Thursday, 31 July 2014

Hawkeye #19 Review (Matt Fraction, David Aja)

Matt Fraction/David Aja/Matt Hollingsworth continue to put out one quality issue after another though groaning under the weight of Eisner Awards for their work on this series. Like Hawkeye #11 (aka the Pizza Dog issue), Hawkeye #19 sees Fraction and Aja playing with the comic book format, seeing what they can accomplish visually with fewer words.

Following their fateful encounter with the Clown, Clint and his brother Barney are in a bad way. Clint’s temporarily deaf while Barney’s temporarily in a wheelchair. Most of the issue is “silent” (ie. wordless) as its told from Clint’s perspective and Aja uses sign language panels to communicate the dialogue. Some subtitles would’ve been useful as, unless you’re familiar with sign language, you’re unlikely to know what the signs mean, though some you can guess.

Aja flashes back between Clint and Barney’s youth and the present, juxtaposing their current situation with a similar one that happened to them as kids, when Clint was again temporarily deafened. It’s a strong family-themed issue as the two brothers work out their problems the best way brothers do – with their fists – though there’s genuine love between the two that’s very evident on the page.

The last couple of pages imply that we’ve skipped a ton of action as Clint and Barney rally for the fight back against Clown and the Bros, so I guess we’ll see that in forthcoming issues – though unfortunately there’s not many more to go as this creative team’s run is shortly coming to an end.

The art team of Aja and Hollingsworth – do I even need to mention how good they are anymore? Aja’s producing the finest work of his career, with each issue revealing a new inspired take on his style, while Hollingsworth’s colours are among the most striking you’ll see in a superhero comic.

And that’s the other thing: this is a superhero comic! Have you ever seen anything like this issue, and so many others before it, doing the kinds of things it’s doing in a superhero comic before? It’s just amazing what each new issue surprises the reader with. It’s like, not even a week after winning the Best Single Issue Eisner for Hawkeye #11, the team have decided to make their bid for next year’s prize with Hawkeye #19 – and they may very well walk away with it again!

Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth: nobody does it better.

Hawkeye #19

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