When I walked out of the theatre after watching The Avengers last year, I was too blown away by the awesomeness of The Hulk to even remember Jeremy Renner’s performance as Clint Barton (a.k.a.Hawkeye; a.k.a. the guy with the arrows). His role as a member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes had felt rather diminished and seemed like an afterthought. Hawkeye wasn’t nearly as exciting, memorable or as flashy as Thor, Iron Man or even Agent Colson. So when I heard all the buzz behind Matt Fraction’s take on Earth’s Mightiest Marksman, I had to see this for myself.
Fraction basically approaches Hawkeye by treating him as that outsider, the guy in the Avengers without the mind-blowing super powers. He’s not a God, he’s not a super soldier and he’s certainly not a giant green rage monster – Clint Barton is just an exceptionally skilled archer. How he deals with that fact is the core of this series, his missions seem almost secondary – which I’m completely OK with. Marvel has always been known for its strong character development, trying to make the heroes as relatable as possible in an effort to tie the story to the reader in the most emotional way possible. You could write a story about a hero constantly saving the day, taking out the villains over and over again but in the end, it’s the guy behind the mask that keeps the reader coming back and Fraction gives us that in a strong opening to his new project.
I do have a few small complaints though. I absolutely loved David Aja’s work in the first three issues, giving it a style reminiscent of Sean Phillips (one of my favorites). What confused me was the sudden shift to Javier Pulido for issues four and five. Pulido isn’t bad per se, it just made me wonder where Aja went. The final chapter, which is an issue of Young Avengers Presents, seemed tacked on to pad out the book.
I’m interested to see where things go from here. Bring on Volume Two!