Aug 25, 2015

[Comics] Hawkeye Vol. 1 - My Life as a Weapon

I think one of the more interesting quirks of The Avengers movies is how it highlighted how amazing Hawkeye is as a character. Sure, he doesn't have superpowers, but that's precisely what worked for Batman, and thus also works for him. The big difference is that Batman's real superpower is his wealth and Hawkeye has always been a lot closer to the ground across his various incarnations.

Hawkeye Vol. 1 - My Life as a Weapon is the compilation of of comics from the 2012 relaunch of the title. He has mostly been associated with the Avengers and thus most of his appearances have been bundled in with the team, so this comics represents a major push for the character. Thank you Hollywood.

Beyond how much potential this character has always had, they also attached a great creative team to the project to really make things work out. And thus this comic was born and the world is all the better for it since it is a genuinely good comic. And I didn't come into this adventure as a fan - I came in late after everyone started praising the run more and more.

Synopsis: Hawkeye Vol. 1 - My Life as a Weapon is the first compilation of the 2012 reboot the title. The comic has Matt Fraction writing, which is pretty awesome given his prior work. This book includes the first five issues of the title.

The comic begins with a strong enough introduction - we all know Hawkeye is a sharpshooter and that he's a member of the Avengers. But of course, this isn't about him being in the big superhero team. This comic is all about what he does outside of all that. Thus we are introduced to where he lives and what he does in his spare time and a lot of him not wearing his costume.

So yes, you're going to get a lot of street-level crime stories and things of a more personal nature. And you get a whole lot of Clint Barton more than his big superhero alter ego Hawkeye. And that is what makes this comic pretty amazing. What you learn from the very first issue is that Clint is a really hardy guy. He's not super strong and he may not even be super fast, but at the very least he can take quite a beating. And we're not talking about superhuman healing or anything. He's just a guy who won't stay down for as long as he can manage things.

Matt Fraction is an interesting storyteller who has a flair for character-driven plots and a good dose of humor as well. And I like the balance that he brings to stories. This is not all fun and games and naturally there are some serious consequences to some of the events that happen. But still you don't feel like it's an overly heavy comic or one that is a struggle to read.

And they also manage to assemble an interesting cast of characters to support him. There's Kate Bishop, who is also Hawkeye and a skilled archer in her own right. You have Arrow the dog, who is better known as Pizza Dog to fans of the comic. And there are the various residents of Hawkeye's apartment building, who occasionally play their own roles in the story.

The art for this comic is pretty amazing, and I'm surprised that there have actually been several artists involved in the title and yet the overall look and feel remains consistent. There's a strong slant towards better visual storytelling and thus you have panels that almost feel like infographics and really great depictions of what's going on that have you see the action instead of read a narration of it. And I'm not just talking about a single splash page with him in some hero pose. I'm talking about way move involved multi-panel layouts that use repeating imagery to really tell a story.

The comic is definitely a great one and it amazes me just how much fun I had with the title even though we don't really see a big "known" villain until the final arc of the book. It's title that manages to sell Clint Barton more than Hawkeye if you get my drift, and this is quite the achievement in comic book storytelling.

Hawkeye Vol. 1 - My Life as a Weapon is a great book and a solid introduction to this iteration of Hawkeye. He's a great character to follow and Fraction really knows how to handle him and we're all the better for it. Thus the comic gets 5 brilliant moments of Barton being Barton out of a possible 5.


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