Hawkeye’s Worst Enemies Stole Kingpin’s Slimiest Tactic | CBR

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The Hawkeye series on Disney+ has captivated audiences, introducing Clint Barton’s successor Kate Bishop into the MCU and finally bringing back Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin , previously seen in Netflix’s Daredevil series. Much of the show’s success is owed to the fact that it draws inspiration from the acclaimed 2012 Hawkeye comic by Matt Fraction and David Aja.

One of the biggest villains of the television show is the Tracksuit Mafia, a group of Eastern European gangsters who terrorize the neighborhood of the Avengers’ resident archer. These ill-mannered villains are best known for their poor fashion choices and overusing the word “bro.” While they are hardly the biggest threat that Hawkeye has ever faced, these mafioso brothers make generous use one of the Kingpin’s slimiest tactics.

RELATED: The Next Hawkeye May Be a Forgotten DC Superhero from the ’90s

The Tracksuit Mafia were first introduced as the landlords who owned the apartment complex where Clint Barton (aka the original Hawkeye) lived in Hawkeye #1 (by Matt Fraction and David Aja). They were slum lords who tripled the rent that they charged tenants, using their muscle to threaten and evict anyone who could not pay. The Avengers’ archer used his own money to try to cover all of the tenants’ rents and to even buy the building outright from the criminals, but they refused to sell the property to him until he violently convinced them to do otherwise.

The complicated morality of the story defies the usual tropes where unambiguously good superheroes fight against costumed supervillains or inhuman monsters. The Tracksuit Mafia were gangsters, but they also were the legal owners of the apartment complex. It was perfectly legal for them to triple the rents, even if it meant throwing people out into the streets. Their use of violence and threats were illegal, as was Hawkeye’s show of force to make them sell the building. This shows that the real conflict of the story was not about super-crime and punishment, but rather about the abuse of power. The Tracksuit Mafia’s main act of villainy was to use gentrification to hurt people, making the act itself the villain of the story as opposed to any particular person.

It should also be stated that the Tracksuit Mafia answered to Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, whose recent appearance in the Hawkeye television series has been particularly well-received. This is especially relevant, since Fisk, widely considered the cruelest gang lord that New York has ever seen, also loves to use gentrification, rent control, and evictions as a tactic against his enemies.

RELATED: Hawkeye’s MCU Inspiration Was Darker Than Ronin – And Too Deadly For Disney

One of the most celebrated Daredevil stories of all time is “Born Again” by Frank Miller and David Mazzuccelli. After the Kingpin discovers that Daredevil is really the blind lawyer Matt Murdock, he puts pressure on the bank and other financial institutions to muscle Murdock out of his apartment and reduce him to homelessness (although in the end, he resorted to firebombing the building after his more subtle methods failed). This story inspired the third season of Netflix’s Daredevil, which has since been incorporated into Hawkeye.

Disney is unlikely to challenge concepts like predatory landlords or gentrification in any meaningful way, as they do not wish to alienate audiences. But it was this real-world evil that made the Tracksuit Mafia (arguably Hawkeyes’s worst villains) so menacing. Not only did they copy Kingpin’s slimiest tactic, but in doing so, they also employed a real-world act of supervillainy.

KEEP READING: Hawkeye: How Clint Barton Met The Young Avenger Kate Bishop

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