Written by Matt Fraction
Art by David Aja
Release Date: October 17, 2012
Fraction is obviously having a lot of fun with this series, or at least his enthusiasm and sense of humor are what really jumps off the page for me. This issue, more than the past ones, is filled with a lot of action, but daring action with a somewhat Bond-esque feel to it. This is a great adventure film with a lot of heart put in comic book form, and a perfect blend of action, dialogue, intrigue and humor. I’m an Avengers guy, but I’ve never found Hawkeye to be a character I gravitated toward, and he still isn’t a character I’m a huge fan of in many of the other Marvel titles. The Hawkeye in this book is a different case: this Clint Barton is a scrappy underdog who screws up a fair amount but then works his ass off to make things right. The bravado finally fits the character and with this series we get a great look at who Clint Barton is. Not the facade of Hawkeye, but Barton. His relationship with Kate Bishop is wildly entertaining, and Bishop, by Fraction’s hand, is a strong character that doesn’t take any crap from anyone. The Marvel Universe, and comics in general, could do with a lot more Kate Bishops.
One thing I want to highlight about this issue is how accessible it is. Fraction has stated that Hawkeye will not be built around arcs, but rather smaller 1 and 2 issue stories to keep the title accessible and light, rather than bogged down in the mire of continuity and crossovers. He has succeeded. Issue #3 draws on some entertaining tidbits from previous issues, but absolutely no knowledge of any other piece of the Marvel Universe is required to enjoy this comic. It is 100% accessible to any reader and a great example of what many more titles should be striving to be. For people interested in Hawkeye from this films and other media, this is a book they can pick up and enjoy without getting scared off by years of complex continuity, and for readers who have known Clint for a very long time, the one-and-done tale is like a breath of fresh air for a character with a lot of baggage and history. Well played, Matt Fraction, well played.
On the art front, I don’t even know where to start with how brilliant David Aja’s pencils are in this issue. His art style is very stylized, but fits this story absolutely perfectly. Aja does an excellent job conveying emotion in this issue with small facial tweaks, like the slightest smirk for cocky sarcasm, and disdain dripping from Kate Bishop’s body language. Fraction’s script is lively and full of fun, and Aja brings it to life and gives the book a whole new level of energy. His art has never been better, even on Immortal Iron Fist, and I can’t wait to see more of what he has in store for Hawkeye.
This issue, and series as a whole, is one of the best on comic shelves. Come Eisner time next year, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Hawkeye takes the show by storm as Daredevil did this past year. It is fresh, fun, and one of the best comics in the industry.