Hawkeye #1


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Hawkeye #1


  • Words: Matt Fraction
  • Art: David Aja
  • Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
  • Story Title: Lucky
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 1, 2012

Clint Barton gets a little “me” time in this new ongoing, which is good news for anyone with eyeballs.

To start a review with hyperbole is probably something that no reviewer should do lightly, or ever, for that matter. It sets up a bias, or worse, expectation to the reader that a guarantee is on the table; a guarantee that everyone or anyone will love this book. Well, I cannot commit to that level of amazing… but Hawkeye #1 sure comes close.

Hawkeye #1, the first issue in a new ongoing series by Matt Fractions and David Aja, is a little slice of life that sings on every level. They present to us a day in the life of Clint Barton. Only once does he don his Hawkeye duds, and it’s the very first scene. We open the book with one of Barton’s daring escapes. From what he’s escaping, it hardly matters. What matters is that he’s been on the mend for weeks now and just wants to go home.

What follows is a wonderful little story about how this member of Earth’s Mightiest can never fully stray from what’s right in front of him – everyday life. The run down building he chooses to live in, the colorful tenants he mingles with at rooftop BBQs, and how he takes on protecting them from greedy opposition. It’s clear that Fraction has plans for the story going forward, but that is not the thrust of this issue. The writer is more concerned with setting up this world and showing us how this roguish character interacts with it. What results is an unexpected and joyful surprise.

What tips this book’s enjoyment over the edge are the stunning art duties by David Aja and his colorist Matt Hollingsworth. Aja’s pencils are one of a kind in the way that he expresses fluidity. His depiction of kung fu in Iron Fist was just practice for the kinetic way he illustrates Barton’s particular set of skills. A scene showing this “ordinary” man take out a whole room of thugs with a deck of playing cards can be exhibited in a master class on scene construction, pace, and layout. Coupled with Hollingsworth’s vibrant, yet not showy, colors gives a noir-ish vibe to the proceedings that is entirely welcome.

It’s difficult to write a review when you are pleased with each piece of the puzzle. Even the cover of this book is spot on, like a bold exploitation movie poster mated with pop art. Clearly frame worthy.

In recent months, I have slightly soured on Mr. Fraction’s stories. Once adoring his Invincible Iron Man run (seriously, the first twenty issues of his run is the best Iron Man I have ever read), it’s been a bumpy ride towards the finish as of late. Fear Itself unfortunately never got off the ground as an event for me. It never felt like it needed to leave the pages of Thor, which personally diminished any “world-wide” impact they were going for with it. It also seemed to end with a thud. This is no indictment of the work put in or stories being told, it just had not endeared me like his tales once did.

Well, I am so, so glad to have been rewarded with such a wonderful book. Yes, rewarded, because this issue, on its own is a treasure. What’s even more exciting is that it’s the start of something more. I’ll gladly follow this creative team wherever they want to take me. With a tour guide like Clint Barton, no matter what, it’s going to be a bumpy (fun) ride.

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