Ronin's Campaign was a vigilante crusade orchestrated by Clint Barton after the loss of his entire family to the Snap impelled him to take out his grief and anger on the criminals that happened to survive.
In 2018, after Thanos obtained all six Infinity Stones, he then finalized his goal of wiping out half of all life in the universe by snapping his fingers. Concurrently, Clint Barton, who was still under house arrest due to his involvement in the Avengers Civil War, was having a picnic with his family.
While teaching his daughter archery, Laura Barton called them over, but as Clint turned around, he saw that his daughter was gone. Confused by her sudden disappearance, Clint went to check with the rest of his family, only to discover that they had vanished as well. Now incredibly concerned, Clint began to desperately call out and search for his family, but to no avail.
Eventually coming to realize that his family had been victims of the Snap and weren't going to come back as Thanos had destroyed the Infinity Gauntlet, Clint Barton came to the conclusion that it was unfair that many criminals and malefactors survived Thanos' genocide but innocent civilians, like his wife and children, did not. Swearing to spend the rest of his life murdering all those who he felt didn't deserve to live after the Snap, Barton went to become a ruthless vigilante, traveling to different countries and violently clashing with as many criminals as he could.
Ronin arrived at Mexico, where he had targeted the Mexican Cartel. Ronin used his superior skills as an assassin to infiltrate their base of operation and began to slaughter all the members so ruthlessly and quickly, that the Cartel could not even get the chance to draw their weapons. Ronin would then leave a horrendous scene of dead bodies that would be found by the federales. James Rhodes later came to learn about this, recounting the events that unfolded to Natasha Romanoff after she decided to search for Ronin.
Planning to eliminate all members of a Yakuza faction, Ronin made his way to Tokyo, where he began to fight against them, despite their great numbers and rapid gunfire. Ronin managed to make his way through all enemies with great ease, going through a building where he headed for Akihiko, a Yakuza operative. The two then found themselves in the streets, where Akihiko questioned Rōnin on his actions; Ronin asserted that Akihiko didn't deserve to survive the Snap only to continue living a life of malice.
As their duel began to settle down, Ronin was able to graze Akihiko's throat, causing him to beg for his life as he bled, and promising to give Ronin anything he wanted. However, Ronin ignored Akihiko's cries for mercy, stating that the only thing he wanted, which was his family, could not be given by him. Ronin then finished off Akihiko with a swift thrust of his katana to the body, and then cleaned it of Akihiko's blood.
Natasha Romanoff had been informed by James Rhodes of Clint Barton being in Tokyo, so she made her way over there to bring him in. Romanoff arrived in Tokyo, where she found her best friend standing over the bodies of all Yakuza members. Barton became aware of her presence and told her she shouldn't be there, which she reciprocated to him. They discussed what Barton had been doing for the last few years, how he believes he has a job to do, but Romanoff saw that it was just his grief over his family.
Romanoff then informed Barton of a possibility of bringing everyone who died from the Snap back, which Barton feared would give him hope, only to be disappointed if it failed. Romanoff apologized for not being able to give her friend hope sooner, clearly seeing how damaged he was. Romanoff then comforted him and they made their way to the Quinjet. The two then flew back to the New Avengers Facility, where they helped working on successfully achieving Time Travel.
When Barton volunteered to be the first test subject in a trip back in time, he traveled to his homestead some time before the Snap, where he heard his daughter Lila for the first time in five years. This experience changed Barton, filling him with hope on getting his family back, and allowing him to end his dark Ronin persona and return as Hawkeye.
When Barton and Romanoff traveled to Vormir in 2014, they learned that in order to obtain the Soul Stone, one of them had to sacrifice themselves. Barton, knowing what he had become over the last few years, believed himself beyond redemption, and should be the one to do it. However, Romanoff reminded him of how he gave her a chance when she was just an assassin when they first met. Following a brief fight in which both attempted to jump over the cliff before the other, Romanoff forced Barton to let her make the sacrifice, much to Barton's sadness as she died for the Soul Stone.
A Family Reunited
Fortunately, when all Infinity Stones were acquired throughout time, Bruce Banner snapped his fingers, returning everyone who died from the Snap. Moments later, Clint Barton received a call on his phone, which turned out to be from his wife, shocking Barton, hearing his wife's voice for the first time in five years.
After an intense battle, Barton returned to his homestead, where he was reunited with his children, warmly embracing them. His wife then came out and the two kissed each other passionately, and the Barton family were all reunited and could continue to live a happy and peaceful life. They all later attended the funeral for Tony Stark.
Behind the Scenes
- In the script of Avengers: Endgame, it was originally stated that Clint Barton had also carry on massacres on Marseille and Kiev.
- Translates from Japanese to:"You survived... Half the planet didn't. They got Thanos. You get me..."
- Avengers: Endgame
- Translates from Japanese to:"Wait... Wait! Help me. I'll give you anything! What do you want?"
- Avengers: Endgame script by Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus