After taking the lead for a few issues in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s “Hawkeye” series and then sharing it in Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez’s “All-New Hawkeye,” Kate Bishop finally gets an opportunity to be the outright star of her own series in “Hawkeye” #1 by Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero. In fact, Thompson ensures that Clint Barton is nowhere to be found, allowing the issue to focus fully on Kate and her new supporting cast. With a day job that doesn’t center around being a superhero but allows it to come in handy when needed, Kate’s new life is balanced well by Thompson and strongly characterized by Romero.
As readers learn on the very first page, Kate is now an (un)licensed private detective in the state of California, joining the ranks of Jessica Jones and Jessica Drew as a Marvel Universe private eye who moonlights as a superhero (or vice versa). While on one of her first cases, though, she finds herself entering superhero mode. That’s when both Thompson and Romero bring readers into her head, and it goes to show that — while Kate is serious about both of her jobs — she’s still human. Thompson conveys this through Kate’s first person narrative, while Romero does the same with carefully placed visuals, clearly embellished by both colorist Jordie Bellaire and letterer Joe Sabino.
Despite Kate’s self-professed sass as she foils a bank robbery the way only a Hawkeye can, Thompson and Romero’s subsequent peek at Kate’s everyday life seems anything but sassy at first. Her meager office seems to double as a make-do apartment, and every potential client who comes through her door is looking for everything except her skills as an investigator. Just as she begins to suggest that Kate is down on her luck, Thompson introduces Mikka, a college student and stalking victim who is the first to seek out Kate for legitimate investigative help. Through a verbose but compelling exchange, Thompson establishes a bond between the two characters that sets up Mikka as a player in Kate’s life and reminds readers that Kate is as compassionate as she is heroic.
Going forward, Thompson focuses on Kate’s skills as an investigator, not a superhero, although she does get an opportunity to momentarily assume that role. Thompson’s story sends a loud-and-clear message about the emotional damages caused by stalking and delivers a satisfactory resolution to Mikka’s story without being overbearing or preachy. It’s not the end of Mikka’s involvement in the series, though, as she’s caught up in a surprising twist that caps off the issue, one that seems to foreshadow the presence of a villain familiar to Kate.
Thompson and Romero firmly establish Kate Bishop as an everyday hero in “Hawkeye” #1. While her life might not be glamorous, it’s most certainly heroic on every front. Like Kate herself, “Hawkeye” #1 most definitely has sass.