Tagged: Hawkeye

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BULLSEYE #1 Hits The Mark!

bullseye_2017_1.sized

This New Comic Book Day we take aim at Marvel’s most unpredictable assassin.

He’s baaaaaack! Daredevil? Beat him. Elektra? Killed her. Hawkeye? Psh! Avenger? Did it, done it, owned it (okay, so technically he was a Dark Avenger but nobody told him that). And those were the paid jobs.What’s next for Marvel’s most unpredictable assassin? Writer Ed Brisson (The Violent, Batman & Robin Eternal, Secret Wars: Battleworld) and artist Guillermo Sanna (Deadpool, Straightjacket, Daredevil) are ready to unleash the villain in South America where he crosses path with a drug cartel that, to quote Brisson from an interview on Marvel.com, “…makes Pablo Escobar look like Mr. Rogers.” Ever wonder what a master marksman and methodical madman does with his free time? One guess? Not cat videos on YouTube.

BULLSEYE #1 marks the return of the most feared assassin in the Marvel Universe. With a gritty crime writer penning the direction for this crazy man’s insane new adventures and a Spanish artist who revels in frenetic action handling the images, the pages promise to be intense. If you’ve been looking for your next action fix with a morally absent centerpiece then congratulations this is going to be the comic for you!

Plus, Bulleye’s co-creator and legendary comic scribe Marv Wolfman writes a special back up story with artist Alec Morgan! What does Bullseye want with the mafia’s most sensitive information? How far will he go to get what he wants?

This is a first issue that can be classified as: Can’t Miss! Yeah, I did…

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Chris’ Comics: The Top 4 (and a Hawkguy) Finale

At last, it’s time for my final article for the Daily Planet. Instead of reviews, I’m going to recommend 4 series to you (plus Hawkeye, because we all know that’s coming) that are some of my favorite comics. There’s a few “well duh” choices on the list, but hopefully someone will find a new favorite on this list, or at least think I have excellent tastes in comics.

DCD5297571) Batgirl: Year One (Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty, Marcos Martin) The only way you can buy Batgirl: Year One these days is in a trade packaged with the also great Robin: Year One. But Batgirl: Year One is arguably my favorite story featuring my favorite DC character. It’s a nice re-imagining of her origin from pre New 52 times, from a writer who wrote a good portion of the best Babs Gordon stories in the 90s. Marcos Martin later blew up on books like Spider-Man and Dr. Strange: The Oath, but this is where the Martin hype train officially began. A gorgeous story that does wonders for one of the most iconic superheroes out there, Batgirl: Year One is the one DC story I can’t recommend enough.

DCD4061942) Phonogram: The Singles Club  (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson). While I absolutely adore this team’s work on The Wicked + The Divine and Young Avengers, P:TSC is my next pick, which was the first time Wilson joined Gillen and McKelvie on a creator owned joint. Set over the course of a single night, each issue in this trade tells a different story, focusing on a different character, and occasionally crossing over. My personal favorite of the various stories is the finale, a relatively silent story that focuses on Kid-With-a-Knife, one of the more simplistic but exciting characters in the series. While it’s technically the second part of the Phonogram trilogy, it’s by far the most accessible, and an excellent entry point for Gillen/McKelvie/Wilson’s indie work.

15958246263) The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, Becky Cloonan). I really wanted to throw a Grant Morrison penned story on this list, but honestly, there’s enough best of/recommendation lists out there featuring his work on All Star Superman, JLA, Doom Patrol, etc. Instead I’ve opted for a comic featuring a character played by Morrison in the My Chemical Romance music videos this comic series is based on/a sequel to. While being familiar with said music videos/album helps. Killjoys is good enough to enjoy on it’s own, thanks to Cloonan’s gorgeous art, and Way’s sensational and kinda out there scripts. While you can make an argument that both creators have stronger work on the market, this is a favorite of mine, and it’s definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of either creators.

07851983934) NEXTWAVE: Agents of H.A.T.E. (Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen) Also known as my favorite comic series before Hawkguy was a thing. Warren Ellis’ funniest book to date, in which his team of super hero pirates fight an evil corporation profiting from a war they’ve created. A cult favorite that’s influenced so many books, NEXTWAVE was at one point the weirdest but also one of the best looking books Marvel had ever published thanks to Stuart Immonen’s art. Assuming you haven’t read it, you should, unless you hate nuclear puppies, flesh eating koalas and dragons that wear shorts.

 

 

0785192190Hawkguy) Hawkeye (Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, Matt Hollingsworth, and various) And here it is, my obvious favorite that I’ve never shut up while writing for Forbidden Planet NYC. Hawkeye was a game changer for Marvel, and is easily the best for-hire work Fraction and Aja have done, possibly ever. The creative team makes walking dumpster fire Clint Barton one of the most relatable characters in comics, while making Hawkeye Kate Bishop a break out star. From the Pizza Dog issue to the Sandy relief issue, there’s some many amazing, genre defining comics that show that you can do big 2 comics with an indie comics sensibility. No comic series has affected as much as this book has, and there’s never going to be a time where I won’t recommend it.

And with that, I take my leave. I’d like to thank everyone who’s read my work, my fellow contributors, and the fine folk at Forbidden Planet for giving me a stage over these last years to talk about comics, and toys. I’ve had a blast, and if you care to see what I’m doing post Forbidden Planet, give me a follow on twitter (@theanarchris). Thanks for the memories FPNYC faithful!

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #4

All-New-Hawkeye-4All New Hawkeye #4

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

It seems all too fitting to be talking about Marvel’s most famous archers on Valentine’s Day weekend. Granted talking about Deadpool on V-day weekend 2016 is also very fitting this year, I’ll save that anecdote for my Spider-Man/Deadpool #2 review.

