Written by Matt Fraction
Art by David Aja
Release Date: June 26, 2013
Fraction and Aja took a gamble basing an entire issue on Hawkeye’s dog after the events of issues #9 and #10, which very easily could have derailed the entire story they have been building. Issue #11 does the exact opposite, tying in plot threads and creating new ones in a brilliant and unconventional way. I will freely admit I expected this issue to be somewhat gimmicky, with some cutesy moments with the dog, and some jokes and light-hearted fun. This is not at all the case, as we see Pizza Dog go through the motions as the canine version of Clint Barton. Hawkeye’s pooch is as headstrong as he is, diving into a situation to do what is right without any thought of the consequences, and, as always happens with Clint, it gets him into a heckuva lot of trouble. Fraction does a fantastic job of making this story unfold naturally, with the fact that the dog is the primary character never feeling forced or like it shouldn’t be the case. Hawkeye has featured issues where Kate is more prevalent than Clint if the story dictates, and this story dictates being told through Pizza Dog. Fraction weaves elements throughout the story that could only be told by the dog, shedding light on situations in previous issues in tying past storylines together very tightly. There is also a lot of humour in the issue, and it fits perfectly with the tone of the series Fraction and Aja have been working on since the outset. Their partnership and trust in each other’s abilities is evident in an issue like this, where if the creators were not in perfect sync it would all fall apart.
David Aja’s art and design in this comic is amazing. Aja is throwing down brilliance bombs on every single page, rivaling the unique layouts and techniques that Jamie McKelvie is putting in Young Avengers, and really challenging conventional comic book formatting. I’m not sure any other artist in the industry could make Hawkeye #11 fly the way Aja does, solidifying himself as a modern day master of visual storytelling. The art, featuring the colours of the very skilled Matt Hollingsworth, is worth buying the book alone, even if you don’t care about Hawkeye or the events prior to this point. The visual representation of what is going through Pizza Dog’s mind at any given moment, especially his thought process as issues unfold is entertaining and dynamic, filled with energy and enthusiasm. This is one of those issues that will be remembered for a very long time because of Aja’s unique and fantastic style and presentation.
Fraction and Aja appear to be an unstoppable force creatively. The notion of an issue focusing on Hawkeye’s dog sounds absolutely ridiculous, but the execution of it by these two creators is simply fantastic. They took a risk, as they have all throughout Hawkeye, and it has paid off – Hawkeye #11 is absolutely brilliant.