In a perfect world, Hawkeye would be everyone’s favorite superhero. Both Hawkeyes—Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye, whose tragic upbringing didn’t turn him into a brooding Bruce Wayne but rather an endearing screw-up with a love for strays and commitment issues, and Kate Bishop, a sharp-tongued but level-headed young woman whose insecurities ring far truer than those of the superhumans surrounding her—are exemplary characters, worthy of their own titles and roles in the Marvel cinematic universe. (Sadly, this hasn’t really been the case yet. As Jeremy Renner has pointed out, his Hawkeye barely spoke in The Avengers, and he’s featured in 47 seconds of Thor; Kate, meanwhile, is one of scads of Marvel women who haven’t gotten any screen time in the five years since the MCU took off; we’re not going to count the Edward Norton Incredible Hulk, for reasons that should be obvious.) When you look at the relationships they foster—the close, almost familial connection they share, Kate’s tense partnerships with her fellow Young Avengers, Clint’s many romantic slips and falls—they become all the more interesting. And while it’s fun to pick apart Clint’s failed marriage to Mockingbird or his long-standing partnership with Natasha Romanov, who he refers to in the latest Hawkeye run as his “work wife,” it’s infinitely more enjoyable to examine Kate’s potential relationships, one in particular.
(Before we dig any deeper here, yes, there’s a third Hawkeye, or there was, but he was an evil Hawkeye and he’s also taken up the mantel of Daredevil in a more significant role, so we’re just going to skate over him and say Clint and Kate are the only true Hawkeyes. Fair? Fair.)
“Potential” is an important word here, because Kate does tend to hold boys’ interest, from latter-day Spiderman Miles Morales to Marvel Boy, a rather Malfoy-looking alien named Noh-Varr. But as wonderful as some of her exes can be, Kate deserves better. Kate deserves someone clever, strong, and sexy, someone who shares the qualities readers have come to admire in Kate.
Kate Bishop deserves America Chavez.
The Marvel Database wiki identifies America’s occupation as “interdimensional adventurer,” and it’s not wrong. With a single stamp of her Doc Marten-clad foot, America can propel herself and those around her into different dimensions. Plus, she can fly and she’s literally bulletproof, therefore making it OK that her codename is Miss America. It’s a frankly ridiculous codename, but she’s incredible enough that she can call herself whatever she wants.
On top of that, America is bold (understandable when you take into account the super-strength), sassy, and bright, more than willing to rock a pair of short shorts in the name of justice. She doesn’t share Kate’s easygoing, flirtatious nature, but she certainly has her intensity.
But it takes a while for the two of them to realize that’s a good thing.
When they first cross paths in the latest Young Avengers run, Kate and America’s relationship is terse at best. Neither is used to working with a team, but in no time, the two of them are sparring in the back of a spaceship and America’s calling Kate “Princess” while opening up multiverse portals.
When it’s necessary for the two of them to work alongside each other, they do, and it’s clear their combat styles are complementary. They’re equally good at defusing tension within the ranks, whether it’s America babysitting the teen incarnation of Loki or Kate helping Teddy Altman (Hulkling) and Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) navigate their rocky romance. And when the Big Bad’s been laid to waste and it’s time to unwind, they get ready for the club at Kate’s place, America being as adorably surly as always.
All of this—side-by-side fighting, snarking at supervillains, such all-important rituals as confirming that you do, indeed, look as hot as you think you do—leads to a moment in the final issue that more than justifies the outpouring of Amerikate fic and fanart. The mood starts as celebratory and quickly turns reflective as the team discusses relationships past and present. It comes up that America is bisexual, leading Kate to wonder out loud if she’s the only one on the team who’s straight. (Indeed, the Young Avengers are the most LGBT-friendly superhero squad in the Marvel universe.) That’s when America says something that makes me want to write a fic about her and Kate sharing an ice cream cone in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow:
“Princess. I’ve seen the way you look at me. You’re not that straight.”
Is America asking Kate up to her room to look at her etchings? No. Is Kate declaring her affection for America from the rooftops? Not quite. But did Kate’s prospective interest in America just become canon? Well, yes, thanks to writer Kieron Gillen, it did. And shippy sighs are heard ‘round the fandom world.
As of now, there isn’t a new Young Avengers comic on the horizon, and Kate’s been kicking around California in Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye, so her relationship with America is yet to be developed. But considering the LGBT-friendly nature of Young Avengers—Billy and Teddy Altman literally save the world with their love near the end of the run, and with a stomach-churningly adorable kiss at that—and that pivotal exchange at the close of issue 15, it’s not at all out of the realm of possibility that we’ll see Amerikate become canon. In its current absence, just browse the Amerikate tag on Tumblr. No one will judge you if you just end up scrolling through hundreds of cosplay photos instead.