I’d be lying if I said Hawkeye was my favorite comic book archer as that title belongs solely to Green Arrow. Recently, however, Green Arrow’s exploits on the printed page have been less than stellar, so I’ve (regrettably) been avoiding his series all together. With the success of The Avengers film, it’s little surprise that Marvel would release a solo series for one of the movie’s main characters. The new Hawkeye series announced a premise that sounded…familiar. This series promised to have Hawkeye fight for the little guy, down on the streets, against corrupt businessmen…yes, this does sound exactly like classic Green Arrow plotlines! Already expecting a knock off, I bought this title. What I found was a surprise.
To my knowledge, I’ve never read anything by Matt Fraction before, so I didn’t know what to expect from his writing. After finishing the comic, I’m starting to wonder exactly what I’m missing from this stellar creator. Fraction’s writing style is quick and clever, as he fires off dialogue and inner monologue like so many of Hawkeye’s arrows. I also have to say I love the concept for this comic; the title page states “Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, became the greatest sharp-shooter known to man. He then joined the Avengers. This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger. That’s all you need to know.” That lead in is perfect for the comic: we see Hawkeye dealing with the troubles of daily life in Manhattan, taking down small-time thugs and helping out his neighborhood. Honestly, the concept does seem a lot like classic Green Arrow, but given that I love this style of storytelling I could care less whether it’s coincidence or out-and-out copying. I also enjoyed how the story was told out of order; far from being confusing, is actually helped inspire suspense and drama, making me want to piece together the plot’s puzzle even more. Ultimately, the writing is great.
I’ll be perfectly honest about the art: it’s far from amazing. I’d actually say it’s below the average level of art quality we see in comics today. I will say, however, that I feel David Aja’s art still fits the story almost perfectly. The gritty, less polished style fits a tale of day-to-day heroism. The images of New York City are refreshingly chaotic and some of the backgrounds looked a lot like areas I’ve actually walked through, furthering the comic’s sense of realism. Matt Hollingsworth adds some great spot color to this series: things are mostly gray and brown, but a nice touch of violet on Hawkeye’s tie or the gold tag on a dog’s collar really stand out. The color, worked on by both men, is superb: I really like the target motif that dots the bottom. The art, while nothing to rave about, still fits the story.
Hawkeye #1 is a great comic and I think well worth the read. The artwork may not be amazing, but the story more than makes up for it. I think this comic is well worth picking up, especially for people who enjoyed The Avengers but don’t know much about comics. I think this is one of the most enjoyable comics I’ve read: it’s got enough action to keep one’s attention, but is light-hearted enough that people who aren’t fond of the more grim-dark series can read without fear. This series has a ton of potential in what I’ve seen just from this issue alone. Hawkeye #1 hits the bulls-eye straight on!
Brett Simon is a twenty-two year old comic enthusiast. He wonders why archer characters in almost every series appeal to him.