Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hawkeye #1

Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Company: Marvel Comics

I think it's safe to say that Hawkeye saw a dramatic influx in fans after the Avengers movie. He was cool. No doubt about it. Hell, I want one of those choose your own arrowhead quiver and bow combos, as it's just plain neat and would no doubt look great on my wall, right next to Gandalf's sword and Captain America's shield. So yes, a Hawkeye ongoing seemed like a logical thing to have happen. But who do you have write him? Who can capture that essence and perform some magic to have it bleed through on the page? Who has the chops to draw exciting archery? The team given this task is Matt Fraction and David Aja. They've teamed up together before working on Immortal Iron Fist, and separately, they've wracked up
healthy resumes. Fraction's run on Invincible Iron Man continues to impress people. To counter that, Aja, well, his work on Daredevil and the work that he's done for various comics over the years have been second to none. They're talented and this is an opportunity to press the elevation of this character to new heights.

Do they succeed?

They do. With a single issue story!

This is a strange first issue though. I will say that and mean every syllable. It certainly doesn't have the usual feel of a superhero comic, which may seem strange, yet somehow it works. It actually goes out of its way to drive that Indie movie vibe, which is a little strange, instead of going full tilt against one of Clint's rogues gallery. Fraction still finds a way to imbue it with action, which is needed, but he focuses more on Clint Barton The Man rather than Clint Barton the Avenger. And that's where things really start clicking. Focusing on the man, letting the reader get to know what drives him and what makes him stand out among the crowd of other superheroes, the ones who can lift cars and shoot laser beams out of their hands, is great. Seeing where he lives and the people that he surrounds himself with adds to his charm. This first issue is very much an encyclopedia of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye. He even has him making friends with a dog, which is corny, but still somehow works.

Now, there are a few things that I didn't care for. The cliched villain, is just that, a cliche. Also, the dialogue for that villain gets rather annoying with its constant repeating of a certain phrase that I won't even repeat, as I've heard it enough and can't bare even repeating it in written form. Another thing that is missing is that you don't see Hawkeye decked out in his costume, such as it is (Yeah, I'm one of those people who feel that the sunglasses aren't as cool as the full on Hawkeye costume). It's minor though and for what Fraction was going for, by building him up here, it really is a minor thing.

The absolute best thing about Hawkeye, however, is the art. This is not the David Aja that I'm used to seeing. It is however a hundred times better. It's reminiscent of two things: Cameron Stewart when he was working on Catwoman and Chris Samnee on pretty much everything that he does. Every line that Aja meticulously draws tells a story and draws you in. There's nothing boring here. Nor is there dull or uninteresting, there is only excitement and action scenes that thrill. It's immersive, and really, that's one of the best compliments that can be bestowed upon an artist. There's thought put into every panel, and you can see it in the way Clint Barton moves and how he fights and how he interacts with the layered and dense backgrounds and settings.

So yes, this is a done in one tale. There's a worry that there's not really a "mission statement" portrayed in this first issue. But that in an of itself makes things a bit more exciting. Not knowing, in any form of entertainment, usually means that the creators are doing something right. It'll be interesting.


  1. Looking forward to reading this one. I'm with you on the costume thing, Hawkeye has one of the better costumes in comics. The shades look doesn't come close.
    Hope you're right dramatic influx in fans, but it has not been my observation. Amongst my non-comic fan friends that watched the movie, almost of all of them seemed to take great pleasure in going on about how lame the guy with the bow was, followed by the inevitable Katniss joke. Sorta bugged me a little as he's one of my favs.

  2. Hmmm...I didn't get that reaction from the friends (both comic and non-comic) that I saw it with. They loved Hawkeye. Maybe I've just got strange friends.

    Or they really enjoy archery.

    I have to agree with you about Hawkeye's costume. I love the original and really wish they hadn't changed it. I wouldn't say that they've dumbed it down completely, but he loses a bit of energy without it.