Jef Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring
When I was reviewing the first volume of the Lemire/Perez Hawkeye run, there were several points where I felt bad for the creative team. I like both creators coming into the series, but they had the daunting task of following a run that I can honestly consider to be my favorite comic series to date. While I thought Perez was definitely a worthy successor to David Aja, I often found Jeff Lemire‘s scripts were too “safe”, reading more like fan fiction that then the next volume of one of Marvel‘s most acclaimed books. I know that’s a bit harsh, but I think the book was spinning it’s tires a bit, waiting for the previous incarnation of Hawkeye to wrap up, as well as Secret Wars. Also no, the irony that the later is still going on is not lost on me.
With that being said, the newest arc/volume of All New Hawkeye starts off on a much stronger foot. Making a Hawkeye book that ties-in closer to main Marvel U while maintaining its own identity is exactly what this run needed, as the book finally feels like it has some sort of direction. Granted I’m not exactly thrilled to see Team Hawkeye breaking up again so soon, the reasoning behind it is sound. And (spoilers?) having them reunite 20 years in the future is a neat plot hook, while expanding on the idea of Hawkeye as a legacy and a title.
Splitting the book between the present and the future not only helps the narrative, but it also allows artist Ramon Perez experiment with styles that result in some gorgeous art. The present art was always the strongest part of the visuals in volume 0 ( aka the fifth trade, because Marvel’s numbering system is dumb/complex), and I like how Perez is putting more of his own spin on the look established by Aja before him. And the sketchier, sharper and rougher art for the future scenes are rad as hell, and works better than the often muddled origin sequences in volume 0. Colorist Ian Herring experiments with his colors as well, maintaining a flat and bold look for the present, as well as some faux-70s inspire art for a panel or two. There’s also some really creative use of cover and lack there of to illustrate Clint’s hearing problems in the future It’s great to see the artists experimenting like this, and it’s the best All New Hawkeye has looked to date.
What also helps the overall quality of this comic is Lemire’s dialgoue. While not quite reaching the heights of Fraction’s Hawkeye, the Clint and Kate interactions here feel much genuine and emotional then what Lemire has attempted before. Watching the Hawkeyes break up was painful in all the right ways, and made both characters feel incredibly sympathetic. I’m also a sucker for possible future story arcs, meaning Lemire’s future Clint and Kate stuff is right up my alley.
I was going to give up on this incarnation of Hawkeye, but after reading this new #1 I’m glad I did not. The creators feels much more confident and at home here, and the results make for a better comic. I’m hope Lemire, Perez and Herring can continue to maintain this level of quality, because this is arguably the most excited I’ve been for their run. If you weren’t feeling the current creative’s team take on the book, I urge you to give this issue a shot.