A comiXologist Recommends:
Mike Isenberg recommends Hawkeye Vol. 3: L.A. Women
I have a confession to make: before Matt Fraction’s (mattfractionblog) current take on the character, I have never had any interest whatsoever in Hawkeye. He was just some guy with a bow and arrow who dressed in purple and fought with the Avengers. And (to pile up even more confessions) I’ve never really been that into the Avengers. As I’ve mentioned here before, my super-hero tastes as a kid ran more towards the darker side of the Marvel universe. Spandex and archery never really grabbed me much.
So when I first took a look at the current Hawkeye series, I was pleasantly surprised and very, very intrigued. Just flip through a single issue, and you’ll see what I mean. Instead of larger-than-life super-hero action In The Mighty Marvel Style!, the pages of Hawkeye are understated and cleverly designed and down-to-earth. Rather than yet another solo super-hero book, Fraction et al. have delivered a consistently witty, brilliantly quirky street-level crime series that feels more at home on the indie comics rack than it does shelved next to Avengers and Superman.
For the last year or so, issues of the series have alternated between following “classic” Hawkeye Clint Barton, and “lady” Hawkeye Kate Bishop. Hawkeye Vol. 3: L.A. Woman collects all of the Kate Bishop issues into a single, cohesive story.
Fed up with Clint’s drama in New York, Kate packs up her things and heads west for a fresh start in Los Angeles. Her voyage of self discovery gets a rocky start, however, and when she finds herself broke and friendless, she decides to hire herself out as a freelance investigator/crime-fighter in order to make ends meet. Each issue sees Kate take on a new case, and the chapters are refreshingly self-contained, yet still succeed in building a satisfying arc for Kate and tying themselves together by the end of the volume.
The book also looks great. Art duties fall to Javier Pulido for the first chapter (Hawkeye Annual #1), with Annie Wu (anniewu) taking the helm for the rest of the volume. Both are incredibly talented artists with fairly distinct styles, and the visual change actually works out great for the story. Pulido’s crisp lines and simple design aesthetic mirror Kate Bishop’s optimism for the novelty and glamour of L.A. when she first arrives, while Wu’s grittier approach fits beautifully once things get tougher and Kate starts her investigations into L.A.’s darker side.
Whether you’re a die-hard Hawkeye fan or someone who, like me two years ago, couldn’t have told you the first thing about the character, you should absolutely pick up this book. It’s charming, witty, and refreshingly fun. Highly recommended.
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I can’t even believe the list of creators who worked on these 39 issues: Warren Ellis (warrenellis), Rick Remender, Ed Brubaker, Matteo Scalera, Jamie McKelvie (mckelvie), Nick Spencer (nickspencerly), Mike Deodato Jr, Clayton Cowles, and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting.
Featuring a team made up at various times of Hawkeye, Spider-Man Moon Knight, Cap, Black Widow, Ant-Man, and more, I’m amazed this run isn’t talked about more.
Yes. The answer you’re looking for is Yes.
A comiXologist Recommends:
Jen Keith recommends Hawkeye #19
Bro. Hey, bro. It’s been a while, bro. New issue of Hawkguy, bro.
On the heels of winning an Eisner award for best single issue (see Hawkeye #11 with an additional Eisner award congratulations to writer Matt Fraction for Sex Criminals) comes Hawkeye #19, which manages to surpass my love for the pizza dog issue. Writer Matt Fraction (mattfractionblog) and artist David Aja (with an extra shout out to Chris Eliopoulos on co-lettering with Aja) continue to push the boundaries with this shiver-inducing exploration of deafness in comics.
Remember that heart-wrenching cliffhanger in issue #15? It’s time to finally find out what happened to Clint and his brother, Barney. With ear damage after an attack by a hitman, Clint’s world is suddenly much quieter. This isn’t Hawkeye’s first experience with being deaf; he lost his hearing back in a Hawkeye mini-series in 1983, and this issue looks into a stint during his childhood as well. We get a peek at Barney and Clint’s history and how their past parallels their present. Stunningly, we get most of this in a beautiful display of body and sign language.
The way this issue unfolds is entirely unique to the medium; you could not find this story told this way in anything other than a comic. It reads like the moments in movies when the soundtrack falls away into a vacuum of silence that drowns out everything, leaving you absorbed completely in the visual narrative. However, because this is comics, that silence is illustrated through a clever use of lettering and lack thereof along with “unsubtitled” sign language. The reader experiences the world on mute with Clint as he struggles to adapt and overcome his condition and its instigators.
After finishing this issue, I had to reread it because the pacing was so smooth despite the staccato panels of sign language and action that I couldn’t believe it was over. I was devastated, wanted more, and all I could think was, “Aw, comic, no.”
Grab your coffee carafe and some pizza, and go read Hawkeye #19. Ok, bro?
Jen Keith is a Digital Editor at comiXology, comic artist, music addict, and ate enough pizza recently to satisfy even Lucky the pizza dog.
Where to start reading Kate Bishop?
Let’s start with her first appearance in Young Avengers vol. 1 #1 and then continue on with that volume.
- Young Avengers vol. 1
- Young Avengers Present Patriot #1
- Young Avengers Present Hawkeye #6
- Civil War
- Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways
- Winter Soldier: Winter Kills
- Civil War: The Initiative #1
- Civil War: Fallen Son
- Secret Invasion
- Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers
- Avengers: The Initiative
- Dark Reign: Young Avengers
- Mighty Avengers #21-36
- Siege: Young Avengers
- Avengers vol. 4 #1
- I Am an Avenger #1
- Avengers The Children’s Crusade
- Young Avengers vol. 2
- Hawkeye Marvel Now!
Also check out Ultimate Spider-Man (#12) for a younger version of Kate.
This is the Kate Bishop reading list. Well done!
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