Regardless of whether they fight crime with extraordinary skills or superhuman powers all of the Marvel Universe's heroes share a common vulnerability and strength, family. That's because no one can raise us up or tear us down like our blood and chosen relatives. The sinister Madame Masque is aware of this, and that's why in the latest arc of the new Hawkeye series, by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Leonard Romero, she's engineered a scheme that will force the titular archer turned L.A. based private eye to deal with her conflicted feelings about her fractured family. The first part of Masque's scheme? Bring Hawkeye [AKA Kate Bishop] face to face with her ruthless and estranged father.
Kate's blood relations won't be the only relationships Thompson will explore this summer. In the August one-shot Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye she and artist Stefano Raffaele will take a look at Kate's dynamic with a member of her chosen family as time travel brings her face to face with a younger version of her former partner, the original Hawkeye, Clint Barton. CBR spoke with Thompson about the one-shot; the current arc of Hawkeye; and the dynamics between Kate and, her friends, family, and foes.
CBR: In Hawkeye #7 you dove into the mystery surrounding Kate's complicated family life by having her come face to face with her father at the end of the issue. The flashbacks from this issue and some of the previous Hawkeye runs before yours suggests to me that when it came to her family Kate has a lot of bottled up feelings that she hasn't confronted yet. Is that true?
Kelly Thompson: Yeah. I think Kate has a lot of stuff with her family that she’s been ignoring, mostly because she doesn’t want to face it. She thought she had one life/past and the more she’s seen (and uncovered) the more she’s realized that things were not as they seemed. But in true Kate Bishop style, once she realized there was a problem she decided to run headlong toward the thing that scares her. She doesn’t know another way. But she’s very focused on her dad in all of this. Her dad not being who she thought he was, who she wanted him to be, but there are some more layers here than just her dad being a bad guy.
Issue #7 also referenced her sister Susan, who I don't believe we've seen play a role in Kate's life for some time. What's your sense of Kate and Susan's relationship? And do you have plans for Susan to appear any time soon?
I think Kate and Susan live very different lives and don’t think they have a lot in common. They have taken very different paths – admittedly Kate’s path is a pretty rare one – and they’ve become rather estranged. I think some of that is deliberate on Kate’s part, she has fears about where she comes from and what that means for her and on some level Susan is part of that. Kate’s definitely going to have some interaction with Susan in this story…how much and what that means, you’ll have to wait and see!
How big a role do Kate's friends and professional acquaintances play in this current story? It felt like in issue #7 her friends and Detective Rivera both picked up on the fact that whatever Kate was involved in was impacting her in a big way.
Kate is a very honest character, she’s not great at lying or hiding things, and much of that is deliberate – she doesn’t want to be that person – especially now that she perceives her father that way. And for her friends and colleagues, when you’re naturally such an outgoing and charismatic figure, someone that is almost relentless in their optimism…when that’s your “default state” it’s pretty easy to see when something is “off” with someone like that.
Another relationship I was curious about that you hinted at in Hawkeye #7 was the one between Kate and her arch-enemy Madame Masque. What can you tell us about the dynamic between Kate and Madame Masque? Do these two characters hate each other? And if so why do you think that is?
Without giving anything away, I think it’s a fair assumption that Madame Masque doesn’t dig up emotionally charged artifacts from your past and trick you into confronting your father for the average superhero that annoys her, and she doesn’t do that without a plan in mind. I don’t think Kate truly hates anyone, not even Masque, she doesn’t – as a rule - carry around toxic crap like that. But Masque sending her such a personal trigger – is definitely not helping their relationship. Madame Masque definitely hates Kate. I think she feels Kate is beneath her as an arch, and yet Kate – this relentless upbeat KID - is constantly getting the upper hand on Masque. I also think Masque has some deep jealousies where Kate is concerned, though she’d be the last to admit it.
What else can you tell us about the action and events of this arc?The cover to the issue suggests this might be a painful and mind bending story for Kate.
Issue 7 was my favorite issue we’ve done so far, but I have to say, we just locked down #8 and I like it almost as much. Issue 8 definitely digs deeper into this mystery of Kate’s father and also begins to explore what Madame Masque may or may not have up her sleeve. It is definitely going to get worse (and more painful) for Kate before it gets better – but the only way out is through – as they say. I’m sure I’ve heard SOMEONE say that.
This arc that kicked off with issue 7 goes all the way through Hawkeye 11! We’re gonna be solving some mysteries, we’re gonna be plumbing some emotional depths, we’re gonna be punching things and doing finger guns! Prepare yourselves!
Leonardo Romero returned to Hawkeye in a big way with issue #7, which a featured fantastic Kill Bill style double page spread fight scene between Kate and a horde of suit clad thugs. What's it like writing action scenes for Leonardo? How did this particular sequence come about?
Leo is so fantastic to work with, I can’t even tell you. You ask for these specific things and as you write them you’re thinking, “Oh, I hope this isn’t asking too much…” and then he blows away your expectations EVERY time. That DPS fighting sequence in issue 7, I had written that pretty tightly requesting a few Kates in this one huge panel so we could see her working her way through the lobby…and what did he give us!?! He gave us SO MANY KATES and they were incredible. That scene, I mean, if I wasn’t already in love with Leo’s work that would have been the clincher. We had done another version of this – but much more simple in issue 2 and I just really wanted us to take it to the next level and remind everyone how freaking talented Kate Bishop really is! And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention colorist Jordie Bellaire who has put such an indelible mark on this series. I think she once described it as Hollywood Neo-Noir meets Miami Vice…and when she said that I just knew this book was going to look amazing.
In August, you're finally getting a chance to write Kate and her mentor, Clint Barton with the Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye one-shot, except it looks like in the story Kate suddenly finds herself working alongside a younger version of Clint. What's it like writing this version of Clint and bouncing him off of Kate?
So exciting! I’ve wanted to write Clint for a while now, but ideally not JUST Clint, but Clint and Kate together. And I have to say it did not disappoint. I had so much fun with their story. They have an absolutely magical chemistry that just sings on the page. I love it!
Can you leave us with some hints or teases about the action and other characters that will appear in Hawkeye & Hawkeye? What's it like working with Italian artist Stefano Raffaele on this issue?
Stefano’s doing really cool work – we have a sort of atypical for Hawkeyes setting for the book and we’re having a lot of fun with that. We’ve also got a lot of very cool guest stars and cameos and Stefano is making the most of all of it. I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say about who will actually be showing up…but the conceit centers around a “greatest marksman of all time” competition…so I think you can make some fair guesses about who might show for such a thing. [Laughs]
I wanted to finish by thanking the fans. We’ve had a lot of love for this book and we really appreciate it at Team Hawkeye. I would write this book with this amazing team on my deathbed if I could (be that tomorrow or 100 years from now) – it’s so magical when a book can come together with a team in such excellent sync, a book with a strong, clear vision and it’s so great that the fans are responding to what we’re doing. New books are a tough sell and I really appreciate the support we’ve gotten across the board, we’re very lucky!