By Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
When I first opened Hawkeye 10 I did a double-take, and had to go back to recheck the credits. I would have sworn it was Francesco Francavilla illustrating the issue, but instead, it was regular colorist and artist Jordie Bellaire and Leonardo Romero doing their best impression, bathing those first few pages in the deep, rich shades of red that have come to be Francavilla’s trademark. It’s our first sign that something is seriously wrong with Kate, and not just because thinking of Francavilla brings to mind the villain spotlight issue of Fraction’s Hawkeye; it’s because red is not Kate’s color.
So really, it’s obvious that something is off from the very first page.
As much as this looks like Kate Bishop, this just doesn’t look like Kate Bishop. Despite the purple, the colors are all off, and that devious smirk in panel four isn’t exactly an expression we see Kate wear very often. We know Kate can glam up with the very best of them, but she rarely does so, and adding a *bling* sound effect especially makes this feel like a ritual that Kate wouldn’t normally undertake. Something is very off, the only question is, what?
Kelly Thompson’s writing makes it fairly obvious even before the big reveal that Madame Masque has captured Kate and is running around town in a clone-Kate body, what with her carrying a concealed gun, putting the moves on her friends, trying to abandon helpless civilians and even going as far as to call them “sheep.” Still, it’s the art that gives us our first major clue that something’s wrong with Kate, and the tension of that off-kilter coloring carries through the entire issue, until we finally return to our Kate.
The fact that we get internal narration makes it immediately clear that this is the real Kate, but the colors reinforce that point. It’s not just that the saturation returns to normal, but that the page is bathed in the signature color scheme Bellaire has established for Kate throughout this series (purple and green). Hawkeye 10 is an impressive entry all around, but it especially highlights the talent of Bellaire and Romero, and all they bring to this series.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?