom having to answer to a higher power before being sent on an Avengers mission. This disagreement leads to violent conflict as heroes and villains alike choose sides between those who wouldn’t mind some oversight and those who are willing to fight to keep things exactly the same with Iron Man and Captain America leading their respective sides. Even after the fighting was done and everything basically returned to normal as it stands currently in Marvel Comics continuity, Iron Man and Captain America still never fully recovered from Civil War despite their decision to fight side by side once more afterwards. This caused many to regard their relationship as the one with the most friction out of all of the Avengers, though the Avengers’ earliest storylines reveal that isn’t actually the case.
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In Avengers #21 by Stan Lee and Don Heck, the Avengers are keeping themselves busy within their headquarters as they weren’t facing any immediate threats at that time. Rather than training, Hawkeye was fiddling with some of the high-tech equipment the Avengers had in their base until he is accosted by Captain America who tells him to knock it off immediately. Cap tells Hawkeye that no one aside from Tony Stark is allowed to touch the equipment as the base is technically his and he is just allowing the Avengers to use it. Hawkeye snaps back at Captain America as he so often did since his inclusion on the team, leading to a conflict that almost got physical if not for an immediate call to action that came up right as the two nearly shared blows.
Hawkeye first joined the Avengers in Avengers #16 as a replacement member for the original line-up who all decided to take a much-needed break from the superhero lifestyle. When Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, and Thor temporarily left the team, they made Captain America the Avengers leader as he had the most experience of the new members. Hawkeye hated that he wasn’t given the chance to lead the team and let Captain America know it every chance he got. While Cap brushed off Hawkeye’s gross insubordination at first, he finally had enough of his bad attitude in this issue—turning what was previously a one-sided hatred into an actual rivalry.
At that time, Captain America had the utmost respect for Iron Man, a sentiment that was mutually expressed, and the two got along just fine as teammates and fellow heroes. In fact, Captain America and Iron Man rarely had any issues pre-Civil War, which is fairly new in terms of Marvel Comics continuity, meaning they’ve been on good terms much longer than not. However, Captain America and Hawkeye had issues from the start, and after just a few comic book issues together, those minor problems were elevated to mutual disdain—proving that Captain America’s original Avengers rival wasn’t Iron Man, it was Hawkeye.
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About The Author
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Spencer Connolly is a Staff Writer for Screen Rant with years of writing and journalism experience under his belt as a Photojournalist and News Producer. Spencer has had a love for comics and manga all his life with a special interest in Marvel and Dragon Ball (though his interests change like crazy so take that with a grain of salt). Spencer loves reading into certain scenes or lines of dialogue and coming up with fun (sometimes controversial) article topics to further explore that particular thought process. Sometimes they’re cool and agreeable, other times they’re downright infuriating and argumentative. Whatever your stance on his work, Spencer just hopes you had as much fun reading his articles as he did writing them. Plus, you can tell him how much you loved or hated his work by following Spencer on Twitter: TheSpencerVerse (though he’s one of those ‘sensitive writers’ so please be nice).
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