There have been many great comics within the past few years, but probably none greater than Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja. And now that the last issue has (finally) come out, the entire 22-issue series has been collected into four trade paperbacks. So I can finally give it the proper eulogy it deserves.
So futzing good.
Here’s what the book was about: Clint Barton is the superhero known as Hawkeye. He’s on the Avengers. That’s not what the book is about though. The book is about the stuff he does when he’s not on the Avengers. Like hanging out in his apartment building with all of his neighbors. Or hooking up an A/V system in time for Christmas. Or making a series of bad decisions that might kill him, ruin his relationships, and doom his entire apartment building.
Okay, mostly that last part.
You see, the series didn’t only star Clint Barton, it also starred Kate Bishop, the other Hawkeye. She became Hawkeye back when Clint was dead (long story) and he let her keep the name when he came back to life. And she’s awesome.
Fraction did something interesting, too, as the book went on: he split it into alternating stories, with Clint in New York for one issue and then Kate in Los Angeles for the next. Clint’s issues were illustrated by Aja, while Kate’s issues were illustrated by Annie Wu (and contained a ridiculous amount of shout-outs to The Long Goodbye).
Seriously. Aside from David Aja and Annie Wu, it also featured Francesco Francavilla and Javier Pulido. There were no bad panels. And the colors by Matt Hollingsworth was always outstanding, as well as the lettering by Chris Eliopoulos.
In fact, the series contained a high number of experimental issues that tried different approaches to telling stories: issue #11, “Pizza Is My Business,” is from the perspective of Lucky the Pizza Dog as he wanders around the apartment building; issue #19, “The Stuff What Don’t Get Spoke,” takes places after Clint is deafened again and uses extensive (and untranslated) sign language; and a lot of the issues use non-linear storytelling.
Come on, sometimes you just read a comic book to have fun. And that, above all, was what Hawkeye was: fun.
So go, read it all and enjoy, bro.