Hawkeye

Hawkeye 1 (February 2017)

Hawkeye #1Hawkeye tries way too hard. Thompson’s characterization of Kate is busy but bland. Romero’s art is all right–the detail’s excellent even though everything moves way too fast with way too little actual content. Kate’s cocky and immature, which might fit the other Hawkeye’s comic, but not this one.

CREDITS

Writer, Kelly Thompson; artist, Leonardo Romero; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Joe Sabino; editor, Charles Beacham and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 22 (September 2015)

Hawkeye #22I can’t even remember when this issue of Hawkeye was supposed to come out. I can’t even remember what issue twenty-two was supposed to be when the comic was going to alternate Kate and Clint and then didn’t because… well, I don’t really read the letter pages but I assume people got too busy.

And Hawkeye didn’t sell well enough after a while, which doesn’t make sense, since a lot of the comic is great. And this issue is great. It’s a great last issue. It doesn’t just bring Kate back to it, it integrates her adventures away from Clint. It sets up for a great sequel and there can’t be one.

So Hawkeye will just be that (mostly) great mainstream comic Fraction and Aja did. Hopefully there will be a nice collection, because I’ve been wanting to read it in one sitting since issue three.

Good night, Hawkeye.

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amant; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 21 (April 2015)

Hawkeye #21What’s confusing about this very late issue of Hawkeye is how little anyone is invested in it; Fraction has the most fun when doing a one page scene between Clint and Jessica Drew and Aja manages to do some great design, but not turn it into great art. So what does Fraction do? He goes for a gut shot at the end, just to make Hawkeye feel like it matters.

Only, it’s been so long since Fraction’s done anything interesting with Clint, he’s got way too big a hill to climb.

Strangest is how they handle the “meat” of the issue. The regular tenants of the building fighting the Eastern European mobsters Home Alone-style, as one character puts it. It seems like a very small fight with only a handful of participants. The coordination, both in writing and art, isn’t there.

Maybe Fraction should’ve let someone else finish it.

CREDITS

Rio Bravo; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 18 (May 2014)

Hawkeye #18Fraction gets some kudos for getting tough on Kate in L.A., but then he goes and does two really annoying things. First, he sets up Kate’s latest case as a way to get her back to New York and teamed up with Clint. It’s contrived. Second, the hard cliffhanger requires Kate be unaware of her surroundings. She’d probably be long dead if she were so unaware.

Otherwise, it’s an excellent issue. Kate gets herself into another bunch of trouble, this time investigating an acquaintance’s past. There’s some good flashback stuff, giving the reader a look at Wu doing nineties period stuff and “realistic” supervillains.

The art’s quite good the entire issue. Even though not much happens–it’s really just Kate investigating most of the time–Wu keeps things moving along.

Sadly, Fraction seems hell-bent on running this series to exhaustion. This issue might be the first Kate issue not to be amazing.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 17 (May 2014)

298224 20140312115138 largeWhat do you do if your comic is so late not just your primary artist is behind but apparently your backup artist is behind too?

You do a "winter holiday special," in which the main character–as in titular superhero Hawkeye–falls asleep in front of the television during a holiday special. And the rest of the comic is the holiday special (courtesy Chris Eliopoulos).

There are definite analogues between Eliopoulos's cute little cartoon thing and the series itself. The hero is a powerless superhero who's determined, even though he can't do things right. Kind of like Clint Barton. Very deep stuff here.

Taken on its own, Eliopoulos is quote good at what he does so the comic's not bad. It's about as good as Fraction's regular Clint issues, actually.

However, the apologetic bookends don't endear the issue. Don't apologize for chooching your readers out of a real issue, just do it.

B 

CREDITS

Writers, Matt Fraction and Chris Eliopoulos; artists, Eliopoulos and David Aja; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 15 (April 2014)

297090 20140226132533 largeHow stupid can Clint get? Thanks to Aja’s page layouts, it’s hard to tell. The art’s beautiful, but the way Aja does flashes–rapidly cut comics–it’s unclear if he was really dumb or if the bad guy was just good. Fraction wants the reader to think Clint’s dumb, to make him lovable. That arrangement is strange–it means the reader can’t truly root for the protagonist.

