Continuing writer Jeff Lemire's exploration of the Hawkeye brand, "All-New Hawkeye" #3 delivers the middle chapter of a five part arc. Having completed their mission, the Hawkeyes (Clint Barton and Kate Bishop) are now in moral morass, trying to figure out how to set things on the proper path once more.
While Lemire uses the fairly generic plot-device-cipher children as the impetus for the story, he is, in fact, expanding the world around the Hawkeyes and giving readers some new -- if only ever-so-slightly-skewed -- views of Kate and Clint. In the tradition of curious comic book kids, the three rescued/weaponized kids take to renaming the cast with labels that have staying power, like "Kate Katie Hawkeye" and "Lucky Lucky Dog." It's cute and endearing and, by choosing to add nuance like this this, Lemire exposes the humanity in "All-New Hawkeye" #3.
Lemire keeps Clint and Kate human through it all and it is their humanity that drives the tale forward, puts them in the fight and defines the cause. Their humanity also acts as a nice comparison to the curiosity in the strip that runs parallel to the "main" story throughout this issue.
Painted in gorgeous watercolors from RamÃ³n Perez, the strip along the bottom quarter of the page chronicles Clint and Barney finding the circus that would forever alter their lives, just as Kate and Clint are set to alter the lives of these children. As the stories run parallel tracks, Perez casts completely visual tones between the present day and yesteryear. His style shines through marvelously in both but, for the present day, colorist Ian Herring keeps Perez's art tidy, with minimal gradients or shading. In the debriefing with Hill, this choice makes everything clerical and formal, but the true benefit of the stylistic array is the warmth and sentimentality that emanates from the bottom strip due to the clarity of the top three-quarters of the issue.
Joe Sabino's lettering is spot on throughout the issue. He plays sing-song with the balloons from the kids as they describe the world around them and he also helps keep Perez's art neat. It looks as though Perez commits most of the sound effects into his drawings, letting Sabino focus on the word balloons throughout. The letterer makes some smart choices, like the connectivity of the banter between Kate and Clint and the subtle point-size variations to indicate Hill whispering as opposed to flat out talking.
"All-New Hawkeye" #3 is a fun, energetic mid-mission chapter in the all new adventures of Hawkeyes Kate and Clint. Neither character supersedes the others in the comic, but Lemire does give Kate some of the more memorable story beats this time out. Once the final cover closes, however, readers will discover that there are moments and comments that stick with them after, like accidentally referring to the next Kate you meet as "Kate Katie Hawkeye." Lemire builds and celebrates memories here, and "All-New Hawkeye" #3 is one of the good ones that should be held onto.