Today, Drew and Jack are discussing Hawkeye 22, originally released July 15th, 2015.
Drew: Endings are hard. Whether they break our hearts or leave us wanting more, even the most satisfying ending must face the bittersweet truth of being the end. “The End” takes on a peculiar meaning in the world of month-to-month comics (especially where the next volume may already be a fewissues in), but whatever we’re saying goodbye to — whether its a paradigm or a creative team — can still have an almost hallowed air of significance. This makes talking about comic book endings in a issue-by-issue format particularly difficult, as its tempting to use the final issue as a platform for talking about the series as a whole. I absolutely want to talk about Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run as a whole, but I want to first give issue 22 its due respect as perhaps the perfect distillation of what made his run so remarkable. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Hawkeye 21, originally released February 4th, 2015.
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…
Justice Potter Stewart
Drew: I’ve never been a fan of classifications in art. I could go on at length about how sub-subgenres eventually become too specific to have any utility, while broader classifications face the opposite problem of being to general, but my real issue is that our definitions fall apart under scrutiny. We tend to accept the kind of “I know it when I see it” definition of basically every category we have, from gender to genre, but most working definitions have to allow for so many exceptions that they lose all meaning. Take “superhero” for example. We all have a lose idea of who a superhero is, what they do, how they act, but to try and pin down the definition reveals that none of those things are fixed. Are they heroic (courageous, noble, selfless)? Many are, sure, but there are plenty of antiheroes muddying up any moral definition. What about superpowers? Again, lots do, but with so many non-powered superheroes, it’s hardly a criteria. The closest I can come up with is based on our relationship to superheroes — namely, that we expect their actions to lead to their success. In that way, I’d like to posit Clint Barton — particularly as depicted in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye — as an antisuperhero. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Jack are discussing Hawkeye 19, originally released July 30th, 2014.
Spencer: My best friend is an artist, and he constantly complains that I read my comics too fast, that I don’t pay enough attention to the art. I’ll admit it, he has a point; I’m so eager to read the story that I often devour my comics, and miss things in the art I don’t catch until my second or third time through a book. There was no way I could do that with Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye 19, though. This issue demands that you slow down and pay attention to every detail. It’s a challenging read in many ways, but it’s a challenge that’s absolutely worth attempting. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Hawkeye 17, originally released March 12th, 2014.
Spencer: Hawkeye is consistently one of the most daring comic books on the shelf. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always making the biggest, most shocking moves, but it does mean that anything’s fair game when it comes to this book. An issue told from the point of view of the dog? Sure! Killing off a beloved supporting character then spending months and months revisiting the event from everyconceivableangle? Why not?! Separating the main characters then dividing up the narrative between them? Seems do-able! Matt Fraction doesn’t shy away from taking risks with Hawkeye, no matter how strange or mundane, and Hawkeye 17 is one of the strangest of all. Fortunately, it’s charming as all get out. Maybe that’s the true legacy of Hawkeye: the risks always pay off. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Hawkeye 13, originally released October 16th, 2013.
Shelby: FINALLY! Six months ago, something terrible happened to our favorite hot mess Clint Barton.I won’t spoil it here before the jump, but if you’ve been reading this title you know what I’m talking about. Matt Fraction has taken us on a whirlwind tour of everyone’s involvement and reactions, and I mean everyone: the man responsible, Kate, Lucky the Dog, even Clint’s brother. The one voice who’s been silent is the one I’ve been most eager to hear. That is, of course, Clint, and finally today Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth tell us Clint’s side of the story. It’s exactly as heartbreaking and lonely as you would expect. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Hawkeye 12, originally released July 10th, 2013.
Drew: What is it that excites you most about a narrative? Or, what element of a story is so important to you that you might overlook other issues? Obviously, there’s a baseline for quality, but in a pinch, some of us might excuse weak plotting if the character work is good, or flat characters if the story is exciting enough. For me, that magic element is form. I’m willing to excuse wrote plotting or stiff characters as long as the story is told to me in a new way. Hawkeye has never suffered from either of those problems, but its recent discursive plotting and focus on seemingly every character except Clint has the potential to bore plot- and character-philes. Its form, on the other hand, has been absolute crackerjacks. Issue 8 kicked of a series of issues — each from a different perspective — that have revisited scenes time and again, each offering a different perspective on the events. It’s part Roshomon, part A/B plotting, creating a hybrid form that keeps each episode emotionally satisfying, all while weaving an incredibly dense chain of events. Hawkeye 12 adds Barney Barton to the mix, mining a great deal of pathos from the brothers’ childhood. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 11, originally released June 26th, 2013.
Ethan: Heroes often have a fundamentally different way of perceiving the world than the rest of us – a unique challenge for the artists who have to bring them to life in comics. We’ve seen Iron Man’s in-suit view, cluttered with dozens of HUD displays showing vectors, power levels, and incoming angry phone calls. Spider-Man suffers an attack of Wavy-Line-Halo when he’s in danger. Daredevil’s world of radar-sense is one of the most foreign: wireframe surfaces instead of color, ripples of information spreading from source to receiver. In Hawkeye #11, artists Matt Hollingsworth and David Aja gives us our first close look at one of this title’s new heroes, along with his fascinatingly alien way of experiencing his surroundings. Lucky, the Pizza Dog, is pretty out of this world. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Hawkeye 10, originally released May 1st, 2013.
Shelby: There are two sides to every story, even stories wherein our favorite, loveable auxiliary character is shot in the head by a new bad guy for seemingly no reason. Even though we’re all still a little sad about the loss of Grills last issue (Matt Fraction included, as indicated on the title page of this month’s issue), we have to remember it was a man who pulled the trigger, a man with his own story to tell. Continue reading →
Today, Jack and Shelby are discussing Hawkeye 9, originally released April 10, 2013.
Jack:Oh, poor, dear boy, Clint, what will we do with you? Getting mixed up with shady ladies, pissing off cops and criminals alike, dirtying the name of the Avengers by living in the morally gray, breaking hearts, and, always, always getting hit in the face. Continue reading →
Today, Jack and Drew are discussing Hawkeye 8, originally released February 27th, 2013.
Jack: Once, in high school, I attempted to make an 800-mile cross-country road trip in secret over spring break, not because I really wanted to, exactly, but because a girl I really liked had demanded it, and at seventeen, that was enough to get me to agree to what I knew was perfectly stupid. (I was saved, incidentally, by the sage intervention of my less-stupid, less-seventeen brother, who later went on to found Retcon Punch.) I like to think we all grow out of that by the time we start making regular car payments, but this month’s Hawkeye raises some unsettling questions. Continue reading →