The Accused #1: Review

Aug 2016
Marc Guggenheim, Ramon Bachs

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

The Accused #1 Review by (August 19, 2016)
This issue makes it clear that 1 month + 23 days elapse between the death of Bruce Banner and the verdict in Hawkeye's trial. Ie this gap occurs between the end of Civil War II #2 (plus the flashbacks in CWII#3) and the end of CWII#3. This may make me rethink where some tie-ins go.

The original Superhero Registration Act was of course passed at the start of Civil War I.

Matt Murdock switched to prosecution as an ADA at the start of his post-Secret Wars series. Somehow the SW thing made people forget that he is Daredevil, so he could get his legal license back. But here Evelyn Stanzler still remembers him being disbarred twice - but presumably not the real reasons for it.

Murdock had his license revoked the previous times when his identity as Daredevil was revealed.
The 1st time was after infighting in the Fisk family caused the FBI to learn it in DD(1998)#31. He was imprisoned, escapes and went on the run.
He was reinstated in #92 after Vanessa Fisk arranged fake evidence that he was framed, and *wasn't* DD.
The 2nd time was DD(2011)#36 after publicly revealing his dual identity to expose the Sons of the Serpent.
These disbarments applied to the state of New York, but not to California where he had also practised in San Francisco in #86-108 of the original series. So this time he moved back there.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

The Accused #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This comic covers the trial of Hawkeye for the murder of Bruce Banner, and as such it parallels Civil War II #3.

We start with the scene where Clint Barton gives himself up for arrest after shooting Banner with an arrow in front of a collection of superheroes including both Captain America's, Iron Man and Thor.

1 month later Daredevil defeats Blizzard, Living Laser and an unidentifiable female. Then he gets a call as Matt Murdock from Evelyn Stanzler of the Justice Department to join her as prosecutor of Barton.

They go to see Clint in prison. They have to leave all their belongings outside the cell because Hawkeye could turn any of them into a weapon. (Are we sure they haven't got him mixed up with Bullseye?) They offer him a plea of Mannslaughter 2, 10 years but he'd rather risk the death penalty. It seems like he wants the court to tell him whether or not he made the right decision in killing Bruce.

We see Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel give her evidence on the 1st day of trial. She tells the court how she led a group of super-persons to confront Bruce Banner after the Inhuman precog Ulysses warned them he was going to become Hulk again that day and kill many people. When defence attorney Rikleen objects Judge Rappaport listens to Murdock's counter and overrules the objection.

In the following days of the trial the judge continues to favour the prosecution. On day 18 they meet her in chambers to discuss whether Banner's video diary is to be allowed as evidence. It supports Barton's claim that Bruce asked him to kill him if he was about to become Hulk, and gave him a special arrow-head to do it with. The judge rules it out as hearsay.

Afterwards Rikleen tells Murdock he thinks there's a government conspiracy to convict Hawkeye. 1st they rushed the trial to start in a month. Now the judge always rules for the prosecution. And he believes Stanzler is controlling Murdock's strategy - which Matt can't deny.

That night Daredevil breaks into Stanzler's office at the DoJ, but (amazingly!) her stuff is all on computer without an output mode designed for the blind. But he happens to hear some heavily-armed soldiers and decides to check what they are guarding. It's a meeting where Stanzler and an aide tell Gen'l Strakofsky that the government is going to use Clint Barton's conviction to push through a new version of the Superhero Registration Act. Stanzler says she's got Rappaport and Murdock under her thumb.

On trial day 20 Murdock tells the court that the prosecution is withdrawing their objection to Bruce Banner's video diary. Evelyn Stanzler is not happy, but Matt says he's ensuring a fair trial - his duty as an Officer of the Court. Stanzler tells him if he loses this trial she'll get him disbarred (again). But he's recorded the conversation.

Matt still intends to do his professional best to win the case. Day 21 sees Clint on the stand. During cross-examination Murdock gets him to repeat parts of his defence again. Banner came to see Barton and told him to kill him if there was a chance of him becoming Hulk again.

Murdock objects that Banner wasn't becoming Hulk on the day in question, but Barton says his eyesight (as the world's best archer) is more acute than others' and he saw Bruce's eyes turning green. Something no-one else saw, even the Inhuman Karnak. Under questioning Hawkeye admits that he had the arrow nocked before Banner came out to meet the super-group, ready to fire long before he saw the so-called evidence that Banner was about to Hulk-out.

Murdock concludes by asking Barton if he thinks he did the right thing. Clint again has to admit that he doesn't know. That concludes his cross-examination, and presumably the case for the defence.

The public is shown as mostly on Hawkeye's side. Tony Stark believes Clint shot too soon, but doesn't know whether he should go to jail. (Captain Marvel's comment confuses me.)

Day 22 is the summations. Rikleen compares it to a robbery where the villain reaches for a gun and is shot to defend others. Clint Barton claims that he saw Bruce Banner starting to turn into the Hulk. Others didn't see it, but it causes reasonable doubt. Murdock reminds them that Hawkeye came loaded to kill. If it wasn't a mistake it was an execution. And Barton himself doesn't know whether he was morally justified.

On day 23 Judge Rappaport is preparing her instructions for the jury when she gets a visit from Daredevil. He warns her to be fair. When she protests that she has been doing that he warns her about lying to him.

After the verdict Matt goes to see Clint in prison to tell him about the conspiracy, and what he did to balance things out. He thinks the trial was fair in the end, but he can't say the verdict was. And we see Clint walk out a free man, but concealing his identity.

Ramon Bachs
Garry Brown
Ruth Redmond
David Mack (Cover Penciler)
David Mack (Cover Inker)
David Mack (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Matt Murdock)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)


> The Accused: Book info and issue index

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