All New Hawkeye #4 kicks off the “Hawkeyes” story arc, which delves into the past of Hawkeye Kate Bishop, while Hawkeye Clint Barton teams up with S.H.I.E.LD. in the present. While I wasn’t keen on the Hawkeye origin flashbacks in Volume 0, looking at Katie-Kate’s roots is concept I can get behind. It’s something few very writers have explored, and after Fraction dropped the bomb that her dad is kind of a criminal jerkface, it opens up some neat story telling possibilities for Jeff Lemire to use.

HAWKEYE2015B004_int2_4-932x1414Ramon Perez has been a fantastic artist on this title through and through, and this issue is no exception. I dig how all the characters except for Kate are drawn a little looser and sketchier, where as Ms. Bishop is more focused and refined. It’s a cool way of ensuring that reader realize that SHE’s the focus of the story, and it’s a inventive variant on what Perez did for the Clint flashbacks. Color artist Ian Herring doesn’t attempt anything new for these scenes, which is fine. There’s ZERO need to fix what’s not broken, and those water color style colors are still great. The modern era art looks great as usual, although I REALLY wish we could go an arc where one of the story lines isn’t set in a snowy area. That being said, I love how clean and bright it is, especially when it’s blended together with the flashback segments on the same page.

Getting back to Lemire, this is definitely one of his strongest issues to date.He’s finally begin to find his footing, and develop his own voices for these characters. He wisely sticks to the path laid out before him, which only makes sense. His Kate reads a lot like one tumblr_o2h897Ci4R1uozhf6o1_500would traditionally expect Lady Hawkguy to sound like (well read, sarcastic, and extremely mature for her age), and his Clint is the goofball with a heart of gold we’ve all come to love. Lemire is also beginning to inject more humor into his scripts, which I appreciate, and I hope to see more of it in the future. Lemire’s Hawkeye has a bunch of heart, but more humor and action is always welcomed. My only real complaint is the reveal regarding the Project Communion kid’s origins, because man I am real tired of Marvel forcing that particular thing down my throat.

All New Hawkeye continues to be an enjoyable read that finally delivers on a Kate Bishop focused story we were promised over a year ago. It’s clear that Lemire has had plans for the character for awhile, and it’s great to see the character as the focus again. Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s art continues to find new ways to impress readers, and it’s amazing that they manage to switch things up for every new arc. “Hawkeyes” is off to a fun start, and the cover for issue 5 promises that this is going to be another great arc.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #3

STK693569All New Hawkeye #3

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

I believe it’s safe to say that I can stop worrying about the future of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Both figuratively and literally, thanks to how this comic plays out.

 All New Hawkeye #3 wraps up the creative team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s 2nd arc, which sounds weird, but try to remember exactly how relaunch-happy Marvel is these days. It’s a great issue that shows how important the Clint and Kate are to each other, even though they’re not on speaking terms with each other for most of the issue. It also wraps up the future Hawkeye story, which was fun alternate future thing filled with a ton of cool ideas and designs.

At first glance, you could accuse Lemire at rehashing a lot of what Matt Fraction had done: ie, broke up and reunite Kate and Clint. It’s a fair complaint, but in Lemire’s defense, he handles it differently, and resolves it quicker. He also shows how much Kate needs Clint, HAWKEYE2015B003-int-LR2-3-4c025which is nice, even though he flat out stats that Clint needs Kate to be a proper Hawkeye. Which is true, as we probably wouldn’t have had nearly 30 issues of Hawkeye comics over the last 4 years if it wasn’t for the inclusion of Kate Bishop. It’s good to see Lemire finally getting more comfortable with the Clint and Kate dynamic, and finally establishing his own take on their relationship. He also does some wonderful things with Clint’s brother Barney, who makes a welcomed return to these pages. It’s a wonderful series of pages, which really works for me more than the Barney/Clint stiff from volume 0. Part of me wants more Barney and Clint bro times from Lemire, but given the character’s current status quo, I’d also be okay with him being left alone with his happy ending for him for the time being.

Ramon Perez has always been great on this book, and I’m impressed that he also manages to improve in some small way with every issue. In issue 3 for example, he draws more sound effects into his panels, and their pretty great. “Bro Hug” was a sound effect that sounds like something that would have shown up in Adventure Time, and its presence is tumblr_o0y1e7HNyt1sqep2mo1_1280welcomed. It’s such a minor thing, but the tiny words give the art an element of comedy that I appreciate. Aside from sound effect, I love his character designs for the future cast of characters, and how Perez composes some of his pages, especially the  Miss America Chavez and Kate Bishop page in which the panels act as mirror images.. All of this, in addition to the fact that he switches up his art style 3 different times in this issue, make him one of the most under appreciated artists at Marvel. Any issue of ANH that take primary in the present is better for it, and issue 3 is proof of that, thanks to Ramon Perez’s visuals, enhanced by Ian Herring’s brilliant choice of colors.

All New Hawkeye #3 puts my fears to rest and helps make this book one of my favorites again. I’m glad the team got their stuff together for this arc, and I’m now genuinely excited for this book in a way I haven’t been for months.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #2

4938440-hawkeye2015b002_dc11_lr-0All New Hawkeye #2

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Let it be known that I’m writing/editing this article with a fun little head cold. Big ups to the New York area weather being insane this month, also expect more typos and grammar errors than usual.

So let’s talk about Kate Bishop today! Katie-Kate is known for co-starring in Hawkeye with Clint these days, but before the excellent and often mentioned Fraction/Aja series, Kate only popped up in Young Avengers. As much as I like the Clint/Kate dynamic, I missed the relationship she had with her YA pals, and am thrilled to see it back in this issue of All New Hawkeye. Also hey, here come some slight spoilers.

