I’ve been teetering on the edge of picking up a current comic book series for a while. I mean, I have Sandman, and Watchmen, and a couple Marvel Essentials I picked up at Comic Con, and I’ve read the first two Runaways, but I didn’t really feel like I had properly gotten my feet wet because I hadn’t read anything with a big-name superhero(ine) in it.
I really wanted to pick up an ongoing series, but I wasn’t sure what to read. I would go into my local comic book store and awkwardly stare at the new release shelves and then buy a collection or an Adventure Time comic instead of just… asking for help.
And then I heard really great reviews of both the current Hawkeye and Captain Marvel books on Tumblr, over and over again, and I thought, “self, this is it. We are going to get these books while they’re in print and read them and open a new path in my road to ultimate geekdom.” So I grabbed my debit card, abducted my roommate to be moral support, and marched into the comic store ready to go. I talked to the guy at the counter! He was very helpful and nice! I was saddened to learn that Hawkeye #1 was out of stock and probably not getting another print run, and that Captain Marvel #1 was similarly out of stock but might be in next week. Undaunted, I put my name on a list, bought Hawkeye #2 and #3, and Captain Marvel #2-5, and marched home with my spoils.
So the friend of anyone who wants to start a series like Hawkeye but is foiled by an out of print #1 is Comixology. This website lets you buy a digital copy of the book you want, downloadable to several mobile devices or readable on the website. They have a really cool guided reading setup that guides you through each page panel by panel rather than making you squint at the entire page on your computer screen. This is where I found Hawkeye #1. And now I get to the actual review part of this post.
The first page of Hawkeye #1 states:
Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, became the greatest sharpshooter 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.
This was terrifically reassuring to me as a new reader. I know what a Clint Barton is. I know what a sharpshooter is. I know what an Avenger is. That was all I needed to know to understand this comic. And before I say anything else, let me say this: Go buy it right now.
This comic book (written, arted, and colored by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth respectively, currently in three issues, and ongoing monthly) does for Clint what The Avengers didn’t: it gives him a fleshed-out character, a backstory, and, well, screentime. Based on the movie, Clint is my least favorite Avenger, just by dint of him having the least character development and being overshadowed by shiny suits and basically-gods. This story made me want to hang out with him all the time.
It starts out with a panel of him falling from that building at the end of The Avengers, and follows him through his recovery from, you know, falling off a building and through a big glass window and saving the Earth and stuff, through his ongoing beefs with the tracksuited slumlords who own his apartment complex, and his (mis)adventures with his sometimes-co-Hawkeye Kate Bishop.
He saves a dog, tries to organize his trick arrows, infiltrates an evil circus, and lots of cool stuff happens.
Why did I really love this comic though?
First of all, it’s funny. It’s really just funny as all hell. Clint’s voice is great, and the story is great, but the juxtaposition of the art with Clint’s voice and the story is really what does it.
Second of all, the art is really just gorgeous. Everything is in shades of blue and purple and grey, which makes for a really subtle, chill atmosphere without making it too somber.
Thirdly, Clint’s buddy Kate Bishop is awesome, and in Clint’s own words, “the finest and most gifted bowman he’s ever met”—without qualifiers. Not “for a girl”, not “for her age”; the finest bowman Clint goddamn Barton has ever met, full stop. She’s also sassy and amazing in general.
Fourthly, I just don’t even know. Just. God. Buy these books, bro. I read all three in like twenty minutes and I’m still smiling thinking about them two hours later. They’re an excellent intro to Clint as a character, to the point where I really hope Jeremy Renner is reading these so that this is reflected in any MCU movies where he gets a little more screentime. I wholeheartedly recommend them.