Here’s a new feature which I hope to do bi-weekly (or as I go along). While I spent a lot of my youth knee deep in Marvel mythos I doubt to ever say that it led me very far into what many may call “the road to comic book nerddom”. In recent years I’ve found a bit of remembrance of my previous love of comic books and would like to channel that newfound love into this feature. Please feel free to enjoy and let me know what you think (I’m very curious).
For the sake of making this easier for myself and to keep the internet trolls at bay I am making it clear now that all of the articles in this feature will be SPOILERS BOUND. This isn’t because I feel like I need to discuss details, but rather to assure those who’re supremely sensitive not to feel mislead.
While I’m well versed in the universe of the Daredevil, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and such and such; I don’t believe I’ve ever truly delved into the world of Hawkeye. I wasn’t even a big Avengers reader as a child so I didn’t even get to see him as the side/supporting character everyone seems to know him as. Even the last page, stuffed with a letter from “Simperin’ Steve”, admits that more than likely a lot of readers are giving this a shot (pun not intended) because of the success of the recent Avengers film.
The book begins with a wonderful page where Hawkeye is out, and seemingly in some trouble and smash cuts to a – for lack of a better word – title page with the following text:
“Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, became the greatest sharp-shooter known to man. He then joined the Avengers. This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger. That’s all you need to know.”
It serves as a setting that this book doesn’t try to be an origin, thank god, but rather just a chapter in the life of Clint Barton.
Comic book heroes are always, as Clint says it, “got, what, armor, magic, super-powers, shrink-dust, grow-rays, healing factors”. In the world of Marvel Stan Lee has always loved to live in the realm of the fantastical, to the point of becoming operatic at times, I find it so cool to finally have a character who has to play by the rules of the real world for once.
The art is great. David Aja’s great deep bordering of characters and somewhat generalized features makes for a beautifully expressive tone.
The book’s best quality, as should be the mark for any I assume, is its dialogue and character which exudes from that dialogue. Clint, who unlike all other Marvel heroes doesn’t need to put on the suit to be a hero it would seem, is the best kind of snappy asshole hero we want. It’s being told from the point of view of Clint completely, so we’re never privy to anything that he isn’t and it’s taken to the point where we see characters who Clint is hearing talk with dialogue being described as “Some Spanish sounding stuff”, and then in the very next frame there’s some intercut English dialogue (from the same character) with a bit of “Russian maybe?”. It’s great.
Clint gets to have some of the best moments, obviously. From his, “Paleolithic. I looked it up” moment in the hospital to: Taxi Driver looking at bumper to bumper traffic, “What can you do?”, Clint, “Try out this new leg of mine, I guess,” as he walks out of the taxi on home. It’s the right tone of heroic asshole. He’s not necessarily bad to good people, but he’s not the greatest guy in the world, which is how most New York heroes are always portrayed it seems.
I don’t fault the book for having little Hawkeye, mainly because I enjoyed my time with Clint so much that it was almost a happy sidebar to who he is with the Avengers – as the intro said it would be – to see who he is as a real person in the real world.