This is easily one of my favorite comics of the last year. It’s comparable to the Eisner award-winning Daredevil from Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera in many aspects; the storytelling matches the art, and the art isn’t the usual cape comic fare. Both have distinct art-styles brought on by their artists and great use of panel structure. It’s exactly what the industry needs to stay alive.
The actual story is of Hawkeye and Hawkeye. Clint Barton is written more like the classic wise-cracking character and less like the Jeremy Renner action-hero version; there are still some aspects in the latter in humility. The other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop from Young Avengers, is a constant character and not necessarily a sidekick. Their relationship is one of the more complicated things in the comic, and Matt Fraction has assured everyone that there’s never going to be a relationship (at least not a mutual one). Clint’s feelings are always a bit more paternal.
As for Clint himself, the comic shows him in not the best situation. He was injured fighting, and he’s just being released from the hospital. He’s not superhuman; he’s just an Errol Flynn fanatic. The majority of the story is Clint’s interaction with his apartment building neighbors, the gang down the street, and every few comics there’s fighting the criminal underworld in unconventional ways. He’s there to keep Kate Bishop grounded, and she’s there to rescue him in the worst case scenario.
David Aja and Javier Pulido keep the art-style consistent through out what is now the first volume. And it’s great. It’s cartoony, big bold outlines, and the style often closes up on faces. Onomatopoeia makes a return from Daredevil; although not as great as in context of Daredevil it’s still refreshing after being vacant for so many years. Marvel in-house art-style this is not; this is better.
If you don’t read cape comics, you’ll probably still like this. If you do read cape comics, you’ll really like it. If you’re just here for fun with touches of humanity sprinkled through out the story you should have already bought it. Hawkeye is very, very good, and is treated with love that a non-creator owned property receives rarely unless it’s known beforehand it’ll sell. Even if you just want to try it first, any single issue is a great jumping on point besides maybe The Tape part one or two.
Hawkeye Vol.1: My Life As A Weapon is out now for $16.99. It includes Hawkeye #1-5 and a Young Avengers backup that details Kate and Clint’s first meeting.