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Comic Review: All-New Hawkeye #1

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor

Fans of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye can be put at ease because the transition to the new creative team in All-New Hawkeye is a seamless one.

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Illustrator: Ramón Pérez
Colorist: Ian Herring with Ramón Pérez

If you are new to all things Hawkeye, this is the comic to jump right in. As long as you know that Clint Barton is the bow-and-arrow wielding man behind the mask (or rather, no mask these days), you are good to go. Actually, scratch that. He also has a partner who shares the moniker of “Hawkeye.” Her name is Kate Bishop and she is equally charming and talented as an archer as he is. So just like Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye, this relaunch remains focused on the adventures of both Hawkeyes and more!

All-New Hawkeye #1 opens up with a flashback of Clint and his older brother Barney spending quality time together as children. However, these flashbacks aren’t just fun and games. They also reveal harsh times shared between the two orphaned brothers, which will ultimately affect the Clint we know today. Cut to the present and as usual, we find Clint and Kate in the thick of battle while exchanging banter and one-ups along the way. Seriously, they talk as if they were on their casual morning jog and it is wonderful. As ordered by S.H.I.E.L.D, their objective is to find what Clint calls the “secret weapons cache,” so off in their adventure they go to uncover deep, dark secrets.

This first issue is very flashback-heavy, and that isn’t a bad thing. It works well for the type of story Jeff Lemire appears to want to tell, interwoven throughout the main story that follows Clint and Kate. What’s great about the flashbacks is how it parallels the actions Clint and Kate are taking in the present. The transition between past and present is seamless and connected. It’s not simply a bunch of self-contained flashbacks that will accumulate and relate to what will happen at the end of the issue or story arc like some cheap plot twist. The flashbacks in All-New Hawkeye work side-by-side with the present to tell a comprehensively intertwined story. You ultimately get the feeling it will be rewarding in the end.

Regardless of whether you’ve read Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye or not, Lemire does not disappoint. He stays true to the characterizations Fraction previously set out for Clint and Kate, and the tone of the comic for the most part remains the same. It is still lighthearted and comical, and Clint and Kate continue to be witty and likeable as ever, getting themselves into the most unfortunate situations.

While the tone is comical, it does shift into what I like to call Jeff Lemire territory. If you have ever read Lemire’s Essex County, Sweet Tooth, or Animal Man (to name a few), there is a trend: themes of family, hope, sadness, nostalgia, and bittersweet endings. These same themes appear to be seeping its way through into All-New Hawkeye as well. The signs are all there and frankly, I’m okay with it being Lemire-esque. Yes, I’m making up words.

The art by Ramón Pérez is remarkable in many ways. Following the shoes of David Aja is no easy feat, yet Pérez has managed to go above and beyond. The scenes with Clint and Kate greatly reflect the influence Aja has on Pérez. He keeps the art style pretty much intact, but still makes it his own with its upbeat nature both in tone and bright colors, and giving it a very 90s cartoon vibe. While I don’t want to say Pérez’s art looks the same as Aja, they are similar and should help relax Aja fans that are not entirely ready for change.

With that said, Pérez does bring something huge and new to the table and it is all done in the flashbacks. There is a stark contrast between how the past and present are communicated, and it is hard to believe it is just one artist that drew the whole issue. The scenes with a young Clint and Barney are stunning, illuminated by the watercolors of Ian Herring. The art nostalgically whisks the reader away to a time of Clint’s innocence, yet also foreshadows with its purple and pink hues, the boy Clint was and the man he will come to be.

If you were not a fan of Hawkeye before, you will be now. Make sure to check this comic out!

4.0 out of 5.0