The Hawkeyes are joined by Novarr/Marvel Boy and Ms. America Chavez in All New Hawkeye #2, which sees the future versions of Clint and Kate battle the Mandarin, while their current day counterparts deal with their failing out. It is not the upbeat Clint and Kate story we get from the Marvel Holiday special, but it’s a good comic none the less.

tumblr_nz3ljtGLhT1sy4rryo2_1280Much like Jeff Lemire steering his scripts away from the tone set by Fraction, artist Ramos Perez continues to make the Hawkeye visuals his own with every passing issue. I really like how more and more animated his art is getting when it comes to the modern day Hawk-stuff, which is best showcased when Perez is drawing Lucky the Pizza Dog, and the conversation between Miss America and Kate. The future stuff doesn’t look as good due it’s more sketchy style, but works well enough. Ian Herring’s colors are just as great, going a little more bolder and brighter when it comes to coloring the present day pages, and more experimental and psychedelic for the future stuff. I think by coloring those pages as such. Herring’s implying that the future isn’t set in stone by doing so, BUT I also may be reading into things too much.

Writer Jeff Lemire finally fulfills his claim that Kate is the co-star of this comic by giving the lady Hawkeye more of the focus this time around. While he can’t match Fraction in ttumblr_nz3ljtGLhT1sy4rryo3_1280erms of humor, he’s certainly managed to capture Matt’s tone when it comes to the more assertive and serious Kate Bishop. And there’s a bit of Kieron Gillen influence to his dialogue when it comes to writing the Young Avengers kids, which I dig. In addition to that, there’s a really interesting plot twist that goes down in the future portion of the comic that I’m now really excited to see play out.

The fully realized team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, and Ian Herring prove that the previous issue was not a lucky break, as All New Hawkeye #2 is a very enjoyable comic. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Hawkeyes work together again in the future, while trying to figure out their relationship in the present, which examines how emotionally dependent Clint is on Kate, and maybe the other way around too. I’m thrilled to see the creative team bounce back like this after that shaky first arc, and expect them to continue to thrive as they have on these last two issues.

 

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Chris’ Comics: Marvel Holiday Special

Gwenpool-Holiday-Special-001-(2016)-(Digital)-(Nahga-Empire)-001Marvel Holiday Special

Charles Soule, Langdon Foss, Megan Wilson, Margaret Stohl, Juan Gedeon, Gerry Dugan, Danilo D. Beyruth, Christopher Hasting, Gurihru and more

Marvel $5.99

While I’ve stated plenty of times that I do not paying more than $4 for a comic book, occasionally there’s an exception. Gwenpool, a character who’s presence has jacked up the cost of Howard the Duck to $5, is not one of those reasons. HOWEVER, if she happens to be in a book that also give me a follow up to the excellent Deadpool Vs Hawkeye  mini series, it certainly does work in the character’s favorite. It also helps that I’m a sucker for Holiday Specials, especially ones involving a bunch of my favorite Marvel characters.

The Gwenpool Marvel Holiday Special gives the readers 4 different stories, and all of them are excellent. There’s a 20 page She-Hulk story by Charles Soule and Langdon Foss that puts a nice little bow on that creative’s team run on the recently concluded series, and serves as as the center of the story. It’s not a must read for anyone who’s not previously a fan of the series, but if you enjoyed Soule and company’s run on the book, you’ll love this tumblr_nz58qsaHqu1sqep2mo1_1280story. Joining that story is a Ms Marvel story by Maraget Stohl and Juan Gedeon, which I think is the first time Kamala has been written in a solo story by someone other than co-creator G Willow Wilson!

The Ms Marvel story is also a hoot; Juan Gedeon‘s art isn’t the most eye popping, but he manages to capture all the proper emotions beats, making it more than serviceable. Stohl’s dialogue is terrific, leading a fun little story that casts Ms. Marvel as a Scrooge of sorts. Overall I’m a fan of the story, and glad to see the creative team do the character justice. From there it’s the 10 pages story I was most excited for, which reunites Hawkeyes Clint and Kate with their pal Deadpool. While reading the aforementioned mini series definitely makes the story more enjoyable, it’s not necessary. Much like Ms Marvel, it’s another fun holiday themed story, with that special brand of wacky only a character like Deadpool can bring. It’s also incredibly heart-warming, as Gerry Duggan blends emotions and humor quite while, while Danilo S. Beyruth absolutely kills it on the visuals. It’s obviously my favorite part of the book.

As for the Gwenpool story, it’s a tad tricky to get into. I sure as hell love the creative team involved, but not having read the 2 chapters in Howard the Duck take make the story tumblr_nz47iymTQI1sqep2mo1_1280crafted by Christopher Hasting and Gurihru a tad confusing. It also have very little to do with the holidays, so I’m not entirely sure why it was added to begin with, abd suspect that Marvel is just hoping that Gwenpool can carry a book much like how Spider-Gwen has. But it’s still a neat  story than ends on an incredibly cute note.

The weird little Gwenpool misstep aside, the Marvel Holiday Special is a fun little anthology that offers the reader a lot for 50 pages of content. Granted I am super bias towards this book for the Hawkeye related content, I still found the rest of the book enjoyable, and encourage you to pick it up if you already aren’t for  Hawk or Gwen-related reasons.

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #1

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_2_1All New Hawkeye #1

Jef Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

 

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.

