Writer(s): Matt Fraction.
Penciller(s): David Aja, Javier Pulido, Francesco Francavilla, Steve Lieber & Jesse Hamm.
Colourist(s): Francesco Francavilla & Matt Hollingsworth.
Letterer(s): Chris Eliopoulos.
Format: Hardcover – Deluxe Edition.
Release Date: November 19th 2013.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Fitting in is a challenge that not everyone can or want to do. It’s even more complicated when everyone has a particular trait that explains their belonging to a group while you stick out like a sore thumb, trying to justify your presence among these people. How do you deal with that when you also have your own problems to tackle? That’s what the life of the very mortal Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, is like as his stubbornness, arrogance, and impulsiveness lead him headfirst into trouble that he never looked for in the first place. With five Eisner Award nominations and two wins, Matt Fraction (known for The Invincible Iron Man, The Immortal Iron Fist and Sex Criminals) delivers one of the most important and critically-acclaimed comic book stories to have ever been written over at Marvel.
What is Hawkeye (Vol. 1) about? Collecting Hawkeye #1-11 and Young Avengers Presents #6, this first deluxe edition out of three begins a story centered around newly-initiated Avengers member Clint Barton and the ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop who both go by the name of Hawkeye. As Clint Barton takes a break from being an Avenger and acclimates himself to the fact that he does not have any superpowers, Kate Bishop learns to embrace her new superhero mantle as she helps her mentor in getting out of all the trouble he somehow gets himself into, from mob bosses, superstorms to mystery redheads and their incredibly sketchy issues. Let’s not forget to mention that this volume also offers fans a look at the crime-solving Pizza Dog, Lucky, as he also makes an appearance and will inevitably snatch a big ‘awn’ of sympathy out of you.
In this stunning series, Matt Fraction brilliantly explores Clint Barton’s conflicted-self as he deals with his powerless contribution to the Avengers’ daily heroic feats. Although his skillset with the bow and arrow are unmatched, he remains mortal and much more prone to suffering heavy injuries and acquainting himself with Death than his compatriots such as Spider-Man, Wolverine or Captain America. Through this volume, Matt Fraction also does an incredible job in presenting the hero outside of the Avengers as he deals with everyday issues while running into problems that are sometimes way bigger than himself. To deal with these obstacles, he often ends up relying on his protege Katie-Kate as she takes on the mantle of Hawkeye and learns to become her own thing in the superhero business. Their synchronicity in thought and action is, however, impressive and remains their forte whether they like how they each deal with problems or not.
The artwork is minimalistic and easy to fall in love with after the first issue, with recurring colours by Matt Hollingsworth that blend perfectly together. Matt Fraction and David Aja also make for an incredible team as they prove to be beyond creative in style and execution. From the writing to the panel positions, they both flex their visionary muscles and show the world that the medium offers plenty of innovative techniques that can be used to convey the emotions, the interactions, and the action sequences. Around the halfway mark, the volume does begin to show signs of its episodic nature and sometimes gets lost in repetition and its structure. This is also coupled with some changes in the artists that slightly deviates from the original artwork style and begins to explore a slightly different tone where the grounded humour isn’t as compelling as it was in the beginning. At least the issue featuring the perspective of Lucky, the pizza-eating dog, is magnificent as Matt Fraction and David Aja play with partial dialogues and symbols to show a dog’s journey to solve a crime in his neighbourhood.
Hawkeye (Vol. 1) is an outstanding introduction to Clint Barton’s and Kate Bishops’s characters as they embrace their inner Hawkeye whilst dealing with their own personal woes.
A Hawkeye TV series with Jeremy Renner for Disney+ is in the works and will be featuring Clint Barton passing the mantle to his protege Kate Bishop!
Will you be checking it out?