Backlog Review: Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye
By: Christopher Johnson
DISCLAIMER: Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye has two main plots. There is the Clint Barton storyline and the KAte Bishop Storyline. If you include fillers then the Barton story in in issues 1-13, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22. I will only review the Barton issues because that is the main plot of this series.)Also all character, images and plots belong to MARVEL COMICS.
~THERE ARE SLIGHTLY MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THIS SERIES! PROCEED WITH CAUTION!~
This book blew my mind in what it was able to accomplish. I have to say this series has to be the best solo series of the decade. IT has everything you could ever want in a story and the best part is they stuck to the same plot with Barton the entire time unless it was a filler or paved the way for the Kate issues. That alone impressed me but I will explain more on that in a minute. In this review I will briefly explain what happens in the Barton story then give the typical pros and cons. So without further ado allow me to explain the story of this gem of a book.
First off towards the end of the series there are three people in the book who have used the name Hawkeye before; Clint Barton, KAte Bishop and Barney Barton. This is an ingenious way of throwing in various stories because you can have the book focus on any of these people and it still fits in with the name Hawkeye. That is why there are Kate issues and Clint issues as they are both Hawkeye. In the Clint issues Kate and Clint’s Dog, Lucky are in most of the books as is his brother Barney. Other main characters include Cherry, Black Widow, Jessica Drew and the villains; the Tracksuit Mafia. The Tracksuit Mafia have one goal. They want to push all the tenants out of the building including Clint and he has to unite with the civilians in order to fight back. The plot is very simple but the way Fraction writes it, makes it to be very enjoyable and in many ways heartbreaking but really that is it in terms of the plot. I don’t want to say too much because I really want you to read it for yourself. My words can not express hoe good this book truly is and with that said, let me explain what I liked best about this book.
One thing that annoys me the most in modern comics is when a book starts off with a certain plot then puts that story on hold and picks up that plot later on. It is annoying because it is a single story that last for more than 5 issues and they typically drags on for longer than it should ,but Matt Fraction does this in a great way He starts off the tracksuit mafia story in the first two issues then goes into a different plot until issue 5. Then as long it is a Clint focused book it deals with the tracksuit mafia plot. This is exactly something I dislike but I really enjoy how Fraction handles it here. The reason I enjoy it is there are very little points where the story drags, Fraction is constantly adding new characters and bringing minor civilians into the spotlight. Grills AKA Gilbert is one such civilian.Gilbert is a friend of Clint’s and their friendship is really highlighted in issue 7. *SPOILERS* unfortunately he dies in issue 10 where Fraction introduces the main villain, a hitman known as The Clown is introduced to the book he enters where “Grills” is grilling and shoots him point blank. At that exact moment is when this book really became something interesting because they took the character “Ivan” (who was the main villain at the time) and they made him a secondary villain and added in a far more threatening villain to the book and really amped up the stakes. The reason the death of Grills was such a major highlight is because you could tell that he was someone Clint considered a friend and most likely his only true non superhero friend. Grills really kept Clint grounded and it really helped make Clint seem more human and not just a superrhero. That beings me into the second point that I really liked about this book. Matt Fraction wrote this book in a way that really made Clint feel more then a superhero and more towards a human. What I am trying to say is that Clint feels relatable. When Grills is killed you understand why Clint is heartbroken and you feel a sense of sadness towards his character because he is written in such a relatable way. The final “pro” about the book is the inclusion of Kate Bishop. Now aside from her side story which I will go into detail about in a minute) Kate was a very smart addition into the book because they had a Hawkeye book with multiple Hawkeyes in the book and KAte’s character just fit in so well with Hawkeye and they were complete contrast of each other but that made the book work in so many ways. She has a very on the ball type of personality and Clint has more of a laid back style to him and it just meshed together so well. Another point for originality was the inclusion of Barney Barton who was a Hawkeye for the Dark Avengers. Yes, he is technically a villain but he was used (for the most past) in a heroic role alongside his brother and the bond they share was once again written in a way where you can relate to them and really enjoy when they work together. I could go on and on about this book even longer but I believe it is time to start discussing the flaws of this book. Now, I might be stretching it on some of these but these are what annoyed me the most about the book.
The first negative thing I have to say about this book is the organization of the Kate and Clint issues.I know I said how well Fraction handled two plot with the tracksuit story as the second plot is buildup to Kate’s story but the problem lies in later issues. issues 14, 18 and 20 are Kate centric with a whole new plot and they annoy me because they interrupt the flow of the series. The biggest example is in issue 16 we have have a very dramatic ending and it puts you on the edge of your seat then the next issue is a terrible filler issue and then we have a Kate so if you are buying this series on a monthly basis you have to wait 2 months just to find out what happened to Clint. Now if you buy the books in bulk then you don’t have as much trouble but the organization could have been much better. I would suggest just eliminate the Kate issues and have her story broken up in a small side story added in at the end of each issue, that way the story flows smoothly and is virtually uninterrupted This series had very few filler books and that was great. There were only true one issue filler stories and the first one was great. It basically took you into the life of Clint’s dog Lucky and it was very enjoyable but the arn Christmas issue was anything but enjoyable. It was such a boring book that made no sense and was in no way entertaining. Whenever I reread the Hawkeye series I always reread the dog filler book but I always stay clear of the christmas issue because it takes you away from the story and really had no purpose in the slightest. The final negative point I have for this series is the amount of times the writer made you think Clint Barton would die at the end of an issue. You knew the book is not about to end and killing off Clint would make so sense. I mean I think this happened 3 times MAYBE 4 but that was 2-3 times too many. Not a major complaint but a small nitpick.
Overall this series is phenomenal and I highly advised checking it out. The story is well developed, the multiple character inclusion was a perfect idea and it really make Clint Barton feel relatable. I also advise checking out the annual. It is the introduction to the Kate story but it will give you a chance to see if you would like to read the KAte side story or if you just want to stick with Clint. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed. If you did enjoy this then feel free to “Like” Comic Conversations on Facebook. Uploads will be less frequent but I will try to maintain a consistent schedule.