I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for team-up books. The moment I saw “Captain America and Hawkeye” #629 solicited, I let my hopes get inflated and take off soaring. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but my expectations weren’t quite met either.
Framing this title as a “buddy cop” type of story, Cullen Bunn uses the beginning of this issue to establish the dynamic between Captain America and Hawkeye through the lens of a fairly uncomplicated plot. Hawkeye is shoot-first-ask-questions-later and Cap disapproves of his impetuousness, but likes his dedication. Their relationship is a compromise built out of respect and ability. Hawkeye enjoys challenging Cap, but Cap wants Hawkeye to continue to strive for more and Bunn makes that quite clear. The writer also inserts some playfulness into the partnership, mostly on Hawkeye’s behalf.
The plot of two heroes stumbling across an alleged government facility that has top-secret projects doesn’t move the story, but the nature of the projects makes all the difference. Cap and Hawkeye offer their assistance and things get complicated from there.
Alessandro Vitti’s artwork isn’t overly complicated. The storytelling is clean and concise and the page structure is classic comic book frame panels. His figures carry themselves heroically, even the civilians, through a densely shadowed world. Vitti’s lines have a brushlike quality to them, creating a style reminiscent of both Scott Kolins and Jim Calafiore. That thicker line frequently casts more shadow on scenes than need be present, giving the story an underpinning of horror. While Vitti’s humans are well drawn, the other creatures in this book are, quite simply, monstrosities. If that’s the goal, it works, but in some instances they look like mutated dinosaurs or even dinosaurs not accurately nor completely drawn.
The first offering of a new “Marvel Team-Up” or “Marvel Two-In-One” type of book has a fair amount of promise. Playing up to the marketability of two stars from this summer’s sure-fire hit feature film is a good way to launch a book and ensure that eyes see the book. Once the eyes get there, Bunn does a good job of offering up an entertaining story, but this issue is far from a complete tale. Successful team-up books of the past were able to master the done-in-one story but thread through a subplot or a few. Hopefully Bunn did his research and employs that formula going forward. For now, however, this is a pretty good start.