Comics Anonymous

HAWKEYE #1 by G-Man

Fresh from the success of the Avengers movie (as reviewed here) it was almost a dead cert that Marvel would give Hawkeye his own title giving him the chance to step out of the shadow of other team members.

Sure enough, the reigns were handed to writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja who have previously worked together on Immortal Iron Fist and with more than their fair share of successes since, they were a good bet for pulling this off.

The 1st issue is a breakaway from the massive events you’d expect to see in the Avengers with an ease away from galactic invasions and super-villain attacks for a more subtle and human approach to the character.  An opening scene which you’d expect to see in the Avengers movie sees Hawkeye smash out a window in true superhero form – only to plummet to earth and land with a serious, bone-crushing bump – a bump that leads him straight to hospital and a list of injuries to recover from.  Fraction may have had his doubters in recent years but he definitely hasn’t shown that in the recent titles that I’ve read and I include this issue in that.  A strong script which suits Aja’s art down to the ground and they obviously seem to have worked on the whole feel of the issue, giving it that gritty street-level feel and keeping it as far away from the spandex-clad world that we know Hawkeye from as possible.  An idea enforced by the colourist, Matt Hollingsworth, who helps give the art a solid tone which separates it further from the flashy, bold pallet in your typical superhero comic.

In fact, the cover and the first few pages are the only real place we see a costumed central character as the rest gives way to a real-life story.  Coming with an almost “Barton-from-the-block” feel to it, we see him take on the local goons to try and protect the group of people that stay in the same apartment block as he does.  With all the other residents on first name terms with Clint you get a real sense of belonging for a hero without superpowers and this gives him much more appeal and almost appears as a vigilante more than the superhero we know.  The issue rolls along as he takes on the goons and tries to pay them off to keep the apartment block safe from any further trouble with a switch between his efforts to save the life of a local dog intermingling with him taking the fight to the Russian goons.

The only frustrating thing with this issue for me was the dialogue coming from the goons…..with the constant use of the word “bro” creeping into the broken Russian/American talk making me struggle slightly to keep my anger in check as I read.  The next few issues should be key to whether Fraction and Aja can build on this issue and keep Clint front centre with Hawkeye as almost a backup story – an interesting tact to take given the movie success that has surely given rise to him getting his own title.  Although that does mean that both new readers and Avengers regulars will be able to take this issue on-board and enjoy a fresh new angle for the character.

Hawkeye #1 won’t blow your mind but then it won’t let you down either and if anything I think that’s part of the attraction for me and part of the reason I’ll stick with this in my regularly monthly pull-list – a gritty, back-to-the-streets approach for what has become one of the most recognizable characters within the running time of a summer blockbuster.



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