I should start by saying “why the hell are you not reading this comic already?!” but I think Matt Fraction says it best on the recap page; “Clint Barton, a.k.a Hawkeye, became the greatest sharp-shooter known to man. He then joined The Avengers. This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger. Why are you still reading this? It’s repetitive”. After reading that, you would be perfectly within your rights to close the book right now, write it off as another Avenger’s cash in and go back to reading some other “capes and cowls” book that came out this week. However, if you look past the initial self glorifying back-patting, you’re greeted by the glorious artwork of one David Aja.
My first glimpse of the man’s work was a fantastic issue of Secret Avengers with Warren Ellis, which was an easy contender for best single issue of the year. He still doesn’t fail to impress here as the artwork is simplistic in its magnificence, aiding in telling the story in fast paced panels pulling everything together in an old school fashion that is familiar to any Sean Phillips fans out there, and a panel structure reminiscent of Frank Miller that crams so much on a page without detracting from the story.
Matt Fraction is on top form as well, writing a done-in-one story about Clint having “exactly nine terrible ideas”. These range from the comedic labelling of his trick arrows, to the unlikely (to this reviewer at least) hooking up with a lovely redhead just trying to sell a car, that may or may not be hers. Fraction really seems to understand how to write solo books, he’s been praised numerous times for his work on Iron-Man and Immortal Ironfist, and I believe Hawkeye is a welcome addition to that list. There is a fantastic amount of characterisation crammed into a single issue that make the only ‘normal’ Avenger seem relatable as a guy just trying to enjoy a day off saving the world.
I feel a quick mention of Kate Bishop is necessary, I’ve never been a massive fan, but she really shines in this issue as the straight man to Barton’s unlucky streak. A backup story could be a welcome feature in the future!
If I was to criticise at all it would be the over use of the colour purple, but even that would be, in part, a lie as who wouldn’t want an old school purple beetle?!
Really people, go buy this comic, it’s screaming to be read and enjoyed, and a welcome light-hearted addition to an otherwise ‘dark’ feel that writers seem to think we want these days.