Go west, young lady! Kate Bishop heads to Los Angeles – to get away from New York, life, and Clint Barton – but NOT trouble! But Madame Masque is hanging out at poolside with the rich and famous as well! Who is Kate Bishop? Find out alongside Kate Bishop herself as a wild new status quo comes to Hawkeye.

SUMMARY

Pros
Fraction delivers a dramatic focus on Hawkeye that is a hit with critics and comics fans alike.
You’ll learn a lot more about Lady Hawkeye this issue!
Cons

Readers who expect to see a LOT of Clint in this annual will be very disappointed. It is called Hawkeye, after all!

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
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HAWKEYE ANNUAL #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Javier Pulido
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cover Price: $4.99

Previously in HAWKEYE:  As Clint Barton’s personal life spirals downward, his “sidekick” Lady Hawkeye takes Clint’s dog and journeys to California, where she encounters family … and a villain she’s met previously!

DON’T EXPECT TO SEE HAWKEYE VERY MUCH IN THIS ISSUE!

A retailer I know mentioned to me recently that one of his customers commented that there are two excellent comics featuring archers these days. DC has Green Arrow while Marvel has Hawkeye.

I recently spent some time catching up on Hawkeye, and it’s got a very unusual feel for a “superhero” comic. As the book itself describes, this is about Clint Barton when he’s not with the Avengers or even being a costumed hero.

We often expect that heroes are just as “together” in their private lives as they are when fighting the baddies. This book shows that isn’t always the case.

Clint still has the heart of a hero, but isn’t nearly as successful helping people without his uniform as he is when he’s in it. We’ve seen him struggle with money, develop problems in relationships and take on New York City, among other things.

You have to give Mr. Fraction credit – he’s made Clint into a very sympathetic character. Instead of only a person with incredible skills at aiming and using weapons, he’s someone we can relate to.

There’s a good amount of action in this title, but most of the time, the focus is on Clint and how he’s coping with real life. Like previous books highlighting the character, he doesn’t put on his costume at all. If you’re looking for a lot of punching and kicking, you may want to find another book. This one, though, is a much more “dramatic” one in that the interaction among the people is more important.

Now, this annual is appropriately called “West Coast Avenger.” We see a bit of Clint in the beginning (a reprise of the last several pages in a recent issue) as Kate leaves him behind. After that, the story follows her to the other side of the U.S., and she begins to try to put down roots there.

Of course, there has to be a villain in the mix, and this time it’s Madame Masque, who Kate fought (and masqueraded as) in a previous issue. At first, it seems like Kate will become her roommate, of all things, but that facade doesn’t last long.

As always, Fraction weaves an interesting tale with action interspersed among the dialogue. But don’t expect Clint to be the main focus, as this is Kate’s show!

THE ART DOES ENHANCE THE STORY

Since this comic has more to do with everyday life than superheroics, it’s good that the art team is using a simpler, more relaxed style than many superhero books that focus on trying to make the fights pop off the page.

And it works with Fraction’s stories. In this annual, the style remains the same, and you might even think that there could be a Lady Hawkeye book in our future!

BOTTOM LINE: HAWKEYE IS A UNIQUE COMIC AND ONE WORTH THE BUYING AND READING!

Hawkeye has received a lot of critical attention as well as the strongest sales for a solo title featuring the hero. On many levels, Clint has taken Peter Parker’s place as a person those on the street can identify with (since Doctor Octopus is currently in his body).

I bet your local comics shops will have the trades and back issues should you want to dive in as I did. I recommend you give it a try!

Rating: ★★★★★

The Author

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. Each episode also includes reviews, news and previews. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

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4 Comments

  1. July 25, 2013 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    The art is nauseating.

  2. July 25, 2013 at 6:49 pm — Reply

    Interesting. I like it myself.

  3. Xalazi
    July 25, 2013 at 8:01 pm — Reply

    I really liked the art. It’s very cartoonish, but it works for this kind of easy going story. It’s quirky and fun. It reminded me of a Hanna Barbera cartoon crossed with 60’s mod fashion. The only people that I can see disliking it are Comic fans that hate any deviation from the standard modern comicbook art style(Avengers, JLA for example). But then again, if that’s the case then this is probably not the series for you.

  4. Jon Dubya
    August 28, 2013 at 5:11 pm — Reply

    I like the art style for the most part, but just thought that there were too many unnecessary silhouettes throughout the panels. I mean this iisn’t a Batman title, so not everything has to be in shadow.

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