David Aja

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 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 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 9 (June 2013)

916686Apparently Clint isn’t irresistibly attracted to the redhead, he’s just a man slut. It’s also unclear if he’s fired from the Avengers.

His lady friends–Black Widow, Mockingbird, Spider-Woman–are worried about him. Both because he’s a man slut and because he’s in danger, only Fraction skips around to avoid looking at the in trouble part and sticking to the relationship stuff with Spider-Woman.

For the first time with Hawkeye, I don’t get it. I can’t see what Fraction’s trying to do. Aja’s artwork is amazing, but having Clint be this depressed guy who’s a fifth wheel in his own comic? And the redhead doesn’t even hang around. She leaves town–Fraction obviously has an internal logic to how the events occur, but since he–pardon the phrase–fractures the narrative, he’s asking a lot of the reader.

He doesn’t bring the goods this issue. It’s too bad.

CREDITS

Girls; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Tom Brennan, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 8 (April 2013)

900219So Clint’s redhead femme fatale comes back and gets him in all sorts of trouble. The issue’s really confusing, starting with the flashback of her last heist going bad.

Then there’s the ladies at the Avengers mansion and the implication Clint’s dating Spider-Woman but probably not since he hopes into bed with the other girl. Kate shows up for a page, guess she’s no longer costarring.

Fraction seems to be suggesting Clint’s powerless to resist the redhead, but it’s unclear why. He’s a superhero, I’m sure he’s met loose women before.

Maybe the problem is Fraction’s approach. He writes Clint as something of a rube, getting taken for a ride. It’s not funny, it’s sad. He commits felonies for no good reason when he easily could have found good reasons.

There’s a big scary cliffhanger with the Marvel crime bosses.

It’s got beautiful art, but Fraction’s writing’s a mess.

CREDITS

My Bad Penny; writer, Matt Fraction; artists, David Aja and Annie Wu; colorists, Matt Hollingsworth and Wu; letterers, Chris Eliopoulos and Wu; editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 6 (February 2013)

887923I don’t understand half of what’s going on this issue. I think there’s this gang of toughs who have a sickly old man for a leader and they’re going to kill everybody in Hawkeye’s building if he doesn’t leave. And he can’t beat the gang because he’s only one guy and he refuses to call anyone for help.

Except when he wants Tony Stark to hook up his DVD player and when he wants to give up the Hawkeye mantle to the girl Hawkeye.

So it makes no sense, at least if one is looking for logical behavior. Fraction doesn’t worry about logical behavior. He and Aja instead concentrate on making an awesome reading experience. It’s hard to even call Hawkeye a comic… it’s a reading experience.

Between Aja’s page design and then his actual art and Fraction’s pacing and dialogue, it’s fantastic.

It’s just a hostile read is all.

CREDITS

Six Days in the Life of Hawkeye; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 3 (December 2012)

883567Wow. This issue is simply wonderful.

Fraction’s not worrying about setting up the characters, he’s not worried about coming up with an interesting hook, he’s just trying to have fun. And Hawkeye is fun. Lots of fun.

It’s kind of like a TV show. Clint and Kate bicker while they fight crime. Kind of like he and Mockingbird used to do, only without baggage.

The issue consists of Clint going out to buy tape to label his trick arrows, meeting a girl, hooking up, getting involved with some Mini car-driving bad guys, saving the girl, all while bickering with Kate and showing why trick arrows are really important.

Aja’s probably essential. I can’t imagine the issue being so much for–or so rewarding with so little content–without Aja. He’s already stylized but the action just takes it to another level. He never sacrifices anything.

It’s a fantastic comic.

CREDITS

Cherry; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 2 (November 2012)

883566The second issue isn’t what I was expecting. Fraction doesn’t exactly give Clint a lot more personality–he’s from Iowa, to answer my question from last issue and he’s not playing protector of the downtrodden here. Actually, even though he hires an assistant, it’s unclear what Clint’s doing.

If he’s just playing good guy to the people who don’t usually get helped–he has a crime board after all, like a consulting superhero or something–it’s fine. Fraction and Aja have done something similar before (Iron Fist) and the character works for the niche; why not run with it?

And it continues to be a lot of fun. Fraction doesn’t go overboard with the quips, peppering them in mostly, until a big quip-filled conversation between Clint and his assistant (the female Hawkeye). Aja comes up with a checkerboard for their conversation and it all works great.

Hawkeye’s good fun.

CREDITS

Vagabond Code; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editor, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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