Fluid Stakes Keep Hawkeye 15 Breezy

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 15

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

That’s a dumb joke, but it’s one of my all-time favorites. It doesn’t make any sense — Bender should know that the person he’s talking about is standing directly in front of him — but the reveal to us is just so perfect. It’s the kind of joke that really only works in visual media, taking advantage of the limits of our perspective we all take for granted. We assume we understand who is in the scene because of who we’ve been shown, but anybody could feasibly be lurking just off-camera. That kind of perspective twist is part of what gives Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s Hawkeye such a distinct voice, as our perspective telescopes to best suit the scene. Indeed, as issue 15 demonstrates, they can shift perspective both literally and figuratively to goose just about anything.

The best example of that literal perspective shift comes in a gag that’s not far off from that Futurama joke I love so much. Here’s the setup:

Clint and Kate sitting in a car...

Already, I love this scene. It’s full of great character beats and the oddness of the situation. So I’m not really expecting any kind of big punchline — this scene has purpose and direction, and is plenty entertaining in its own right. But then (as in that Futurama clip), we cut wide, and see the extra person in this scene we’d just assumed wasn’t there.

...with Kate's Dad!

What a brilliant use of a page turn! It’s a punchline that lesser creators might have missed entirely, but it pleased me to no end. Moreover, that clever reveal forces us to retroactively appreciate all of the choices Romero was making on the pervious page. Every shot is so perfectly matched to the dialogue, we never miss the two-shot that might otherwise be there.

Meanwhile, Thompson is also shifting the figurative perspective of the issue. We’re dealing with literal life-and death situations, but that doesn’t stop the dialogue from reveling in the petty indignities of getting punched by yet another Hawkeye, or shooting goons in their unarmored butts. But my favorite little bit of mundanity has to come at the end of this same scene, as Kate gets her passenger rating on her rideshare app.

Kate's passenger rating

Kate has just kidnapped her father after being rescued from a villain who temporarily brought her mother back from the dead, but that doesn’t stop a low passenger rating from being a tragedy. Kate lives very much in the moment, allowing us to be fully invested in whatever the drama of the scene is, from barely escaping with her life to accidentally revealing her relationship with Johnny to their entire friend group. And that keeps us invested in those moments, too, even as we laugh about how abrupt those perspective shifts might be.

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

One comment on “Fluid Stakes Keep Hawkeye 15 Breezy

  1. This is such a fantastic celebration of the book. Unfortunately, it seems like the next issue will be the last time we see Kate Bishop for a while (why did people skip this amazing book?). But at least this issue is a great reminder of everything we are missing. There feels like there is a much bigger plan that is not going to be fully explored (I’m not the only one who thought Quinn was going to go evil, am i?), but if it has to end early, I’m glad it is ending like this.

    Feels right to end with a celebration of everything the book is about. The syringe of pure essence of Hawkeye, before we have to move on to another book. It really is Thompson, Romero and Bellaire putting their best work out to make sure we remember the ending of this book.

    Also, is it just me, or has Bellaire’s colouring evolved a hell of a lot throughout this book. Her work has always been great, but I think she has been upping her work with each issue, and now the book has depths and richness to its colours unlike any book on the stands. Bellaire has always been great, but this is some of her best work

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