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. Continue reading

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Hastily-Laid Plans Go Awry in Hawkeye 14

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 14

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

Beyond Homage in Hawkeye 13

By Drew Baumgartner

Hawkeye 13

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

When it comes to franchised characters in comics, virtually every creative team owes a huge debt to those who came before. I think this might be particularly true for Kate Bishop, who was characterized so iconically (and recently) in two beloved series — Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye and Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers — that her past interpretations are all but inescapable. I don’t mean to sell short the contributions of Kelly Thompson and her collaborators on this series, but they clearly understand the importance of reconciling Kate with her past, which is arguably why “Kate’s past” has made for such a satisfying narrative motif. But issue 13 finds Thompson and Leonardo Romero fully addressing Kate’s metatextual past, crashing a bumbling Clint Barton back into Kate’s life. Continue reading

An Off-Color Kate in Hawkeye 10

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. Continue reading

The Value of Teammates in Hawkeye 9

By Drew Baumgartner

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

The Hawkeyes are team players. Whether it’s the Avengers for Clint or the Young Avengers for Kate, they’re more or less synonymous with their respective teams. That’s part of what makes their solo series so subversive and interesting — in part because it finds them away from their usual teammates, and in part because it finds them forging new teams out of the people around them. Only, for Hawkeyes, it’s never quite that simple. Case in point: the first half of Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s Hawkeye 9 provides an object lesson in why Kate needs her team, but the second complicates their relationship, forcing Kate to keep that team at an arm’s length. Continue reading