As I explained in the first post of the Marvel & Christianity series, I’ve recently gotten into comic books. And, though at times cheesy, I’ve found they are rife with biblical parallels. Today I want to look into issue 02651 of the Solo Avengers series published in 1988. In this issue, we continue the Trick Shot plot line.
Hawkeye has temporarily defeated Trick Shot, but there is still something bothering him. Growing up he had an alcoholic father who killed himself and Hawkeye’s mother in a drinking related car accident. So Hawk and his brother, Barney, were sent to an orphanage. Barney decides to run away, and Hawk follows him. They end up joining a carnival. That’s where Hawk is trained first by the Swordsman (who tries to kill Hawk when Hawk discovers him steeling cash from the carnival), and then by Trick Shot (who saves him from the Swordsman). Barney, furious with Hawk for not accepting money from the Swordsman, leaves Hawk in the hospital and doesn’t return. Trick Shot makes a deal with Hawk, he’ll teach Hawk all he knows for a price (to be revealed later). Hawk, with no where else to go and wanting to heighten his skills, makes the deal.
Later, when Hawk goes on a mission with Trick Shot, he is confronted by a few of Marko’s (the man Swordsman owed money to) guards. Hawk manages to pin them to a wall when he’s hit by a spotlight. Instinctively he shoots as the guard shoots. Hawkeye, though slightly wounded, is worried that he might have killed the man, and that is when he discovers that he shot Barney. Barney had become one of Marko’s guards. And Hawk was working for the man who had killed Marko and his wife.
Trick tells Hawk to leave his brother so they can save their own necks. Hawk refuses and threatens to shoot Trick. Trick pins him to a tree and warns him that one day, when Hawk has made something of himself, he’s going to return and demand his price—Hawk’s life.
Hawk gets Barney to a hospital and leaves him there, unable to face his brother.
Extreme shame is something Peter faced after turning his back on Christ. His friend was tortured and crucified and Peter had done nothing about it. He denied ever knowing Christ. But when Christ returned from the dead, he sought out Peter and restored their relationship.
Shame robs us of relationships, and our lives are all about relationships. We are here to love God and love others. That is our purpose. But shame causes us to run from God (Genesis 3:10) and to run from others (Prodigal Son), which is crazy because God is the only one who can wash away our shame (1 John 1:9) and he uses others to help us up out of the trouble we find ourselves in.
Hawk lost his relationship with his brother because he allowed shame to control him. The best thing to do with shame is to bring it to God. Allow Christ to take it away, and accept his free gift of a shame-free life. When we feel ashamed, the last thing we should do is run an hide. What we need is to seek out God, ask for his forgiveness, and ask for his help. Then let him and those he sends love on us…. Like the Prodigal Son returning home expecting to be met with judgement, but finding open arms instead.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed. ~ Psalm 34:4-5 ESV
Why be ashamed when we can be loved?