“All-New Hawkeye” #6 wraps up Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring’s time on the title, which — including the previous series that stopped due to “Secret Wars” — ran for 11 issues in total. Now that the dust has settled, the creative team provides a strong, cohesive conclusion to a comic that followed up on Matt Fraction, David Aja and Annie Wu’s “Hawkeye” legacy as much as it forged its own direction.
The first three issues of “All-New Hawkeye” flashed forward to a possible future where Team Hawkeye didn’t reunite and save the kids from Project Communion, so it’s apt that the remaining three issues regularly flashed back to Kate Bishop’s days before she joined the Young Avengers. These scenes simultaneously explain Kate’s admiration for Clint and remind us what a strong person she was before ever putting on a costume. That’s important in no small part because — just like Clint — Kate doesn’t have any sort of fabulous power to give her an edge; she’s a self-made hero and everything she’s capable of comes from determination and effort. It also brings home the amount of betrayal Kate felt at the end of the previous “All-New Hawkeye” series; Clint isn’t just someone who inspired her to join the Young Avengers, but a figure from her early life that showed her heroism in action.
This isn’t all about Kate, though. Clint’s plan to save the Project Communion kids wraps up here with one final fight against Hydra. Considering that the Hawkeyes had to save them from both Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. the first time around, it makes perfect sense that Clint, Kate and Barney end up fighting off the rival organization as well. It’s a suitable wrap-up to the storyline: Clint and Barney’s relationship enters of the final stages of healing, and the kids end up in a place where they can grow up happily and out of harm’s way. What’s more, Lemire allocates enough time for the fight without sacrificing a good aftermath sequence. It’s satisfying and — even before you get to the letter column, which lets readers know this is the last issue of the series — it feels like a strong conclusion to everything Lemire, Perez and Herring dreamed up.
Perez and Herring’s work here is as strong as ever. I love how Perez and Herring’s present-day sequence is a strong nod to what Aja and Matt Hollingsworth created on “Hawkeye” without being a carbon copy. Perez draws strong, delineated figures that are just as good at giving abashed looks as they are at punching Hydra goons in the mouth. Herring’s colors echo Hollingsworth’s work with strong, beautiful hues; the deep purple of the Hawkeye outfit, the greens of Hydra uniforms and even the floral print of Barney’s shirt are thought out in a way that looks cohesive and attractive.
For the flashbacks, Perez provides a beautiful painted look, and some moments — like young Kate socking the Matador in the face with her book bag — are so energetic you can almost feel the impact yourself. I love how his color choices for these pages are much more faded and diminished than the present day scenes; it’s a deliberate shift away from Herring’s work, so that you can tell the difference at a glance, and it also brings to mind the quality of old photographs. Perez’s use of different art styles for separate time periods (and that includes a third style for the flash forwards in “All-New Hawkeye” #1-3) is impressive and versatile without ever feeling flashy.
I’m really going to miss “All-New Hawkeye,” and — considering this was a series many fans once thought unnecessary — that’s a huge achievement. Lemire, Perez and Herring brought a strong authorial voice to this series, just like the previous “Hawkeye” series from Fraction, Aja and Wu, and they go out on a high note with a strong conclusion. Just be warned; once you read “All-New Hawkeye” #6, you’ll want to sit down and read all eleven comics back-to-back — but there are worse fates in life.