Review of Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja, additional credits to illustrators Matt Hollingsworth and Annie Wu
Spoiler Free Review
I originally read Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye years ago, before I started this blog. I remember loving it and being super impressed with Fraction’s take on the character. Reading it this time I found myself less thrilled. I honestly didn’t remember much about the plot going into the reread so it wasn’t that I was bored or knew what was coming, it was more that I saw past the flash and was underwhelmed with the content.
This Marvel comic book gets huge points for creativity and originality in storytelling style. I appreciate the issues told from the perspective of a dog or the use of sign language as a visual means of communication. I also enjoy the humor and down to earth nature of this street level hero not currently being an Avenger.
However, the main plot is simple and the rest of the book involves countless detours. It’s meandering and doesn’t tie back together by the end. I particularly didn’t care for the issues around Kate Bishop screwing stuff up across the country in California. I typically really like her character, even in Cali such as when she forms the West Coast Avengers, but as a part of this story it was nothing more than a distraction.
I like the attempt of making Hawkeye an everyman. He is not like the other Avengers, he doesn’t have inherent superpowers and really is just a guy with a bow and arrows. It makes sense that he would be more on the street level with the likes of someone like Punisher. He is, of course, less violent with that so he has to be paired with an appropriate building. It makes sense that his primary battle in this book is against evil landlords jacking up the rent in his building.
This main story line works well. I just wish it wasn’t frequently interrupted by one off stories and meaningless cameos. Honestly, I’m still confused as to what’s going on between Hawkeye and Spiderwoman here. Did I miss something?
Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja has some really great highlights that make the comic book worth reading in the end. Just be prepared for a couple missteps along the way.
4/5 pizza dogs 🐕🐕🐕🐕
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Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye Summary
Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run of Hawkeye does have an plot line that runs through all issues but it takes some detours here and there so the summary is going to include some non-sequitors.
Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, lives in an apartment complex like a normal dude and not an Avenger. Russians (the bad guys of course) raise everyone’s rent because they can. Nobody can afford triple the rent so Barton scrapes together the funds to buy the entire building to save his neighbors from becoming homeless.
The Russians don’t like this and it kicks off the conflict between them and Hawkeye. One of the Russians throws a dog into traffic, classic bad guy behavior, and Barton brings him to the vet. The dog likes pizza so they have that in common. Barton brings him home and names him Lucky.
This Hawkeye also works with Kate Bishop, aka Hawkeye. Yes, that is a little confusing especially since they both call each other by that name. Together, they take down some thieves and this leads to Kingpin not being happy with them.
Barton meets a cute girl, the cute girl gets kidnapped by the Russians. He and Bishop manage to rescue her as the heroes they are.
In a more intense plot a tape of Barton committing a political assassination goes up for auction in a secret bad guy auction house. SHIELD gives him an unlimited spending limit to get it back but he’s up against the likes of Madame Masque. Bishop ties her up and wears her clothes in order to bid as her and not arouse suspicions.
The tape turns out to be a decoy designed to flush out a mole in SHIELD. This is good news for any readers worried that Hawkeye might commit murder, that is kind of off brand.
Back at the apartment complex Russians are threatening the residents again. Barton stays to defend the building and militarize the citizens who live there.
Now there are a lot of mini plots. We get some cameos from Mockingbird who is Barton’s ex wife and Spiderwoman who is a current paramour. There is a creative issue from the perspective of Lucky the pizza dog. A different dog issue that’s a Christmas special. And there are a handful of issues that follow Kate Bishop as she tries to start a different life in LA.
Honestly, I didn’t like the Kate Bishop issues. I didn’t like splitting up the Hawkeyes and it didn’t seem to really add much except distract from the main plot. She goes up against Madame Masque and attempts to be a private investigator but decides to scrap the whole plan and move back to NY. Ultimately, it meant nothing and wasn’t that interesting.
Once Bishop returns to NY she is reunited with Barton and Barton’s brother to finally take down the Russians. Barton is deafened and there is some interesting storytelling through sign language. Overall, the good guys win and the stereotypical Russian bad guys lose.
This run gets bonus points for creativity and some original issues but it lacks focus and parts of it just weren’t as readable or entertaining as others.
4/5 pizza dogs 🐕🐕🐕🐕
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