‘Hawkeye: My Life As A Weapon’ Spotlights a Human Superhero

“Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” is a new paperback release from Marvel Comics. It collects issues from the purple-clad Avenger’s monthly series and other material featuring the archer superhero, Clint Barton, and his spunky comrade, Kate Bishop.

The Capes & Cowls Book Club will be discussing the book May 28 at local independent bookseller King’s Books. The title is available there at a 15 percent book club discount.

Before, I never felt bothered about missing out on the newest attempt at a Hawkeye solo series, but these stories expose what’s worthwhile about the character: his humanity. The first story in the collection opens with the title character falling off a building onto a car and his subsequent hospital recovery. This scene sets the stage for what is not your average super heroic invulnerable power fantasy.

Author Matt Fraction is no stranger to the espionage comic book script with previous work like Casanova. His writing works well with the styles of David Aja and Javier Pulido, the two Spanish artists with top billing on the title.

The featured adventures include your standard high-octane action thrill rides – sequences in action or crime movies but not often the norm in superhero settings: back room poker games, blackmail, and a trip to Marvel’s fictional good-time crime island, Madripoor.

The art on the book is simply stunning. David Aja’s thick, rough line work gives each scene a gritty feel. The illustrations of Hawkeye’s classic trick arrows are a nice touch, appearing like gadgets from a Sharper Image catalog.

It must be hard for Matt Fraction not to make lots of references to other comic titles in the Marvel line, since he writes a lot of them (like key issues of the recent mega-crossovers “Fear Itself” and “Avengers vs. X-Men”) but he dodges the confusion by glossing over some details and focusing on the topic at hand: how to make Hawkeye look cool.

Hawkeye’s compatriot, Kate Bishop, who is also known as Hawkeye, steals the show. Their mentor/student banter provides much of the life of the story. If you’re confused about who she is, the trade also includes Young Avengers Presents #6 featuring the first meeting of the two characters with art by Excalibur veteran Alan Davis.

This story from the Young Avengers spinoff shows stark contrast in the computer coloring process. Here the glossy pages are necessary due to the brilliant, detailed explosion of colors compared to the more muted, flat coloring the Hawkeye series received.

I had heard a lot of praise for the title – friends have shared posts and news about it – and when I read the first issue I thought it had been a little over-promoted, but as I read on I was treated to some pretty decent adventure stories.

Also: purple! I’m told people like purple flourishes. This book has those.

 

Illustration by Danielle Burch.

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