Lemire's "All-New Hawkeye" Explores the Avenging Archers' Past, Present & Future

If you say the name Hawkeye in the Marvel Universe, be prepared to make it clear exactly which Hawkeye you're referring to. Clint Barton, best known for his exploits with the Avengers, and Kate Bishop who adopted the identity upon joining the Young Avengers both share the moniker in the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. Writer Matt Fraction and artists David Aja, Annie Wu and Matt Hollingsworth showed in their acclaimed "Hawkeye" series that when the Hawkeyes are not adventuring with their respective teams they're often combining their efforts to combat crime and help out everyday folk. Calling their partnership easy would be a pretty serious misnomer, however. The series ended with the duo reuniting after a break-up, but a new threat recently emerged and threatens to destroy the Avenging Archers' partnership once and for all.

Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Ramon Perez began documenting that threat in the initial volume of their "All-New Hawkeye" series, which flash backed to Clint's early days alongside his brother Barney and told a present day tale that found Clint and Kate at odds over how best to handle a group of powerful young children whom Hydra experimented on. Lemire and Perez pick up right where they left off following the Marvel Universe-destroying "Secret Wars" event in yet another "All-New" volume of the new volume of the series which explored the fall out of the Hawkeyes' disagreement and took readers to a possible future where they reunited to tackle the case that broke them apart so many years ago.

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CBR News spoke with Lemire about the events of the issue and his plans for the new series, covering everything from characters like Barney Barton and the Mandarin, the joy of creating a possible future for the Marvel U with Perez, and how Clint and Kate view the Hawkeye legacy.

CBR News: When you and Ramon kicked off your run on "All-New Hawkeye" you began telling a tale of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop in the present and Clint and Barney in the past. Now with this new volume the action is focusing on the present day and a possible future. What inspired you to tell this tale? What made you want to look at the past, present and possible future of Clint Barton and Kate Bishop?

Jeff Lemire: This structure was always part of the plan for our Hawkeye run. It really comes down to exactly what you said, I wanted to explore the relationship of Clint and Kate, and also what it means to be Hawkeye, from multiple angles.

And, it was a lot of fun creating this possible future for Clint and Kate and see a glimpse of the woman Kate will become and the the man Clint will become.

"All-New Hawkeye" #1 showed glimpses of the both the present and that possible future as we saw Clint and Kate's partnership unravel in the present day and then come back together in the future. This is not the first time Kate has left Clint to see what it's like to be Hawkeye on her own, and we saw how important it was to her to keep the Hawkeye identity going in the future. It seems that Kate and Clint view what it means to be Hawkeye differently. Is that correct? Does the legacy of Hawkeye mean more to Kate than it does to Clint?

I don't think it means more to Kate, but I do think it means very different things to them and that's really what the story is about; what Hawkeye is to each and how their entire lives have shaped this. It's not just about what Hawkeye means to them though, it's about what they each mean to one another too.

In issue #1 we saw future Kate and Clint embark on a mission to rectify the mistake they made with the Project Communion kids, but can you offer up some hints about the activities their present day selves will become embroiled in during this initial arc now that they've gone their separate ways?

I'm not big on spoilers, so I don't want to get specific here. But we will see each trying to be Hawkeye without the other and it is probably safe to say that doesn't go as planned. We will also see things they do in the present set up and affect what we are seeing in the future. I like that kind of cause and effect story.

If the solicits are any indication some of the present day action will involve the relationship between Clint and his brother Barney, which is obviously different from their past relationship given all the things that happened to them over the years, especially recently in Matt Fraction's "Hawkeye." So what's your sense of the relationship between Clint and Barney when you pick it back up in this volume?

Given how important Barney was to the first arc we did, it felt like Barney had to be a part of the present story as well. We needed to see the end result of the events we saw with Clint and Barney in the past. It will also be consistent with what we saw in the Fraction run as well. We will pick up with Barney after the events of Fraction's run and tie all of that together with what's happening to Clint and Kate now.

The action in the future portions of the story take place in a world designed by you and Ramon, and it's fairly evident you two are having a lot of fun with that setting. What's it like building this vision of the future with Ramon?

It's a blast. I love the drawing style and color approach that Ramon and Ian Herring developed for the future storyline. It's really unique and works in perfect contrast to what they were doing with the past sequences and the present stuff. We will get to see more of this future Marvel U as the story unfolds. We'll get to glimpse other characters close to Kate and Clint, including some Young Avengers!

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In "All-New Hawkeye" #1 future Clint and Kate ran afoul of the Mandarin. What can you tell us about this future Mandarin and what made you want to bring the character into this story?

We wanted a villain with an international profile, and the Mandarin really fit this. It gave us a chance to put Kate and Clint up against a very powerful villain, not just the grounded, street level threats we've seen so far. We'll see more of the Mandarin's motivations and personality in issue #2 and it's a lot of fun to play him off of the Hawkeyes.

We've touched a little bit on Ramon's art, but I don't think it can be understated what he brings to the series. How does it feel to continue this collaboration with a new volume? And one of the things I love about Ramon is how versatile and chameleon like his style is. The stories in issue #1 had almost completely different feels and styles and the present and past tales in the last volume had distinct looks as well.

Ramon is an incredible cartoonist and storyteller. In that respect, there are few artists today that can touch Ramon. And, just as you said, he is incredibly versatile and willing to experiment and try new things. He develops a language with his style, storytelling and the color approach that is unique to the story and fits it perfectly.

Finally, Hawkeye has always been about the adventures Clint and Kate get up to when they're not with a team, but that doesn't mean their teammates don't occasionally show up to play a role in their series. Right now Clint is part of a very interesting team in the form of the New Avengers, a group that includes a rich leader in the form of Sunspot and two of Kate's former teammates from the Young Avengers. You mentioned we'll be seeing some Young Avengers soon in "All-New Hawkeye." Are you interested in having Clint and Kate's current and former teammates drop by the book from time to time?

Yes! We will see some of the New Avengers in issue #2 and we will also see some of the other Young Avengers in #2 and #3. It was great to bring those characters into the story.

Wait until you see what comes next in "All-New Hawkeye." When we finish this future story in issue #3, the story takes a huge shift again, and I'm pretty excited about where it goes.

"All-New Hawkeye" #2 is scheduled for release December 9, 2015 from Marvel Comics.

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