 

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Chris’ Comics: All New Hawkeye #4 & Grayson #10

portrait_incredible (3)All New Hawkeye #4

Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

Following in Hawkeye volume one’s footprints, All New Hawkeye is back after a slight delay. #BURN A reverse of the previous issue sees the bulk of the issue being dedicated to the drawn out Clint and Barney origins, with the final panel of the page being dedicated to the present, with Clint and Kate dealing with the three spooky children the Hawkeyes liberated from Hydra. Much like the previous issue, those panels are mostly dialogue free, and I find them the most interesting, as it feels more in the same vein as the previous volume, and Ramon Perez more simplistic style looks gorgeous. Ian Herring‘s colors perfectly capture the style used by Matt Hollingsworth for these scenes, yet his best stuff is saved for the flashback material. Here we see a lot of interesting uses of purples and blues clashing against a brighter color which clash nicely with the muted art work.

HawkeyeBWith the origin-story stuff taking the point again for this issue, I find myself slightly less invested with this issue. Don’t get me wrong, it looks great and genuinely do like what Jeff Lemire has set up with the brothers Barton. But ultimately it’s not a story I want to read. Clint’s origin is arguably one of the least interesting aspects of the character, because who wants to read about the circus in 2015 right? I applaud Lemiere and Perez doing something different, but I much prefer Clint and Kate arrowing it up in Brooklyn than I do Hawkeye babies.  Especially after 4 issues, or in Lemire’s case, a hunk of his career. Also it really clashes with the promise of more Kate Bishop, who’s barely in this issue.

All New Hawkeye #4 takes some neat artistic risks, but I’m tired of this origin story. The modern stuff is far more compelling, and hopefully there’s more of that after this arc.

 

Grayson-10Grayson #10

Tim Seeley, Tom King, Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox

DC $3.99

Grayson continues to be a god send to the character of Richard “Booty Booty Booty” Grayson. Ol’ Dick (heheheh) has been on bit of quality decline ever since the new 52 started, but his role as a spy has given him a much needed shot in the arm that Dick hasn’t seen since Grant Morrison and friends made him Batman. Grayson #10 is the second installment of the “Nemesis” arc, which finds that boy Grayson amiss of a murder mystery where he is the main suspect. Oh and Lex Luthor shows up, which is big, because Lex is one of the reasons Dick had to fake his death to begin with. It’s compelling stuff, with some really engaging dialogue from Tim Seeley and Tom King and the cliffhanger ending is spectacular.

Grayson-10-ViewOne of the advantages of turning Dick Grayson into a globe spanning hero is Mikel Janin being able to draw the hell out of a number of exotic locations in a single issue. Two moments that stand out to me visually were the scene in Madrid early in the book, and later when Lex and Dick meet in Corscia. Aside from drawing the prettiest of people, Janin draws some gorgeous scenery, beautifully colored by Jeremy Cox. Cox is also another fantastic artist, managing to mix channel travel brochure quality colors as well as Jim Steranko SHIELD era stuff. Coz is easily one of the most underrated colorists in the business and pairing him with Mikel Janin has produced some incredible looking art. Meanwhile, Seeley and King continue to provide a solid and entertaining script with some really smart and fun dialogue.

Grayson #10 is another fine installment of a book that got me back into DC Comics. It’s spy drama and super heroics at it’s best, and I’m glad to see the team’s first multi-issue storyline going so well.

 

 

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Chris’ Comics: Hawkeye #22

4677223-hawkeye2012022_dc11-0Hawkeye #22

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth/Chris Eliopoulos

Marvel, $4.99

::: Inspiring quote and or song lyrics tangentially related to Hawkeye’s ending goes here :::

 

RIGHT?!?! HOW RELEVANT IS THAT?

After various delays, 2014’s hottest comic has finally made it into my hands, with the 2015 hot Marvel price of $4.99. To be fair, it’s double sized, AND ALSO FANTASTIC. It’s also (probably) the last time I’ll be spending $5 on a Marvel comic anytime soon I imagine, but that’s a different rant for a different day.

4633438-h2David Aja, Matt Fraction, Matt Hollingsworth and Chris Eliopoulos’ final issue of Hawkeye sees all the key players reunited in Bed Stuy for the last time. It’s the freshly united Hawkeyes, Clint’s neighbors, and Lucky the Pizza Dog vs the Tracksuit Draculas and the Clown for a brutal, but never too graphic, final throw down. This issue is gorgeous, as David Aja goes to town on the visuals, incorporating so many cool nods to past issues without it being too overboard with the references. We get Aja showing off his full range of talents, making this one of the most impressive issues in the series on a technical level. Re-reading these pages invokes memories of modern awesome ultra-violent action flicks like John Wick, Nightcrawler and Drive, all while maintaining the originality and style Aja is known for. I cringed a few times reading this due to the cast taking some nasty hits, but Aja’s excellent framing and some great use of colors from Hollingsworth never made things too graphic. Eliopoulos’ masterful position of work balloons and font choices really ties the whole package together, as it moves the narrative along without interrupting the art. Marvel deserves a lot of credit for letting this team tell it’s story relatively uninterrupted, despite massive shipping delays. I imagine the collected version of this book are going to look amazing over the coming months.

4633437-h1Hawkeye #22 gives us a relatively quiet Matt Fraction. Oh sure, it’s difficult to tell who contributed what with this issue given both Fraction and Aja being listed as Storytellers instead of writer/artist. But it feels Fraction held back on some dialogue to let Aja go nuts on the action. Which is great, because at this point, exposition and banter would only take away from the experience. Hawkeye was always a low stakes book compared to the rest of the Marvel offerings, but thanks to the talent involved in this book, it feel like the most important thing. Fraction still manages to sneak if a few running gags/reoccurring narrative tricks into this script, but this ultimately feels more like David Aja’s show than Fractions. And another upside to this is that when someone speaks, it feels important. Clint drops 2 Die Hard-esque zingers that work way better thanks to Fraction dialogue restrictions, making less ultimately more.

