Evil Geek Book Report – Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon
If you ever told me I’d be reading a Hawkeye ongoing comic I would have laughed at you. Hell, I’ve never even read a true Avengers comic, not to mention Hawkeye was the character I liked the least in the Avengers movie and the first volume of the Ultimates. So what gives?
In our new comic book series podcast C-Mart’s description of the book sold me on it. Mainly, it’s a series about Hawkeye’s alter ego, Clint Barton and his life in NYC when he’s not out saving the world with the Avengers. Even as Clint Barton he’s no stranger to trouble. The series is a throwback, even though it takes place now, it feels like the 1960’s. It focuses mostly on street level characters and less traditional super heroes which is very appealing to me since that seems to be more towards what I lean on these days.
The collection’s 5 issues include 3 single stories and one two part arc. All of these are great but the two parter in particular stands out to me. S.H.I.E.L.D. loses possession of a VHS tape that shows Hawkeye killing a foreign dictator that the government told the general public was handled by the Navy SEALS. If it gets into the wrong hands it will ruin both his reputation as well as the Avengers. This brings Clint to Madripoor, a place where you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. An auction is taking place with many of the villains of the Marvel Universe inside a casino’s closed doors. This whole scene/arc had a very James Bond vibe to it or perhaps North By Northwest (sidebar: that’s three North By Northwest references since the site began, it’s about time I do an article on it). It’s a low key, undercover, engrossing and fun read.
Throughout most of these stories Clint is augmented by Kate Bishop of the Young Avengers who had taken the mantle of Hawkeye during a period when Clint was believed to be dead. She is the perfect foil for him, young, smart and practical. Often helping him get out of a situation beyond his control. Together they make a great duo.
The writing and the art are both superb. David Aja has a very simplistic and uncluttered approach that has a very silver age feel to it. Most of the issues have a purplish hue that permeates the panels, reinforcing the color of Hawkeye’s Avengers costume. This is a really nice and interesting touch. His art compliments Matt Fraction’s writing with his simple but tightly structured narrative style. This is a pretty flawless book. In fact, the only misstep is that the trade reprints Young Avengers Presents #6 which chronicles Kate and Clint meeting for the first time. It’s good for historical value, I guess but the issue is hard to get through especially since its writing was aimed for a much younger audience, but I understand why they decided to include it.
This book has been consistently praised since its debut. Now that I’m finally on board, I have to ask, what are you waiting for?
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