Written by: Matt Fraction
Art by: David Aja, Javier Pulido, Alan Davis
Collects Hawkeye (2012) 1-5, Young Avengers Presents 6
Published by: Marvel Comics, retail price $16.99
A great creative team can get me to read any book on the stand, despite what characters are involved. Case in point, I could have not given any less of a damn about the Young Avengers in the past, but then Marvel NOW tossed Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie on the title, and I haven’t missed an issue yet. Having a creative team you like work on a character you love however, is one of the best things you can ask for as a comics fan, and I’m a pretty big Hawkeye fan.
While the last time Fraction/Aja worked together on a book ( Immortal Iron Fist) was fantastic, both contributor’s have stepped up their game for the Marvel on-going “Hawkeye” series, which the first collected edition just dropped. The premise is simple: What does the most human Avenger do during his time off? Obviously get into a ton of trouble, because this is a comic book, and violence & drama sell. Clint ends up trading blows with his Landlord and his Bros (Bros), an evil version of Cirque De Soleil and eventually, a collection of Marvel’s nastiest gangsters, spies, and thugs for a mission of sorts for S.H.I.E.L.D.. Barton also has to deal with himself, and the series of poor life choices he makes. And when he’s not, he’s usually hanging around his neighbors in Brooklyn, allowing Fractions and friend to do some nice character building.
There’s also a dog who eats pizza named Lucky, that both I and Tumblr are very fond of.
And even though the book is called “Hawkeye”, Clint’s not the sole start of the title. Kate Bishop, also Hawkeye, is the straight man to Clint, despite being 11-12 years younger than him. Fraction does a great job making her a polar opposite to Clint, but every so often will drop a reminder that she’s 18, and all the baggage that goes with that age. Also props to the artists’ attached to the collection that do a fine job of drawing her at her proper age, and even giving her a cool new redesign. She’s a much of a main character as Clint is, only not as much of a mess. And if you’re not familiar with Kate was a character (a shame, Young Avengers volume 3 is great), Marvel did a solid and included a Fraction penned-one shot where both Hawkguys meet for the first time.
I’ve praised the writing a lot so far, but David Aja and Javier Pulido deserve a ton of props for the art in this book. Like Chris Samsee on Daredevil (also edited by Steve Whacker!), this book has a very European art book vibe to it, which works even as a street level Marvel title. Both artists do some amazing work, and 12-13 panels per page is something not uncommon in the series. The art does the script justice and it shows what kind of magic results from creators bringing their A game to a title .
I’ve given Hawkeye a ton of praise on this site before, and it’s deserved. And I’m not the only one. The book has gone through several reprintings for each issues, and it’s up for a number of Eisner’s this year. For $17, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be reading this book right now.