I read Hawkeye #1 when it first came out, and I figured that I might follow up with the second issue for the sake of keeping tabs on what was essentially a good book. Fans of superhero action with a little bit of down-to-Earth characterization will have enjoyed Hawkeye already, but this issue really seals the deal.
Things I liked:
- Clint Barton and Kate Bishop make for a marvelous team, and any fan of Young Avengers will feel right at home with everyone's other favourite archer in purple.
- The circus motif lets us rediscover some backstory about Clint that may have gotten lost in the shuffle with his death, resurrection, divorce, marriage and all the other baggage that's associated with him. Similar to another Fraction/Aja joint, Immortal Iron Fist, we're basically told to forget a lot about what we know about the character and approach this book with an open mind.
- The action and dialog is well thought-out, and doesn't feel excessive or illogical. Putting Hawkeye on the bad side of a number of prominent Marvel villains both gives him a Rogue's Gallery and a way to challenge him on his newfound solo career.
- Aja's art is spot-on, as usual; the cover image especially sticks out to me because of the mathematical way the act of firing a bow is pictured.
Things I didn't:
- The Kate Bishop/Clint Barton dynamic really reminds me of another archer duo - namely, Mia Dearden and Oliver Queen. While Mia didn't exactly have the bow skills that Kate does, she does have the smart mouth. It definitely didn't ruin the book by any means, but the similarity, to me, was too pronounced to ignore.
- Part of what irks me in this book is the lack of plausibility that Hawkeye would be acting without the Avengers for an extended period of time. He's been so attached to that team (or associated acts) for so long that it's hard to imagine that he won't just press a button to call in the cavalry when things get tough. Comparing this book to Daredevil or Spider-Man really highlights how much time those heroes spend alone, despite being part of a bigger team. Maybe this can be the push that Hawkeye needs to establish that credibility - only time will tell.
The Verdict: Great book as usual, and my only quibbles are for its viability in the long run, as opposed to the issue in my hands. Four arrows out of five means it's a definite buy, especially if you like street-level heroes, heists and a large cloud on the horizon.