bethbethbeth: (Avengers Hawkeye Arrow (lunaris))
[personal profile] bethbethbeth posting in [community profile] comics_reviews_etc
I'll admit it: before this recent crop of Marvel superhero movies started to get released into the world, I had no idea who Hawkeye was.

Or the Black Widow.

Or even Captain America (although with him, I'd at least heard the name)

In fact, before this year, apart from two fairly recent encounters with modern-ish titles (Sandman and Fables), my only knowledge of comics ended decades ago with a few Archie comics bought with my hard-earned allowance and a stack of DC discards, given to me by an older cousin (Krypto the Super Dog was my favorite!)

But when The Avengers came out, I fell hard for Hawkeye. This was tangentially related to my fannish feelings for Jeremy Renner, but it definitely developed independently and intensified as I started to work my way through as many old Marvel titles featuring Hawkeye as I could find.

And then came Matt Fraction's Hawkeye.

Even before the first issue was published, some panels were released into the world and David Aja's art looked different enough from comics-as-I-believed-them-to-be that I knew I'd want to give this title a try. Once I did, I couldn't have been more excited by what I'd found.

As the first issue tells us, this is about what Clint Barton does when he's not being an Avenger - and believe me, that's enough to maintain the reader's interest. Clint is...a regular guy. He has an improbable backstory (as we see with most superheroes) and an amazing talent for marksmanship, particularly with a bow and arrow, but he's still just a guy. He can't fly, he can't turn invisible, he has no magic powers.

He's human.

Sometimes insecure and defensive, sometimes self-assured and arrogant - and [almost] always, a really decent person and a loyal friend.

Now, the fact that Fraction positions Clint firmly in his off-hours life (living in a slightly ratty apartment building in Brooklyn, wearing purple Chucks, taking in a dog - Lucky! - who rivals Clint himself when it comes to getting beat up and surviving), that doesn't mean there's no action. I'd say the breakdown in the comic is...40% domesticity (for certain values of domesticity) and 60% action.

And he's not alone, most of the time - despite the comic not focusing on his time as an Avenger. He spends a lot of time with the other Hawkeye, i.e, rich girl Kate Bishop, who'd assumed the Hawkeye mantel when Clint was...well, that's another series (i.e., Young Avengers Presents) and somebody else will have to explain why Clint wasn't around to object to some strange teenager taking his name. *g* Clint's interactions with Kate are great, as are his [briefer] encounters with Tony Stark and Wolverine and Spiderman and the other Marvel characters who've made cameo appearances so far in the first six issues.

The art (David Aja and Javier Pulido trading off story arcs) is fantastic in a wonderfully minimalist way, and Matt Fraction's storylines are...okay, I'm getting a little sick of my own over-use of superlatives, but yeah, they're great, even when nothing in particular is happening. The comic's funny and clever and touching and all that good stuff - and all I hope is that it has a long, long run.

In conclusion:

If you haven't read this title yet and want to give it a try, March will see the first of the trade paperbacks: Hawkeye, vol 1: My Life As A Weapon, which collects Hawkeye 1-5, and Young Avengers Presents 6 (the issue which shows the first interactions between Kate Bishop and Clint).

Or you can start with issue 7, since the whole issue is going to focus on the devastation created by Hurricane Sandy (Matt Fraction's donating all his royalties to relief efforts for those affected by the hurricane)

ETA Mind the comments for possible non-Hawkeye spoilers.

Date: 2012-12-30 08:20 pm (UTC)
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothy1901
somebody else will have to explain why Clint wasn't around to object to some strange teenager taking his name

Clint was dead at the time.

He got better.

Date: 2012-12-30 08:41 pm (UTC)
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothy1901
I figured you knew, but I couldn't resist a straight line like that. Sorry.

Date: 2012-12-30 09:02 pm (UTC)
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
From: [personal profile] skjam
The percentage of comic book characters that haven't been dead for a little bit improves once you get away from the superhero genre. (One of the very few superheroish things about Will Eisner's Spirit is that he started his career by being temporarily dead!)

Date: 2012-12-30 09:34 pm (UTC)
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
From: [personal profile] skjam
Almost all of the Eisner material has been reprinted over the years; your library stystem can probably find several volumes for you. You don't really need to start from the beginning, but you should know in advance that the Spirit's sidekick Ebony was heavily and offensively stereotyped in the early stuff. (Eisner improved him a lot as a result of meeting actual black people in the Army during WWII--he repeatedly apologized over the years for the early Ebony.)

Date: 2012-12-30 09:09 pm (UTC)
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothy1901
There's a funny bit in Sea Stars by [ profile] Muccamukk where the recently-resurrected Hawkeye is talking to the even-more-recently-resurrected Captain America, and says, "I was planning to ask you to join our new team. We're calling it... gah, [Mockingbird]! Watch the ribs! Okay, I'm calling it the the Undead Avengers. Then Jan beat you back, and, since we capped the membership at six, you're out of luck. Sorry."

So yeah, if you just limit it to Avengers, the answer is very close to 'all of them.'

Sea Stars

Date: 2012-12-31 01:04 am (UTC)
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothy1901
Sea Stars is a wonderful story, IMO. However, it was written in 2009, and uses Marvel 616 canon circa 2009 as its starting point. If you have questions as to what the canon was, drop me a line.

Date: 2012-12-31 12:41 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
I'm sure the X-Men could give the Avengers a run for their money on this point!

Undead X-Men vs Undead Avengers!

Date: 2012-12-31 01:00 am (UTC)
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothy1901
I think that X-Men beats the Avengers in the number of characters that were never born because of time travel.

Date: 2012-12-31 01:03 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
That's accurate, yet oddly specific. (I'm pretty sure Rachel's the only one who qualifies).

