Saturday, 3 September 2016

Hawkeye, Volume 6: Hawkeyes Review (Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez)

This is the first Hawkeye book in years that I haven’t enjoyed - damn you, Jeff Lemire! 


Continuing the storyline from the last book uninterrupted (wow, what an impact Secret Wars had, eh?), Kate’s not happy that they handed over the Project Communion kids to SHIELD leading to a rift in her and Clint’s friendship. There’s a future flash-forward storyline showing what would have happened if the Hawkeyes had broken up their partnership and a flashback origin story for Kate. Oy, this is a messy book – easy to see why Marvel pulled the plug on the series! 

Let’s take these one terrible storyline at a time. 

The present-day storyline: was anyone that invested in the psionic kids from the last book? That nonsense was barely enough for one volume let alone two! It was a snore to revisit and all it led to was the “Kate being mad at Clint leading to tensions between them” thing that’s been done before and better in Matt Fraction/David Aja’s run. Do something else with these characters, Lemire! The only good thing about this storyline was Ramon Perez’s artwork which mimics David Aja’s iconic style. 

The 30 years in the future storyline: totally irrelevant. This timeline doesn’t even really happen given the events of the present-day storyline SO WHY BOTHER WITH IT AT ALL!? It’s not entertaining and this one doesn’t even have good art – Perez, who differs his style for each storyline, goes for bare-bones sketchy lines, probably to accentuate the tenuous nature of the timeline, but it still looks really bad. 

The past storyline: could’ve been much better. In the last book we got Clint’s origins so I guess it’s Kate’s turn? She comes from a wealthy family and dotes on her dad but finds out that he’s a criminal working with supervillains and turns away from him, choosing to fight crime and idolising Hawkeye instead. 

So in LA Woman when she gets cut off from her dad’s money, she was ok with where he got his cash and was happy to live on it? That’s not the impression I got from Kate’s reaction here – seems like she pretty definitively wants nothing more to do with Pa Bishop! And also she discovers her dad is a criminal again in LA Woman so why is she having this epiphany here instead of in the future - unless she’s constantly forgetting her dad’s crooked? 

Maybe Secret Wars fucked with the timelines, you say, hence the inconsistency. Except everything else from Fraction/Aja’s run, the pre-Secret Wars Hawkeye, is still in play here, even the numbering - this is Volume 6, the first four were by Fraction/Aja. We even revisit Barney’s new life even though Lemire adds nothing worthwhile to Fraction/Aja’s perfect picture-postcard finale for Clint’s brother at the end of Rio Bravo. 

Kate’s also at this point basically already Hawkeye in all but name – she’s somehow this pre-teen ass-kicking machine despite only having had some ballet lessons! She sees Hawkeye, likes his bow, and that’s her origin. It’s just bad writing from Lemire. Perez’s art looks quite rushed here too. 

I realise it’s not fair to expect Lemire/Perez to measure up to Fraction/Aja’s Hawkeye when their run was such a game-changer but I was hoping for an amount of innovation or at the very least imagination with this title either visually or with the storytelling and there’s none of that here. 

Also, Fraction set up a tantalising potential story at the end of Rio Bravo where mobsters and supervillains, with a focus on Kate’s dad, meet and decide to assassinate the Hawkeyes – I don’t know why Lemire ignored that entirely to tell us two pointless past and future storylines but it was a frustrating missed opportunity. 

I liked the nod to Kate’s Young Avengers past (also not wiped out by Secret Wars) when she goes for drinks and dancing with Ms America and, though it wasn’t needed, it was nice to see Barney doing well after the shit he went through in Fraction/Aja’s run. Overall, very few bright spots! 

Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez fail to hit the target, closing out their Hawkeye run with an uninspired book that fails to live up to these beloved characters. Hawkeyes is a disappointing continuation of the Clint/Kate/Pizza Dog saga but at least Marvel had the sense to put an end to it before Lemire could do any more damage!

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