Man, it must be super rough to follow a creative team like Matt Fraction and David Aja. When they, along with Ed Brubaker, left Immortal Iron Fist, the vacuum of talent was really felt. Nothing against Duane Swierczynski, but it just wasn't the same, despite Travel Foreman's awesome art.
Aja and Fraction made their mark on Hawkeye too, as "Hawkguy" became a classic hit and a place to set a first foot into the Marvel Universe. Hawkeye being a simple character to follow (guy who shoots arrows does heroic deeds), they brought him back down to a simple storyline and singular purpose; it's easier to relate to a guy just trying to keep his apartment building safe as opposed to unraveling the great Hickman mysteries over in Avengers. He has his faults, his close friends seem to be more human next to him (Tony Stark helping him set up his VCR is one of my favorite dialogues in the series), the women in his life seem to have a reason to be attracted to or letting go of him; this seems like someone we know.
The best news is that he's still that guy. It may say "All-New Hawkeye" on the cover, but the new first issue by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Pérez still brings us the same Clint Barton we know and love. At first, the watercolor sections seem jarring, like we might be getting further into the psyche of our hero -- and we are, still within the world that Fraction and Aja started. Both Hawkeyes are in the book, as is Barney Barton through flashbacks, a character often forgotten and I'm glad to see remembered as part of Clint's life.
The real-time events still have that clear line and a designed feel that makes action pop in-between the dreamier watercolor moments. The art style was super important to how we read the last Hawkeye series, and I'm glad to see that Pérez can not only keep up, but also change the game with his own vivid style. The combination of techniques creates this great form of tension as we get to the end's big reveal. Lemire keeps up the snappy pattern between Kate and Clint as they fight of HYDRA and sucks you into the drama of the flashbacks told from a childlike point of view.
For anyone who was hesitant to pick up the new series who were fans of the old, please do yourself a favor and keep up the Hawkguy love with All-New Hawkeye #1. For anyone who missed the last series and wants to know what all the fuss is about, please try this book. And if you're sick of huge universe-shattering events and want to watch fools get shot with trick arrows, Hawkeye is your guy.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]