Hawkeye #22 ends arguably one of the most important runs in comics in some time. This book redefined Marvel (see Marvel Now and it’s various incarnations), gave Matt Fraction’s career a well-deserved shot in the arm, and reminded everyone just how good of an artist David Aja is. It in brought people who usually didn’t read Marvel to the company, and gave people interested in comics thansk to the 2012 Avengers film the perfect entry way. It’s a damn fine comic, arguably my favorite, and I hate to see it over. But I’m glad to have an ending on a high note, and am eager for more content from Fraction and Aja and friends in the future.

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Troy’s Toys But with Comics: All New All Shameless Edition

So hey, before I start my weekly Hawkeye discussion/Comics Review, I wanted to make the FP Faithful aware of a few things

1)The DC Sneak Peeks from this week are pretty great, and if you don’t want to spend your money on Convergence tie ins, are available on Comixology and several other websites. My personal picks are We Are Robins Black Canary and Batgirl, but you should definitely track down the Starfire, Grayson and Gotham Academy ones as well.

2) Speaking of digital offerings, Fresh Romance is available on Comixology too. I kickstarted it, and man, I am glad that I did. It’s a cool return to romance comics featuring some fantastic stories by several rad up and coming creators. It’s 5 bucks for 30 pages, which I know is steep, but it’s a rare occasion where the price is justified by the quality of the content.

3)  June kicks off Summer Convention time, which means if you’re on the East Coast, you get to see me dressed up as a super hero in a crowded environment. I’ll be at Special Edition NYC, FLAMECON and Heroescon next month, and if you want to say hi or track my nonsense on social media, I’m on twitter & instagram @TheAnarCHris .

 

Alright, shameless plug theater is over, Hawk-talk begins now

All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_1_3_TextlessAll-New Hawkeye #3

Jeff Lemire/Ramon Perez/Ian Herring

Marvel $3.99

When writing one Crapsack Tire Fire (aka Clint Barton), one way to keep my interest in the character is to have equal amounts of one Kate Bishop and one Lucky, the Eisner award winning pizza dog. It took Team Hawkguy 2.0 three issues to realize that, which makes issue 3 the best issue of All-New Hawkeye to date.

This time around, writer Jeff Lemire limits the Flashback/Origin-y stuff to one panel per page. It’s a neat storytelling technique, as most of these story allows artist Ramon Perez tell the story in mostly dialogue free scenes. It also allows the reader to see how these circus bits relate to the story that takes place in the present, which is treated as the A-side story this issue. Clint and Katie Kate has to deal with the fallout of their mission, and end up getting into more trouble as a Hawkeye tends to do.

With a few issues under their belts, Lemire and Perez read and look more comfortable on this title. Lemire’s dialogue flows better, and the Kate and Clint banter is great. Lemire’s Kate Bishop has noticeably improved with every issue, as his Clint. Perez’s art has also improved ten fold with the modern setting, and we’re treated to a double page multi-panel fight scene that is delightful as it is brutal.  Perez’s more traditional art style is a little more loose and animated than it has been in the past, and the book is all the better for it. It’s still relatively minimalist, but so expressive and energetic. And Ian Herring‘s wonderful colors give the book a nice since of depth despite being so flat like Matt Hollingsworth before him. There’s a sense of fun to this comic, something missing from the previous issues

With the rocky start  hopefully behind it, it appears All New Hawkeye has finally found it’s footing and is becoming a solid title.  I imagine those who are trade waiting it may not be as harsh as I have been as they get read the story in a single chunk. But as someone who reads it monthly, it’s nice to see this creative team improved steadily with every issue, and hope the team keeps it up.

 

 

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Troy’s Toys But With Comics: Arrow’d

54c2825aaaa9dHawkeye #21

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

I wanted Marvel‘s Hawkeye ongoing back more than anything.  As good as Secret Avengers and Hawkeye vs Deadpool were, what Matt Fraction and David Aja ground breaking series has been doing with Clint Barton and comics in general is hard to replicate. So when the 21st issue of this series was solicited with a 100% guaranteed to ship date, I was excited. I thought I was ready to handle part one of what will be the end of the oft-delayed Fraction/Aja/Matt Hollingsworth run.

3 pages into this issue and those creators made a liar out of me. I was not ready. I was a hot mess of emotions by the time we got the the brutal 19th page of comic, and then I hit page 20 and nearly lost my composure at the shop. It would have been an messy bout of ugly crying, but one that was warranted given everything that goes down.

4360109-hawkeye2012021_int2-1Hawkeye #21 aka, Rio Bravo part 1, begins the battle of Bed Stuy. Clint, Barney and their neighbors battle the Tracksuit Draculas for their apartment building, something that was brewing since issue one. And while it doesn’t sound like the highest of stakes in a Marvel Comic, that doesn’t matter. Hell, if you remember that ol’ Hawkguy is Avenger, you may ask yourself why he just doesn’t call in Iron Man or Thor to help save the day. But that’s all part of the charm of the book. This is suppose to be showing what Hawkeye does on his days off, and bringing in such high-profile characters would do more damage to the book, despite being the more logical choice. Like Clint says, you gotta make your stuff work, and that means not calling in for help ( Luckily for Clint, not everyone believes in that).

