The final conflict is upon us: Hawkeyes vs. Tracksuit Draculas.
And this time, there will be an ending. Your Major Spoilers review of Hawkeye #22 awaits!
Previously in Hawkeye: After a difficult couple of alien-fighty years, Clint Barton finally decided he needed a place of his own, buying an apartment building in Brooklyn. He soon found out that he’d bought more than just a building, when a group of criminals (whom he has named the ‘Tracksuit Draculas’) began harassing him and his tenants. With the help of his protegée, Kate Bishop (who is also called Hawkeye), his brother, Barney (also called Hawkeye) and his dog, Lucky (not called Hawkeye at all), Clint Barton now has to put an end to the Draculas’ murderous ways…
THIS AIN’T GONNA BE PRETTY
When this series debuted back in 2012 (!!!), I remember comparing it to the gritty kinda-sorta noir movies of the 1970s: The Conversation, Bullitt, Serpico and like that. Clint Barton as our central figure is less golden god than guy-who-figures-out-a-way, and his accumulation of a wonderful supporting cast (including the villains) has been a great buildup to the story’s end, but…
…none of those 70s movies ended all that well for anyone. Last time ’round, Clint made an all-out assault on the Tracksuit Draculas, and evil clown Kazi, before discovering that he had bitten off lots more than he could chew. The people of his Bed-Stuy building rose up to help him, and in the chaos, it seemed that his brother Barney was going to succumb to a fatal wound. We open this issue with Penny (the mysterious red-haired woman tied up in all of this since the beginning) confronting the biggest, baddest Dracula in Clint’s apartment, a tense standoff at gunpoint, when an arrow smashes through the window…
“I AM RIGHT WAY MORE THAN YOU PEOPLE GIVE ME CREDIT FOR…”
There’s a lot of action in the second half of the book, as Kate Bishop arrives in explosive fashion, Kazi and Clint have their final showdown, and Penny even gets to show her courage. And then, Kazi shoots Lucky the dog, and all bets are off. Even though the main character is a member of the Avengers (and the first few issues of his NEXT series have already been printed at the time of writing), I really worried for Clint and Kate in this story, as Fraction and Aja drew me in perfectly. Both Hawkeyes find themselves at the point where they could murder their foes in these pages, but wonderfully the story is much more complex than that, and the final dispensation of Kazi and the Draculas works both dramatically and logically. (A particular sequence involving the words “Neighborhood Watch” were flat-out cheer-worthy.) As the issue closes, so does this chapter of our heroes’ lives, but we end with Kate and Clint taking their target practice together, a nice bookend to all that has happened in the 22 issues of this title.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A WONDERFUL ENDING TO HATE
It’s hard to remember that the Hawkeyes really hadn’t met much before this title debuted, and the use of Clint’s exes as a kind of superhero Greek chorus throughout has been truly amazing, but the biggest surprise of all has been how much deeper and more nuanced the character of Hawkeye has become. Sure, he’s always been the kid from the carnival who grew up to make good, but these pages make it clear that his past is forming his present, and the final fate of Barney Barton in this issue makes me hope that nobody ever brings him back again. (Yes, it’s that well-executed.) Three different maguffins are competed, the final battle is had, and Hawkeye #22 makes for a lovely final chapter of a book I didn’t want to see end, with excellent art throughout and a great story to read, earning a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. If Fraction and Aja have to go, at least this is a great way to do it…[taq_review][signoff predefined=”PayPal Donation” icon=”icon-cog”][/signoff]