Comic Book Review: ‘Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon’ by Matt Fraction & David Aja/Javier Pulido/Alan Davis

Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a WeaponHawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I’ve never been into superhero comics, and I think this is more for people who both love the genre and would like to see diversity within it. Of course, the art is nothing like the usual DC/Marvel fare (excepting the ‘Young Avengers’ issue 6 at the end): the style reminds me of newspaper comics more than anything, if I’m going to make a comparison. The lines are pretty thick, you don’t have the constant inundation of detailed musculature/hair/etc. Which gives the story some extra space to breathe, I think. The color palette is more limited, too (flatter tones, namely). Not quite the strict four colors throughout that I’d expected, but when that does happen, it looks great. If you’re like me and not into the more usual superhero art style, you still have to read the ‘Young Avengers’ excerpt at the end; it fills in the basics of what Clint & Kate’s relationship is (why is she Hawkeye too? Now I know!) and adds somne volume to the preceding banter.

The blurb on Goodreads isn’t what I remember seeing on comic sites, where the story is billed as Clint (Hawkeye) being the one Avenger who isn’t really superpowered or just Tony Stark-grade ridiculous, so what does he do on the side?

Get into a loooot of trouble as it turns out, because the hero instinct doesn’t go away just because he’s wearing a costume. Of course the Avenger stuff is a big deal and it’s not like they ignore it—it’s pretty important to the last arc in this, not to mention his source of funding—that’s right, money problems are real here!

This isn’t some super literary work trying to teach us all valuable life lessons about everything. But it is a nice read for an evening, and something that takes a different approach to a massive genre without trying to overwrite it on the scale of Alan Moore. (How exhausting would it be to read ‘Watchmen’ all the time? I love it and all, but seriously.)

Fraction is pretty fond of in medias res, and all of the arcs open with this whole ‘okay, so I know this looks bad…’ thing. I’m pretty fond of in medias res, although I think at least one of the arcs could have been introduced more linearly without losing anything. At least one part jumps back to linear pretty fast, so that’s where it felt more gimmicky than necessary to me.

A scene from ‘Pizza Dog.’ Image from the link included in this post. I still need to read it.

This isn’t the volume with ‘Pizza Dog’, which is a shame because the pages I saw from it have got to be some of the most utterly fantastic silent storytelling ever. Overall, this one is pretty actiony. More than I was expecting, anyway, despite the title. I do plan to get the second one, because hellllo ‘Pizza Dog.’ I’m also curious to see if he takes more risks with the storytelling.

So yeah, if you do like superhero comics, this is a good spin on them. I’m not sure I really love it, although it is a massive relief to see Hawkeye drawing a bow properly. Back muscles ftw. (I did archery through university. Also, Arjun in the ‘Mahabharata’ was like my favorite ever.)

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