Month in and month out, this title is on the bottom of my stack of reads. “Why the bottom?” you ask. The answer is simple; I’m a “best-for-last” reader. I like to read the titles I know I’m going to enjoy later on. And this one is definitely among the best this week had to offer.
McCann has written an energetic and energizing story since issue #1 and it has all been building up to what happens in this issue as Hawkeye and Mockingbird square off with Phantom Rider and Crossfire. The drama, however, doesn’t end when the bad guys get beat down and hauled away. There’s plenty of drama, intrigue, surprises and edge-of-your-seat action. It’s a super-spy thriller that desperately wants to be a superhero comic and the end result is one heck of a great read. McCann’s Hawkeye is as human as you and me, right down to the point where LÃ³pez draws out Hawkeye’s point of view following a severe beatdown on Crossfire. You can almost hear the thoughts in Hawkeye’s head and feel the queasiness in his stomach as you realize that a line has been crossed and we’re right there with Clint.
McCann and LÃ³pez forego the standard “Previously. . .” to deliver a page filled with dossiers on the main characters of this story. From there, they jump in to a soliloquy from Hamilton Slade – one of the Phantom Riders – that delivers everything a new reader needs to know. That’s right, five issues in, a new reader can pounce on this book and run alongside the action. Sure, the rolling monolog from Slade gets a little haughty at times, but this is, after all, a comic book.
LÃ³pez, LÃ³pez, and Fairbairn have been consistently impressive on this title. Today it’s rare to see a penciler maintain a monthly schedule for art let alone a penciler, inker, and colorist sticking together through five solid issues. This trio is to be commended. They blended nicely out of the gate, but their work together continues to shine in each and every issue. Not only has “Hawkeye & Mockingbird” become a must-read book for me, but the art has been so pleasant to look at that I find myself just flipping through issues again long after I’ve read them. Consistency is the key to excellence and this book is rocking both right now.
The saga with the Slades and their integration in the lives of Hawkeye and Mockingbird has made for an intense read. This comic has been one of my very favorite books over the past five months. It has consistently delivered surprises and excitement. Each issue has had a line or two of chuckle-worthy dialog, a gasp-worthy surprise and lots of fantastic art. I’m curious to see where it goes from here. One thing I can be certain of, it’s going to be fun.