Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Colourist: Matt Hollingsworth
When I heard that the Immortal Iron Fist creative team (sans Ed Brubaker) would be reuniting for an ongoing Hawkeye series I couldn’t wait. Hawkeye has never been my favourite character but I’d probably read anything these two collaborated on together.
Hawkeye #1 is described as what Clint Barton does when “he’s not being an Avenger” and it’s a pretty apt description. For someone who has been involved with the Avengers franchise for so long it would be easy to put him on cosmic adventures against powerful foes but this issue is nothing like that. Only the first two pages has Clint in any sort of action movie role. The rest of it is set firmly on the ground, showing him spending free time with the people from his apartment building and taking a dog to the vet.
In this issue there are no super powers or costumes. It’s as street level superhero you can get, with Hawkeye’s nemesis’s simply being crooked landlords. That’s not to say these isn’t any action as Clint gets involved with some shady individuals and surpassingly he never actually uses his bow outside the beginning of the issue. He demonstrated some of his marksman talents by using play cards as a weapon but mostly relies on his fists.
The fact that Hawkeye he is heavily injured by landing badly is really effective as showing him as a normal person, as any other superhero would of walked away with barely a scratch while Clint ends up with various broken and fractured bones, a sprained neck and a ruptured spleen. A similar idea Fraction uses to great effect is Clint’s inability to save a dog from being run over by a car. For someone who has saved the world more times than he can count, failing to stop one animal from being injured is a low point but it is relatable and still believable for his character.
Aja’s minimalist art is used to great effect here as it really suit’s the grounded story. It’s similar to his Iron Fist work with lots of panels, close ups, heavy shading and fluid action. The frequent panels really keep things moving and allow him to go into more detail in the action scenes while still keep the pace flow smoothly. Aja is capable of deceptive detail. His work often looks sparse but he manages to create characters and backgrounds that show you everything you need to know.
Matt Hollingsworth’s colours work really well, as the muted tones he meploys create a nice murky effect when combined with Aja’s shading. His use of specific colour palettes for each scene makes everything seem unique and helps contrast one location from the other and make them distinct.
This is a comic about long time Avenger Hawkeye fighting landlords with his fists and it’s awesome.