Written by: Big Ross, CC2K Staff Writer
In this new, semi-regular column, Bog Ross will tell you his fav comic of the week. This week, it’s Hawkeye #11.
A LOT of comics came out this week. We got new Daredevil, Age of Ultron, the usual dump truck full of X-Men related titles, lots of JLA, new Batman/Superman, and more. But there was one that stood out from the pack. One comic that is exemplary of the greatness of its overall series and genius creators Matt Fraction and David Aja. That is Hawkeye #11. BTW, SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW.
From the beginning, this series has been about following Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, around when he’s not being an Avenger. Of course, that’s not the mundane affair you would would get just following any Joe Schmoe around when he’s “off-duty”. Clint repeatedly finds himself in a position to help people, which almost guarantees getting himself into trouble. Usually this has been at the hands, feet, and baseball b
ats of a bunch of track suit-wearing, “Bro”-quipping, vaguely Eastern European mobsters that Clint is defending an apartment building full of people against. He’s gone so far as to buy the building, moving in and declaring himself protector, landlord, and friend of the residents. Helping him in his “adventures” has been his protege and friend, Kate Bishop, AKA Hawkeye. The two at times seem to vacillate between a friendly (as well as frustrating) mentor/mentee relationship to the barest hints of underlying, unspoken romantic feelings and sexual tension. It’s a testament to Fraction’s writing that this aspect of their relationship is so subtle and nuanced at times I wonder if it’s really there or if I’m reading too much into it. I’m still undecided on this.
Clint has also become friends with two very different individuals that play important roles in issue #11. One is a tenant named Gil, who Clint repeatedly calls Grills, because he’s always up on the roof grilling something an a barbecue (for his part Grills stubbornly calls Clint “HawkGuy”, which has become a running joke in the series). The other is Pizza Dog, AKA Lucky, AKA Arrow, a grey Lab mix/mutt Clint rescues from the “Track Suit Mafia” and dubs Lucky/Pizza Dog (because of his love of pizza, naturally). Fraction has been teasing/promising a Pizza Dog-centric issue nearly from the beginning, and issue #11 is where he and Aja delivers. Boy, do they.
Aja hasn’t been able to draw every issue of Hawkeye, and while other artists have come in and done passable jobs, it has *always* been obvious when Aja isn’t doing the inks on an issue. He has one of the most unique, distinctive styles in comic books today. I can’t praise his work highly enough in this issue. He and Fraction have made a comic with a dog as the main character, where the entire story is told from the dog’s perspective, without anthropomorphizing Pizza Dog (not too much, anyway). Here’s the first page, to get an idea of how Aja is framing the story:
HOL-EEE CRAP. That is amazeballs. I lovelovelove so much about this. How you never get the complete dialogue of human characters, only certain words that you might expect a dog to understand, or at least recognize. The way Aja depicts Lucky detecting and cataloging scents, using them to create detailed maps of his surroundings like the image below.
Lucky’s interactions with other dogs, how Aja can convey so much with Lucky’s facial features, again without going the easy way and making Lucky a Disney-esque caricature of a dog. On the very, very rare occasion that Aja does break and have Lucky do something unnatural, it’s just so damn cute and funny I can only laugh and applaud, as seen below.
This issue is heartbreaking too. Not only because Lucky is solving Grills’ murder (did I mention that? Yeah, poor Grills. He’s murdered in issue #9, then we see his murder again in issue #10, from the point of view of the mysterious hitman in a mime’s facepaint.), but also because we see Lucky violently encounter his former, abusive masters.
Hawkeye #11 is a masterpiece. Plain and simple.
Score: 10 out of 10