Finding justice outside the law is something that comes natural for both superheroes and private detectives. It’s no surprise, then, that in the Marvel Universe the two roles often go hand to hand. In fact, New York City is full of super-powered characters who make ends meet by working as gumshoes. So it just makes sense that in the new “Hawkeye” series, by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonardo Romero, aspiring superhero P.I. Kate Bishop opened up an office of her own — though she chose to hang her shingle in Los Angeles.
In “Hawkeye” #1-4, readers saw Kate in action on her first real case where she made some new friends and searched for the whereabouts of her missing and criminally connected father. Now that Kate has the lay of the land, it’s time for her to learn more tricks of her chosen trade. In “Hawkeye” #5, she’ll get a chance to do just that as her friend and mentor, veteran super-powered private investigator Jessica Jones, arrives in L.A.
CBR spoke with Thompson about the dynamic between Kate and Jessica, the case they’ll team up for, and the role Kate’s missing father will play in the book moving forward.
CBR: “Hawkeye” #4 ended with the revelation that Kate came to Los Angeles to look for her father, Derek Bishop. In both Matt Fraction and Jeff Lemire’s “Hawkeye” runs, we learned that Kate’s father was involved in criminal dealings. Can you talk about how Kate thinks about and views her father?
Kelly Thompson: Well, I don’t want to give too much away here — the second half of our “year,” beginning with issue six is going to largely spin around the mysteries of Kate’s past including what her father’s been up to and what she hopes to do about that, if anything. But let’s be real; we all know Kate, she’s gonna do something — she just doesn’t know what it is yet. She really hasn’t had enough information yet to know for sure how she feels about anything, but that’s all going to change in the coming months.
We’ve always considered ourselves one part detective story and one part superhero story — Kate’s superhero history, plus needing a job that pays actual money, plus Kate trying to solve the mysteries of her past all dovetail really nicely into one another. As you said, we’ve established clearly that Kate returned to LA searching for her father. This first case she took might be bigger than she thought, and connected to her father somehow, which feels like a very uncomfortable coincidence for her and one she’s got to get to the bottom of as soon as possible.
Kate’s next case brings her face to face with a visitor to L.A., Jessica Jones. Longtime fans of Kate know there’s a bond between the two characters that goes back the early days of the Young Avengers, when Jessica investigated the team and its members. It feels like that bond has grown, though. What’s your sense of the relationship between Kate and Jessica?
Yeah, absolutely. We got a great peek at the bond between Jessica and Kate early on in Kate’s life as a superhero. We haven’t seen much between them since then, but my personal canon is that they’ve always remained in touch. Someone that has that much impact in your life at such a critical moment is never far from you, I think. When Jessica shows up in L.A., she’s working on a missing persons case, and she either asks for Kate’s help, or allows Kate to help, depending on your perspective. [Laughs] Kate jumps at the opportunity to learn from someone that is not only a mentor of sorts to her, but a legend when it comes to the P.I. business.
Jessica isn’t the only person to come into Kate’s life; by the end of “Hawkeye” #4, she had made some new friends in Mikka Nguyen, Ramone, Quinn and Johnny. She’s also established a relationship with LAPD Detective Rivera. How big a role will these characters play in this new arc and the series moving forward?
They’re definitely Kate’s core cast moving forward, and I hope we’ll have lots of room for them to spread their wings. (Or throw elbows, whatever!) It can be tough to find the right balance between your lead and supporting cast, and throwing in a big guest star like Jessica Jones right away can threaten that balance a little bit, but I really love them all. I have good plans for them that I hope will be juicy and rewarding and force readers to fall for them as I have. Kate’s headed for a very emotional year, and Mikka, Ramone, Rivera, Quinn and Johnny are poised to play a big part in that.
What can you tell us about the case that Kate and Jessica Jones become embroiled in during “Hawkeye” #5? Who or what are they trying to uncover?
The case is a pretty simple missing persons case, but like most P.I. stories, there’s a lot more to the case once Jess and Kate begin to scratch the surface. Because it’s only a two-issue arc, we can’t go too deep — well, not if we still want to find time to jam in roughly a thousand jokes (which I obviously feel the need to do). But I think there are some good turns in our story that will delight fans of both Kate and Jess. They have incredible chemistry on the page together. One, the seasoned often beleaguered veteran, and one, the rookie full of boundless enthusiasm who just won’t shut up — it’s magic!
[Laughs] What can you offer up about the obstacles and adversaries Kate will be up against in this new arc? Will we see both new and familiar antagonists?
Well, since Kate’s story is very much a detective story, a lot of it working for readers hinges on well-turned surprises, so I’m hesitant to give too much away. I will tease that this is going to be a really emotional arc for Kate, much more so than the first arc, which wasn’t as personal for her, though it ended up in a pretty personal place. We’ll really be pushing on Kate – everything that she’s good at and everything that she’s not so good at it — and we’ll be seeing some familiar faces popping up as she unravels these mysteries.
The first arc featured work by Leonardo Romero, and I understand Michael Walsh will be bringing this second arc to life. Both artists are perfect for this book since they have a knack for combining the fantastic elements of the Marvel U with street level crime fiction style realism. Plus I also wanted to take a minute to call out the amazing work colorist Jordie Bellaire is doing on this book as well. Her colors really help bring to life that West Coast detective feel.
Man, can I just say — we are so lucky when it comes to artists. It’s like the artist lottery on “Hawkeye!” We have Michael Walsh on board as guest artist for our Jessica Jones guest-starring arc “WWJJD?” with colors still by the excellent (and award-winning!) Jordie Bellaire, who is sticking with us for the duration of “Hawkeye.” And then Leo is back for our next arc, beginning with “Hawkeye” #7.
I agree wholeheartedly with your take — it’s not every artist that can handle more street level heroes so effortlessly as they can. Both Romero and Walsh move seamlessly between the neo-noir detective stuff and more bombastic superhero elements, they’re fantastic at that juggling act and it never ceases to impress me, plus they are so good with humor and character work, again, not something every artist can manage. And then to have this gorgeous sort of Hollywood Noir meets Miami Vice aesthetic Jordie has developed for our book (her descriptor, not mine!) tying it all together. Well, we’re all very lucky.
Looking beyond this new arc and into the summer, will you do a “Secret Empire” tie-in? And is any desire to have Kate’s former partner Clint Barton and his growing band of heroes from “Occupy Avengers” pop up in “Hawkeye?”
We actually won’t be tying in to any crossover stuff, which is great for us since I think that event begins right as we’re starting up our big second half which is full of the same kind of sassy neo-noir Kate being Kate hi-jinx, but with higher stakes, bigger drama, and much more personal gut wrenching emotional trauma. Good times! I would love to have Clint show up, but as always, guest stars are tricky because most those stars are busy doing their own things in their own books that you don’t want to monkey with. But we’ll see! I can report however (and to the relief of many it seems!) that Lucky will be showing up soon!
I want to conclude with a huge thanks to all the fans that are supporting the book so far and giving us so much love and a big thanks to my creative team (and fearless editors Sana Amanat and Charles Beacham) for helping put together such a wonderful book. It can be tough to gain traction in comics if you’re not doing “world ending” stuff every month, but I feel like slightly smaller and more personal stories that stand on their own are really important in comics too and I truly think we’re telling a great one. I hope folks that have been hesitant will give us a try, even if it’s not an apocalypse-level threat every month.