4360108-hawkeye2012021_int2-0After 21 issues, what else is there to say about the team of Matt Fraction, David Aja (with assistance from  Raul Allen),  Matt Hollingsworth and Chris Eliopoulos, he types, realizing that’s super cliche of him to say. But it’s true, this team has banged out some amazing work over the course of 20 issues (with some help), and 21 is another fantastic issue. Fraction’s dialogue is so natural, making nods to past events and in-jokes from the series. He doesn’t go crazy with the dialogue with this issue, taking the back seat to the talents that are David Aja and Raul Allen. With Allen helping out with background, Aja is given more time to focus on cramming a year’s worth of art on 20 pages, each with an insane amount of panels with page. Combine that with Hollingsworth limiting his patent for dramatic effect (which works mind you), we get some fantastic art from creators on top of their game.

This team of artists have nothing to prove that this point, given how excellent this series has been.  They just need to end this story, which if word on the street is true, will be done by end of the month. Which means the chance of my being over emotionally in a comics shop this month is good. Hawkeye may have taken it’s sweet time wrapping up, but as it comes closer to the finishing line, it’s hard to sing it praises over the constant delays.

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Girls and their dogs

ms-marvel-8-cover1Ms. Marvel #8

G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona/Ian Herring

Marvel $2.99

Look at that cover. It is a cover that is made of 100% pure joy, as well as paper and probably some chemicals.

Ms. Marvel has been a delight since day 1, but issue 8 may just be my favorite issue to date. As you can tell from the cover, Lockjaw of the Inhumans shows up, possibly in the most amazing and adorable fashion. Which I think is ultimately why I liked this issue so much, because it is the cutest thing to ever cute a cute. G Willow Wilson has done a lot to make Kamala not a stereotypical teenage girl character, so seeing the new Ms Marvel actually go head over feet for her new pet is more of a delight than it is insulting. Her Ms Marvel is a character that’s very 3 dimensional, so seeing her a different side of her every so often is fun.

Issue 8 also sees the return of artist Adrian Alphona, who absolutely owns his return. The book’s art certainly didn’t suffer during his break, especially with master colorist Ian Herring on colors but Alphona’s style is unique, so having him back just feels right. And we as readers are rewarded to some great art that’s beautifully weird, and packed full of small details and hidden jokes. It’s also great to see how Adrian illustrates the use of Ms Marvel’s powers, leading to some cool and hilarious visuals.

Ms Marvel continues to be one of the best books on the stands today, and it’s mostly due to the level of talent and dedication the creative team brings to this book. From cover to cover, the book is a refreshing alternative to most super hero books and is a ton of fun.

hawkeye-020-001Hawkeye #20

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu. Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

:( :( :(

With the release of issue 20, we only have 2 issues of Hawkeye left. I am the saddest of Chris’ over this fact. The 3 sad faces above prove that.

Issue 20 is artist Annie Wu‘s final issue on the series, and ultimately wraps up Kate Bishop’s California adventure. A lot of questions are resolved and a few reveals are had, making for a satisfying, but not necessarily the happiest of endings.

While the book is a bit of a downer at times, the creators do a fantastic job on this comic. Annie Wu’s art is super expressive, and the range of emotions she can put into her characters and environments is impressive. Poor Kate Bishop takes a beating in this issue, and Wu does a bang up job of showing it, with some nasty bruises, bandages and messed up hair. But her Hawkeye is a warrior, and the final 2 pages show how much of a bad ass Katie-Kate can be when push comes to shove. Matt Hollingsworth’s colors really do Annie Wu pencils justice, mixing a lot of bright colors you’d associate with California with the traditional Hawkeye purple. It’s the same flat coloring style you see when David Aja is drawing the book, but it’s different enough to compliment Annie Wu’s style in all the right ways.

Matt Fraction‘s script of course brings the entire package together. His dialogue is sharp,  the reveals he drops land and nothing feels out of place. It’s impressive to see how much he got out of Kate’s “new” supporting cast in such a brief period of time spent with them, but they all feel so fleshed out. And his Kate also remains a fun character that you can help but cheer for, especially when some of the shit hits the fans. He’s done wonders for the character, and I consider him the definitive voice of Kate, despite having nothing to do with her creation.

With this and Superior Foes of Spider-Man wrapping up soon, I’m really bummed to see 2 of my favorite books come to an end. However much like SUP FOES, Hawkeye’s ending seems like it’s coming to a natural ending point, and I’m sure the creators will stick the landing. The Kate Bishop California adventure does suffer a bit due to countless delays, but ultimately it does it’s job of ending one story and setting up the final story. I don’t want this book to end y’all, but I’m eager to see what Fraction, Hollingsworth and David Aja do with the final 2 issues after this issue.

 

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys but with Comics: Big week was big part1

Oh snap, it’s a two part review article for this week! I pulled a whopping 5 books , as well as a few trades, so expect ALL COMICS ALL THE TIME articles for the next 2 weeks. Yeah I know, that’s kind of business as usual for me, but I’m choosing to do that over word- vomiting over the release of TWO new Cyclops action figures, so pretend it’s special this time around.

I’ve divided the books up as the following: Comics that cost $5 and comics that don’t cost $5. We’ll be looking at the $5 books first (which unsurprisingly are both Marvel books), because…well because I said so dammit.

detail Hawkeye vs Deadpool #0

Gerry Duggan/Matteo Lolli/Cristiane Peter

Marvel $4.99

I’ll be honest, this  book was a tough sell for me when it was initially announced. I haven’t bought a straight-up Deadpool book in years, and I tend to be very weary of books starring Hawkeye not written by Matt Fraction or Ales Kot. The $5 price tag certainly did help things either, and I figured that is it was good, trade waiting it would be a valid option.