This issue also has a fairly big Big Lebowski vibe thanks to Clint’s brother hanging around. It’s more Lebowksi than “Rockford.” It needs to be the other way around. Fraction’s got three guest stars popping in to tell Clint he’s stupid. Too many.

Otherwise, of course, the issue’s a delightful read. Fraction has a great pace, great twists, great everything. He can’t visualize the story through his protagonist’s perspective. It also could be the incredibly fractured narrative.

Fraction’s hit the ceiling with Clint.

B 

CREDITS

Fun and Games; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 16 (February 2014)

293923 20140122111323 largeOnce again, why is Matt Fraction even writing Clint Barton issues of Hawkeye when he’s got the opportunity to write these Kate issues.

It’s a done-in-one, “Rockford” style detective issue. Kate comes across a guy walking down the freeway, discovers he’s got a story (sixties rock legend turned burnout) and tries to help him. Things do not go particularly well, but they go badly in very amusing ways. Plus, Kate develops as a character throughout, between her neighbors, the angry police chief and her supermarket P.I. mentor. It’s all so awesome, one would think Fraction wouldn’t want to write Clint anymore either.

I won’t even get into how movie-ready a nineteen year-old, female superhero would be for Disney.

Nice art from Annie Wu, who gets in some nice psychedelic poster art influences–doing a flashback with a guy’s face as the guide, for example.

Excellent stuff.

A- 

CREDITS

Recording Tape; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 14 (January 2014)

290020 20131127112715 largeI think it was Ed Brubaker who described “Veronica Mars” as ‘“The Rockford Files” in high school.’ Well, with Kate front and center in L.A., Fraction has turned Hawkeye into ’“The Rockford Files” with a sort of superhero."

The Annie Wu art is a nice fit for Kate’s first case, trying to track down some orchids–Fraction maintains a sense of humor as well as danger. Whether it’s Clint or Kate, Hawkeye always feels like a dangerous book. They might get hurt. Or some cool supporting cast member will get killed.

Fraction manages to tie the odd case into some of the bigger plots going on, all while introducing another subplot for Kate. It’s a nice issue, even if it goes on a little long. There’s also character problem. Fraction writes Kate a lot better than he writes Clint.

Fraction should just give her the book at this point.

CREDITS

L.A. Woman; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat, Devin Lewis and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 11 (August 2013)

916689Fraction and Aja tell the issue from the dog’s perspective. I’d forgotten Clint even had a dog. Luckily there’s the text recap.

So, there’s a whole visual language for the dog, how he encounters the world–with image memories like street signs and so on–based on smell mostly. I doubt there’s ever been a comic so much about smell.

And it’s really cool. The dog runs into people he doesn’t like, he makes a new friend, it’s really cool. For a while.

But then there’s the narrative. The clown guy is apparently in Clint’s building hiding out with an evil old lady, it’s still unclear if Clint knows Grills is dead, and then Kate moves to California. Also, unclear why clown guy hasn’t attacked Clint as lots of time seems to pass this issue.

It’s really cool, but cool doesn’t make up for Fraction’s insistence on bewildering the reader.

CREDITS

Pizza is My Business; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 10 (July 2013)

916687Are the goods back? They’re on their way, it certainly seems. Francesco Francavilla does the art this issue, which feels like Fraction took a page out of the Brubaker play book. He follows around the clown faced villain, who goes after Kate.

It’s unclear why the villain goes after Kate, except maybe to be an even worse villain who torments the heroes.

The villain’s not a bad choice, he just feels like a Garth Ennis Punisher villain. Eastern European, dead family, not supervillain costume but something disquieting. The bigger issue might be just out of teenage years Kate Bishop being all hot to trot for him.

And then Fraction jumps back to the previous issue and explains a couple things about Clint’s thought process. It’s a shocker… and Fraction’s finally not playing Clint as the heel this issue.

I still don’t know why Fraction’s fracturing the timeline, except for effect.

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist and colorist, Francesco Francavilla; letterers, Chris Eliopoulos and Clayton Cowles; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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