F4 would be even with X-Men though I think :p

Date: 2012-12-31 01:06 am (UTC)
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothy1901
Doesn't Rachel have a sort-of brother who was or wasn't ever born?

Date: 2012-12-31 01:13 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
N-no? There's Nathan Summers who was born in 616 before being sent to be raised in the future - and I don't think he existed in Rachel's world. And there's Nate Grey who's from Age of Appocalypse but while time travel was involved in the creation of AoA I don't think that would be a fair description for him (and he really is a sort of AoA equivalent to Cable - except with a different mother).

Unless there's someone else which I forgot/yet to read about from the Days of Future Past or some of the related story. Which of course is possible.

Date: 2012-12-31 01:12 am (UTC)
dorothy1901: Gilda: Put the blame on Mame (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorothy1901
Also, it's not just the heroes who have birth issues. Kang the Conqueror might be Doctor Doom's descendant, or Doctor Doom's future self, and Doctor Doom might be Reed Richards' half-brother.

Date: 2012-12-31 01:14 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
... or a Richards descendent, no?

Which bring me back to the F4 being able to rival with the X-Men on this oddly specific point :p

Date: 2012-12-30 08:21 pm (UTC)
umbo: (hawkeye)
From: [personal profile] umbo
This series really is a gateway drug, isn't it? I get excited when each new issue is in, and I'm looking forward to the paperback (which I have pre-ordered) so I can finally read issue #1!

And you're so right about Aja's art, which is fantastic and also perfect for Fraction's stories.

Date: 2012-12-30 08:29 pm (UTC)
umbo: B-24 bomber over Pacific (Default)
From: [personal profile] umbo
It's out of print, both the first and second printing. I've got it on order at my local store if they ever do a third printing.

Date: 2012-12-30 08:35 pm (UTC)
umbo: B-24 bomber over Pacific (Default)
From: [personal profile] umbo
That would be awesome. My comic book store has 8 people on the waiting list if they ever print it again, and it's available on Amazon for $28!

Date: 2013-01-02 08:14 pm (UTC)
merisunshine36: white rose floating candle (Default)
From: [personal profile] merisunshine36
Threadjacking to say that I have version, should you be interested in the interim. It's only about 14MB so I can PM you a dropbox link.

(disclaimer: I have also bought all the flimsies and the have pre-ordered the trade paperback; Marvel has all my money at this point).

Date: 2013-01-02 09:18 pm (UTC)
umbo: B-24 bomber over Pacific (Default)
From: [personal profile] umbo
That would be very much appreciated--and it's not like I'm not trying to pay for it!

Date: 2013-01-07 08:36 pm (UTC)
umbo: Aja Hawkeye in profile loosing an arrow (hawkguy loosing arrow)
From: [personal profile] umbo
I have emailed! Thanks again--and did you see my post about icons? Let me know if you're interested in seeing them.

Date: 2012-12-31 12:27 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
I'm really enjoying it, too! The art is terrific and while I'm not usually much of a Matt Fraction fan, this is exactly the kind of storytelling that suits him: no world-smashing consequences, "street-level" superpowers or none, space for lots of cameos but a small regular cast.

Date: 2012-12-31 12:46 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
Fraction is mostly dissed for Fear, Itself (the 2011 summer event, involving large hammers, forgotten Norse gods and Nazis), The Mighty Thor. Then there are his run on Iron Man and on X-Men which tend to be disliked by the fans of those franchise but liked by people who didn't know either before it (I think that's especially true of Iron Man - I'm not really sure how the X-Men thing really falls on)

Date: 2012-12-31 12:57 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
Well, i'm neither a fan of the Iron Man nor a reader of Fraction's Iron Man... I've just noticed that when people talk about it it tends to be in very extreme 'best series ever!' or 'worst series ever!' terms; and I think people to some extent think that Tony was OOC as written by Fraction. You'll have to ask them why. I've noticed also some criticism of his writing of female characters, especially Pepper as Rescue as a character who was strong on her own without needing to be a superhero, and by having her be handed the armor by Tony being somewhat not good from an agency pov? Also I think people disliked the way her relationship with another of the main female secondary cast worked (Bethany?) though other people seemed to like it too (from the way they talked about it, it did sound like the sort of thing I'd love to femslash).

Yeah anyway, this is all hearsay, you'd be much better served asking someone who knows first hand. I could tell you why I think his Thor was crap though!! Or Fear, Itself. Which should have been called Boring, Itself. *ahem* I don't even think that badly of his UXM - at least of the little I've read - except for that hilariously bad scene when Magneto first came to Utopia (oh, and poor Xavier).

Date: 2012-12-31 03:34 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Black Widow with sights on her (black widow)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
My first Marvel exposure to Fraction was actually really positive - I loved his Iron Fist title. Then he started getting involved in the big crossovers and unfortunately he cannot handle big crossovers. His plotting doesn't hold up, characters suddenly go hugely OOC to make up for it, and as soon as a female character is romantically involved with anyone she gets a personality transplant. His run on Iron Man also had these problems with the additional tendency to have rather...esoteric interpretations of previous canon material meaning that sometimes canon would be super important and sometimes he'd completely ignore huge parts of it and it was very inconsistent. His parts in the Everything Burns crossover were noticeably not up to the quality or coherency of Kieron Gillen's parts. This is why I think smaller titles suit him very well.

Date: 2012-12-31 05:37 am (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea
I have yet to read anything substandard by Kelly Sue DeConnick, yeah.

Date: 2012-12-31 02:52 am (UTC)
deleonjh: (Default)
From: [personal profile] deleonjh
I like how each issue is mostly self-contained. And the covers aren't the typical superhero kind, in fact they look more like advertising posters. It's nice how Fraction's not writing for the trade and you get an actual story in each issue (barring the single two-parter he did).


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