HOWEVER, after flipping through the first issue of said at the shop, I ended up liking what I saw and decided to take a chance on it. And you know what, I’m glad it did, but this book hit me in all the right ways. Gerry Duggan has proven he can tell a good Deadpool story plenty of times in the proper Deadpool series, and while Matteo Lolli is no David Aja, his art definitely works for this story.

 

4063285-hawkvsdp2014000_int2-page-002The plot summary is as following: it’s Halloween night, and Deadpool and some folk familiar to both books are out trick or treating in a certain Avenger’s building. One of Hawkguy’s tenants has got himself in some trouble, so now Wade and Clint have some super heroing to do. The only problem is that don’t necessary want to work together as bro,s bros.

That by the way, brings me to my sole issue with this comic. We’ve seen Deadpool and Hawkeye work together in the past, last year in A+X, and currently in Secret Avengers. I may be playing the role of TURBO NERD here, but there’s material currently being published ( Thunderbolts, Hawkeye, the just mentioned Secret Avengers) thatclashes with this book. Maybe it with all make sense once those stories are all told, but only time will tell.

Continuity-nerd-issues aside, the book itself is fun. Both Lolli and Duggan obviously have some experience with Deadpool with past works, so it’s no surprise that the Deadpool stuff is handled really well. A little head’s up though, this book is DEEP into the current events of the main Deadpool series, so you may be a little confused about a thing or two if you’re not caught up on it.

That being said,  the big surprise is how well the Hawkeye side of things are managed is handled. There are a lot of clever nods to Fraction/Aja’s run, including 2 double spreads that parody the 2 most celebrated issues of Hawkeye.

Obviously any encounter between Hawkeye and Deadpool should be humorous, and the jokes do not disappoint. Duggan knows how to handle mixing humor and action well, and the laughs land more than miss. Visually,  Lolli and color artist Cristiane Peter are great, giving the book a clean, bright look that reminds me a lot of the late and great Mike Wieringo’s work.

 

Ultimately, this book isn’t going to win any awards or redefine the medium, but it’s a fun read for fans of the characters. If you’ve been enjoying Hawkeye and/or Deadpool, you’re sure to enjoy this double sized debut. If you want this to be your entry book to both characters though, you may want to look elsewhere.

 

123px-Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_3_25_TextlessUncanny X-men #25

Brian Michael Bendis/Chris Bachalo/ Several Inkers

Marvel $4.99

I’ll be honest, this book can be summed up as a double sized issue where the X-men stand around and react to a retcon. That may not be your cup of tea, especially when you factor in that it’s $5 and there’s still a chapter in this arc to go.

That being said, if you don’t mind that sort of thing, it’s a compelling as hell issue. Chris Bachalo returns to draw the hell out of this issue, despite him not knowing how Kitty’s Pryde modern costume works at times, or Cyclops mask reappearing at random.

Uncanny_X-Men_25_Preview_2Those minor issues aside, the book looks great. The army of inkers complement Bachalo’s pencils and colors well, giving the book a crisp, bold, cohesive look. Cohesive and GREAT mind you, as Bachalo delivers some really powerfully scene, both emotionally and action wise. Also the way he colors Iceman is great, as it looks like actual ice.

 

Brian Michael Bendis isn’t a slouch either mind you, but your opinion on the script may be different from mine. I’m a fan of the retcons he’s introducing, but it’s bringing Xavier into some scorched earth territory. If you’re an Charles Xavier fan, you may have a bone or two to pick with these reveals, but I’m strictly on Team Cyclops Was Right, and am digging Bendis doing some new stuff here.

Again, at $5, this issue of Uncanny X-men comes down to a matter of taste. If you’ve been a fan Uncanny’s direction since the Bendis relaunch, you’ll probably like issue 25. If you’re only thinking of jumping aboard because Original Sin is on the cover, you can skip it.

 

 

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Review: Hawkeye #19

HAWKEYE2012017_COVHawkeye #19

Matt Fraction/David Aja Hollingsworth

Marvel $3.99

WARNING: This review will continue spoilers for previous issues of Hawkeye, as well as this one. Read at your own risk.

So yeah, remember back in 2013 when Hawkeye #11 dropped and everyone one was like “WHELP, here’s an Eisner winner in 2014”? And then that happened? Replace #11 with #19 and the year 2015, because it’s going to happen again.

10527365_10100404509314752_8992801137704805022_n-300x160The last time we saw Clint Barton and his brother Barney(back in like…March? Possibly April, it’s been awhile), they were shot up pretty bad by an assassin. This issue is the fallout of said shooting, and we find that Barney can’t walk and Clint’s deaf. The deaf thing (apologies if that’s offensive by the way, I not exactly sure what the correct terminology is to be honest)  by the way is a nice reference to the character’s history, something older fans would know and newer fans are brought up to speed with via flashback early in the issue. This leads to most of the interactions between Clint and Barney being done through sign language, something not seen in a lot of comics, but makes for some rather interesting results given how comics is kinda a visual heavy medium.  Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth being the creative tour de force they are, consulted with specialist Rachel Coleman and Dr. Larry Thomas to ensure that the signing was correct, which leads to David Aja drawing a lot of signing charts. This sort of dedication to detail is why Aja and Fraction win Eisners people.

It’s also not the first time we’ve seen the team experiment with language in comics. There’s the Tracksuit’s “Bro”-usage, and the award winning Pizza Dog issue, in which the story is told via a Dog’s POV. It’s interesting that Hawkeye of all books is the comic experimenting with language in comics.

