Comic Book Review: Hawkeye #3
When I first heard that Marvel comics would experience a reboot of sorts, my immediate instinct was to give up. I saw how half-baked the DCnU turned out, and how quickly the fans came to despise it, though Justice League sales would have you believe something else. I’ve dedicated too much time and care too much about these heroes and their lives to see it all thrown away. So I’m like every other comic book fan, and I’ve got the feminist tumblr to prove it (free Cassie Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Oracle’s wheelchair!). Thankfully, Marvel knew they just needed an organ transplant, while DC decided to create a clone baby to be raised by Dan DiDio, before blowing its own brains out (okay, I’m done). Marvel made small changes, but ones that refreshed the look and feel for longtime readers, while attracting new readers with a series of number ones. Covers would look more like movie posters and have a distinct style. They’ve already started a series that follows the Avengers team as they’re presented in the movies, and Nick Fury is black! They’re giving us new teams and pairing up superheroes that haven’t worked together before (see Uncanny Avengers), while still keeping the past a part of history. The aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men still hangs over the Marvel NOW! update, and it plays a factor in how things will turn out. The first of these new series, released a little in advance, was Hawkeye.
Written by Matt Fraction with art by David Aja, Hawkeye has the familiar feel of a comic book, yet the layout, the art, the presentation, and the way it carries itself is totally different. It’s pulpy, but not classless. It’s got action, but it’s in no rush to get you to the end. It takes itself seriously, yet it is, without question, very funny (fuck TBS). Obviously, this is not the first comic that’s been pulpy, serious, funny, action-packed while filled with dialogue, but the way it all flows and comes together gives it a unique feel.
Okay, let’s actually talk about this issue, because it’s a good one, and one that is good for new readers. Granted, it’s only the third issue in a series without an arc yet, so it should be good for newbies, but still. Clint Barton in these Hawkeye issues reminds me a lot of a Sherlock Holmes/Dr. House-type, except he doesn’t hate people as much, he cares about the well-being of others, and he gets laid. A lot. So he’s only really like Holmes/House in that he’s kinda grumpy sometimes. That comparison broke down quickly, I know, but try to follow me. He’s continuing that tradition that so many “street heroes” have had of beating up bad guys, taking their money, and helping the community. He rescued a dog that had been hit by a car in the first issue, for crying out loud! In this issue, he sleeps with a hot redhead and gets chased by villains who say “bro” a lot. (Side note: all of the thugs in every issue say “bro” a lot. I think it’s an obsession of Fraction’s. It’s really, really funny.) The issue also continues to highlight the “other” Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, who earned the mantle during her run as a member of the Young Avengers. Kate, being at the youngest in her late teens, makes for a pretty snarky “sidekick” who really just makes fun of Clint and saves his ass a ton. She’s great, and they’re great together. Yes there’s some sort of romantic vibe there. Yes it’s weird, made weirder by the fact that they do have a lot of chemistry with each other. Since they’re not actual people and they theoretically “can’t” have chemistry, consider that another compliment to Fraction’s writing.
Aja’s art is truly fantastic, blending extremely well with Fraction’s art and dialogue. For all the jump cuts, diagrams, and press-pause moments, it’s an issue that, to repeat myself, flows very nicely. The retro/modern look of the comic, along with the unique color palate (courtesy of colorist Matt Hollingsworth) make it stand out. This is a must-read comic, especially for those who may have found Fraction too wordy or slow during his run on Invincible Iron Man. Looking forward to seeing him make Fantastic Four and FF less boring and confusing. Seriously, have you read those lately? KNOCK IT OFF WITH ALL THE PHYSICS TALK, NERDS!
Hawkeye #3. Written by Matt Fraction. Drawn by David Aja. Colored by Matt Hollingsworth. Released October 17, 2012, by Marvel Comics.