Quick review: Hawkeye (2012)

Hawkeye #’s 1 and 2

By Matt Fraction, David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth
“I know how this looks. It looks bad.” This phrase crops up time and again in the new hit series starring the sharp shooter archer and I could not disagree more. Alongside The Flash by Francis Manupal and Daredevil by Marcos Martin and Paolo Manuel Rivera, this could very well be one of the most impressive looking mainstream comics on the rack. The narrative style is loose and conversational, the sequential layout Eisner award-worthy and the colors distinctive and eye-catching. The first two issues have sold out in short order and it is for good reason. Not only is it a fun read, it also celebrates sequential storytelling in stunning graphic style and with a recognized superhero who is both super hip and absurd.

Based on the bowman Avenger, the new series is the latest in a long line of titles that spotlit the cult favorite character. The initial lineup of the Avengers consisted of the heavy hitters of the Marvel Universe such as the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man (at the time Giant Man was also quite impressive). When the team shook up after the arrival of Captain America, the new roster included the former carnival performer turned vigilante and fun-loving criminal, Hawkeye. Shoulder to shoulder with technological marvels, super soldiers and thunder-wielding gods, Hawkeye’s skill as a marksman is absolutely absurd… which even the character recognizes. But that is his strength. An ‘everyman’ among superheroes, Hawkeye has a unique street-level appeal that is unparalleled.

The new series reunites the creative team of the Immortal Iron Fist, Matt Fraction, David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth. For those not in the know, Iron Fist was an immensely popular comic that had a pulp appeal mixed with a retro cool character. There is some of the same kind of magic found in the Iron Fist series here in Hawkeye, which has more in common with Man Called Flint and James Bond flicks than contemporary action comics.

Outside of the Avengers world, Hawkeye is more concerned with the lives of his neighbors who are in danger of losing their homes to the greedy landlords. Using his clout as an independently wealthy playboy and a daring hero, Hawkeye gets involved in a world he cannot hope to understand. Brash, forthright and daring, Hawkeye is soon in over his head but not against a mustache-twirling villain but track suit wearing slumlords. It makes for a wonderful and quirky mood along with the internal narrative (hilariously, Hawkeye cannot translate or even identify the origin of some dialog, leading to ‘Russian stuff… maybe French?’).

The second issue is more traditional as Hawkeye is joined by Young Avenger Kate Bishop who has a similar skill set with a decidedly different background, being a debutante. The two make for a marvelous double-act and I look forward to seeing them continue to build each other up. There’s a problem with so many great characters in the Marvel U such as Kate, so I am glad to see her getting some well-earned time on the page.

If you are a fan of Hawkeye, you need to read this comic, if you liked the Joss Whedon- directed Avengers film, this comic is right up your alley, and if you enjoy ‘done in one’ stylish adventure comics this is also an ideal read. One of the finest of the new Marvel Comics to come in the last few years, Hawkeye is a series that needs to be on your pull list.

One thought on “Quick review: Hawkeye (2012)

  1. Good to see you enjoyed this, Jameson. I have some problems with it but the artwork is really interesting, and there’s a lot of potential. I do think that they could stand to put Clint in his groovin’ purple duds rather more or else it looks like they’re rather too hipsterish to which is silly. Irony is fine but too much of it can look defensive. Also, I find bits of the title’s morality to be rather suspect and unexamined yet none of these things are, as yet, “deal breakers”. Over all, a pretty good book.


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