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.
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