This is my review from 2019 of the Hawkeye graphic novel, that seems to have heavily inspired the new show (which as of this post I have not seen). My Life as a Weapon and the following releases, Little Hits, Rio Bravo, and LA Woman seem an unlikely inspiration for a television series starring the marksman Avenger. His career as Ronin (briefly hinted at in Avengers: Endgame) would have been bad-ass. Flashbacks to his life as a super villain in the comics would have been neat. But, Clint Barton apartment complex owner who gets a dog, a girl-sidekick, and deals with the likes of the TrackSuit Mafia, gets the shit kicked out of him, and battles the villain known as (Spoiler) is a great choice for plot line to bring to the small screen. It’s exactly what I would have picked.Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye is amazing and different from any superhero comic you will ever read.
Volume 60: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon (2013)
“What’s his name?”
“He’s not my dog. What’s his collar say?”
“Collar says it’s ‘Arrow’”.
“I’ll come up with something better.”
I thought this would be an ordinary story about a team superhero member on a solo adventure. Typically these solo missions involve their backstory, maybe a love interest, they might confront the person who trained them, and so on. You know, superhero stuff that expands the character but probably won’t come up again in the context of a team book.
Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon features Clint Barton, a powerless, but not helpless Avenger. Clint’s meager apartment building is about to be sold and its residents evicted by a Russian slumlord aka Tracksuit Dracula. Clint offers to buy the building but the offer is rejected causing him to suspect something larger and more sinister is going on.
Enter Kate Bishop, Clint’s young replacement during his recent absence. Together they journey to Madripoor to attend high stakes a high stakes auction of a videotape showing an assassination that the government and SHIELD and the Avengers would rather not be seen by the world. Everyone who is everyone is there to bid on the tape, including The Kingpin, Hydra, the Hand, and Madame Masque.
This new (from 6 years ago) direction for Hawkeye is fun and the writing and art are perfect. Fraction uses some bold storytelling techniques including shifts in time without warning, something your creative writing teacher would say, “…is jarring” but it works, and what does she know anyway?
My only complaint is the disparity in Hawkeye’s combat readiness. Early-on he gets into fights with untrained thugs and the sheer number of opponents combined with the danger of combat and he is taken out. More than once. You might think, “Okay, it’s gonna be one of those kinds of stories where the hero gets his ass beat,” but later Hawkeye takes on trained and armed ninjas and beats them like they were cub scouts. What does this mean? I don’t know. Otherwise, Hawkeye, written by Fraction makes me happy.
by Matt Fraction (Writer), David Aja (Artist, #1-3) Javier Pulido (Artist, #4-5) Matt Hollingsworth (Color Artist), Annie Wu (Illustrator) Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer), Alan Davis (Penciler), Francesco Francavilla (Illustrator)
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