This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, “Hey you. Can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, “Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on Then a friend walks by, “Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.”
Leo McGarry, The West Wing, “Nöel”
Humans aren’t perfect. We often have dumb ideas or bungle good ones, we make lots of mistakes, and fail far more often than we succeed. But we do try. And what’s particularly endearing is that we often try for the sake of others. This is what Marvel heroes are all about — imperfectly trying to help others — and there’s really no better example of this in the modern Marvel canon than Clint Barton. He’s an ace archer and his heart sure is in the right place, but (bless him), he’s more prone to failure than just about anyone else out there. But he’s also the most qualified person around to help Kate, which means he’s coming to her rescue, whether she needs it or not. Continue reading →
This article containsSPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Taylor: If you read enough ancient ancient Greek myths you quickly realize that people have had complicated relationships with their parents since history began. Cronus was afraid his son Zeus would kill him and take over the world so he tried to eat him. Cronus failed. Zeus did indeed come to rule Mt. Olympus but not, without inheriting his father’s fear of his own children. Kate Bishop shares a similarly complicated relationship with her father, the only difference is that she doesn’t fear him so much as she fears to become him one day. This relationship is part of what defines Kate and the way she responds to it is fascinating in Hawkeye 11.
Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Invincible Iron Man 1, originally released October 7th, 2015.
Drew: Whether it’s being bitten by a radioactive spider or being shipped to Earth as an infant, most superhero origins are shockingly passive. We can emphasize the decisions these characters make once they have their powers, but industrial accidents and personal tragedies are the things that force them to make those decisions in the first place. In that way, Tony Stark is a bit of a man apart: he’s a superhero by sheer force of will. More importantly, his origin is necessarily active (even if “inventing” isn’t the most exciting action), putting action at the very heart of the Iron Man formula. So when Tony finishes his latest Iron Man armor in Invincible Iron Man 1, what does he do with it? He waits for the battery to charge. Continue reading →
Today, Suzanne and Spencer Drew are discussing Hawkeye 20, originally released September 10th, 2014.
Drew: Of all the ways a writer can use to emphasize their storytelling beats, shuffling the chronology of the events always demands my attention. I almost called it “distracting” but I think I mean “demands my attention” — I absolutely appreciate that it’s a handy tool in the savvy writer’s toolkit, but we’re so used to perceiving events one after the other that flipping them around feels noticeably alien. Again, I don’t want to imply that it’s inherently bad — there are lots of compelling reasons to tell a story out-of-order — but that it draws attention to itself in ways that aren’t always accounted for. Fortunately, Matt Fraction has routinely proven himself capable of handling (and justifying) these types of stories, making Hawkeye 20 an excellent example of nonlinear narrative done right. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Spencer are discussing Hawkeye 18, originally released March 26th, 2014.
Shelby: Everyone needs a reality check every now and again. It’s that moment at the end of a vacation when you first check your work email, when the fantasy you’d been living is revealed to be just that, and it’s time to get back to reality. It’s not a fun feeling, discovering something seemed too good to be true because it was, that the “happily ever after” you thought you had was just a story and now the story’s over. Kate Bishop has been trying to build herself a new reality away from a certain, “needy abusive black hole of crippled emotions,” and it was finally beginning to look like she’d succeeded. Unfortunately, she’s got a massive dose of reality headed her way, and it’s not going to be pretty.
Today, Spencer and Ethan are discussing Hawkeye 16, originally released January 22nd, 2014.
Spencer: Hawkeye writer Matt Fraction calls Wednesday “the worst day in comics.” Why? Because it’s the day all the writer’s mistakes “become fixed and permanent.” Yeah, it can be hard for any creative individual to put their work out there and be satisfied with it; personally, sometimes I even have a hard time not going back into these articles after they’ve published to fix them up. Hawkeye 16 provides an object lesson on why we should put our work out there anyway through the life stories of Will and Grey Bryson, brothers and musicians whose relationship has been ruined by the forty years they’ve spent composing their magnum opus. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Hawkeye 14, originally released November 27th, 2013.
Shelby: There’s a very idealistic romance to being young and on your own. It’s easy for me, at the ripe old age of 29, to see younger people’s enthusiasm and just roll my eyes. I’m just jaded enough to have very little patience for that sort of thing. As Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye continues with the adventures of Hawkeye (not Hawkguy) Kate Bishop in L.A., we get a heavy dose of romance, both of the idealistic-youth type and the couple-in-love type. Is Fraction laying it on thick to crack through my jaded, exterior shell? Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Hawkeye Annual 1, originally released July 24th, 2013.
Patrick: My favorite comedic bit in any issue of any comic I’ve ever read is conversation Clint Barton has with his buddy Grills about his superhero identity. “Hawkguy?” “Hawkeye.” It’s so endearing that most of us just call the character Hawkguy now and smile on the inside. So, when this issue sees a nervous Kate Bishop accidentally introduce herself as “Kate Hawkguy, Bishop,” it’s hard not to draw immediate comparisons to the very mentor she’s trying to distance herself from. Lucky for Kate (and for us), she’s only inherited his most charming character traits. Continue reading →
Today, Courtney and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 5, originally released December 5th, 2012.
Courtney: Not for the first time, we begin an issue of Hawkeye with Clint Barton falling headlong out of a freshly smashed umpteenth-story window, privately conceding that this situation is, perhaps, suboptimal.
Today, Drew and Courtney are discussing Hawkeye 4, originally released November 21st, 2012.
Drew: Back in issue 2, Clint assured us that “work’s work.” The very notion of considering the Avengers a day job says a lot about his character, but the notion that he could separate his personal life from his professional one is laughable. Hell, my mom can’t even do that, and her job doesn’t involve killing people, saving the world, or supervillains bent on exacting revenge (at least, I don’t think her job involves those things). The first three issues of Hawkeye have brilliantly explored what a guy like Clint might get up to when he has nothing better to do — fighting local crime and righting small wrongs just for the hell of it — but issue 4 brings reality back to Clint’s doorstep. It just so happens that, for Clint, reality comes in the form of a floating aircraft-carrier filled with superheroes. Continue reading →