 

Hawkeye #19 Page 2Aja’s art is stunning. The way the characters “act” and their body language comes across so genuine and real. The guilt and pain Clint carries in the early part of this issue is clearly expressed on his face, as is the anger Barney shows towards his brother stubbornness. Aja even goes as far as to letter some of his own art, and is so skilled at it I couldn’t tell what he contributed and what series regular letterer Chris Eliopoulos did. It’s damn good, and the end result made the delays for this book well worth the dollar increase in price.

As for the story, it’s the typical act 3 of any Western/Action movie you’ve seen. The hero (Clint) is at a lost, buried in guilt and defeat, despite having plenty of people to turn to for help. Hawkguy’s stubbornness has been a theme for most of this book, and it plays off of the plot of issue 17’s Christmas special. And much like that issue, Clint gets some sense knocked into him (literally) and he gets his stuff together, rallies the troops and goes on the offensive. It may be a bit cliche, but Fraction and Aja handle it so well, you can’t help but find yourself pumped up by the end of the issue.

imagesAnd that’s what ultimately makes Hawkeye as good as it is. The Matts and David make you emotionally invested in these characters, so that when they actually get a win, there’s a genuinely sense of happiness the reader gets from the book. It’s an incredible feeling, and speaks a lot about the talent the creative team posses .

Hawkeye seems to be coming to in a end in a few issues, and I’ll be sad to see it go. Aside from it being my favorite comic from one of my favorite creative teams working in comics today, it’s book I can always rely on to being nothing short of amazing. I’ll be sad to see it go, but excite to see how everything wraps up over the upcoming months.

 

 

 

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Troy’s Toys, But With Comics SPRINGGGGGG!

Oh sure, it’s super grey outside at the moment, but spring is finally here! It’s in the 40s, the cat is growling at birds it can’t get at and I get to be mad at the Yankees in real time in 2 days. I’ll gladly take subpar baseball over snow any day.

Before we get into comics, let me state that the first Rat Queens collection dropped this past week, and it is excellent. I usually try to stay on top of new Image debuts, but this one missed my radar somehow. So I dropped the $10 and bought the first trade and am more than pleased with it. I’ll try to do a proper review during the week, but this book is buy on site great.

OTHER BOOKS WHAT SHIPPED THAT YOU MAY LIKE:

Empowered Special #6

Furious #3

Might MGMT #20

Tomb Raider #2

Adventures of Superman #11

Aquaman #29

Sandman Overture #2

Wake #7

Legends of Red Sonja #5

Rocky and Bullwinkle #1

Deadly Class #3

Fatale #21

Sex #12

Walking Dead #124

All New Ghost Rider #12

Amazing X-men #5

Deadpool #26

Superior Spider-Man #30

Bravest Warriors #18

Hacktivist #3

 

REVIEWS

portrait_incredibleAll New X-men 24/Guardian of the Galaxy 13

Brian Michael Bendis/Stuart Immonen/Sara Pichelli/David Marquez

Marvel $3.99

Note- All New X-men 24 shipped 2 weeks ago.

Despite my problems with the earlier chapters of this crossover, the final 2 chapters of “The Trial of Jean Grey” were very much what I wanted from this event. Heavy on the action, some genuinely excellent interactions between the 2 casts and amazing visuals by Immonen, Pichelli and Marquez make this the type of crossover I wanted to read.

That being said, this mini-event still has some problems. The announcement of the new young Cyclops on-going series really spoils the impact of the last 3 pages, which is a shame. Also despite this being a crossover, it really felt more like an X-event guest starring the Guardians. Maybe something from this event will affect this title more down the road, but chances are I won’t be reading GoTG to see it play out. And truth be told, this could have done in 4 issues, opposed to 6.

The Trial of Jean Grey wasn’t the worst thing I read in recent history, but All New X-men really tired from back to back crossovers. There’s been more than enough new ideas and concepts introduced in this book that need to be fleshed out more. Hopefully with the next few issues can get the book back to being as good as it was when it first debuted, otherwise I’m dropping it.

avengers_assemble__25_by_zurdom-d71ie6xAvengers Assemble 25

Kelly Sue Deconnick/Warren Ellis/Matteo Buffagni/Neil Edwards/ Raffaele Ienco

Marvel $3.99

Nothing detracts from one’s enjoyment of a comics more than bad art, which brings us to the final issue of Kelly Sue Deconnick’s Avengers Assemble run. It’s a shame, because the script and dialogue written by KSD and Warren Ellis is fun, clever, and puts a nice little bow on this run. Sadly, it’s ruined by 3 different artists, who are very different stylistically. The usually relibale Matteo Buffagni’s pencils look rush and overly-simplistic, as does Neil Edwards, who’s Bryan Hitch-esque art couldn’t be any more different than Matteo’s. Raffaele Ienco‘s art is easily the best, but he only draws the final 2 pages. A shame, as DeConnick and Ellis deserved better for their final issue.

 

1000093043Hawkeye 18

Matt Fraction/Annie Wu/Matt Hollingsworth

Marvel, $2.99

Well that escalated quickly!

Kate Bishop’s California adventure has taken a turn for the worse in issue 18, as we finally learn more about the mysterious cat food man.  It’s a brutal issue, as Annie Wu really steps up her visual game. Her art on this book has been nothing short of great, but Wu really out does herself in this issue, especially in the facial expression area.

Aside from looking great, Hawkguy 18 touches upon some seed planted earlier in the book, as the story arc becomes full circle. Once again, Kate finds herself in scenario that’s entirely on her, which was the type of thing she left NYC to avoid. Seeing her Clint Barton-free life parallel Clint’s  has been really funny so far, but that red in their collected ledgers (GET IT, IT’S AN AVENGERS REFERENCES!) is beginning to cost people their lives. It’s fun to see Matt Fraction bring everything full circle, in what will probably result in one hell of a showdown in a few issues.

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