Hawkeye kinda gets a raw deal in the Avengers film released last year. While I feel like Jeremy Renner nailed Clint Barton, he didn't quite get to show off what makes him so great. He's the spanner in the works. The wildcard. The rebel. Hawkeye was Wolverine before Wolverine was Wolverine. Well, without the psycho killer part. He was the first team member in the comics to butt heads with Captain America. However in the movieverse, it just wasn't meant to be as that role was (justifiably) handed off to Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. As a result, Clint was left out in the cold as a brainwashed Loki henchman. Still, Renner brings the perfect level of cowboy confidence to the table. Beyond all else, that's what Hawkeye is: an urban cowboy. A sheriff defender of justice.
Now even I would have admitted up until this month that the prospect of a Hawkeye solo movie was weak. He works best as the agitator and that just wouldn't fly in a solo flick. However, Matt Fraction and David Aja's take of him in a new Marvel NOW series has more than proven me wrong.
So what outstanding activities does Hawkeye get up to?
Well, he saves a dog.
And pays some rent.
And breaks up a small time gambling ring.
And it's incredible.
I'm understating what actually goes on in this comic, but the down-to-earth feel is what makes it so good. Clint Barton is not superhuman: he's human. Matt Fraction milks that fact for every cent it's worth. Despite some superhero stuff overseas with Madame Masque, most of the series deals with Hawk either dealing with small-scale problems or having a small indiscretion blow up his face like a classic comedy. And this book is funny. Really funny, aided greatly by Clint's partnership with the other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop.
Her inclusion is without a doubt the best use of any member of the Young Avengers outside their own series. She's antagonistic, she's sarcastic and she always seems a step ahead. Essentially, she's Hawkeye's own personal Hawkeye and steals virtually every scene she's in (even when you're unaware she's in it.) Clint clearly sees her value and, of course, hilariously says the worst thing possible when proposing a partnership. That's just the way this book is.
And then there's the art! Again, I don't always mention it but Aja's style is fantastic. It looks smooth yet gritty, the perfect mesh for these characters and the circumstances they find themselves in.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. The best part is you don't need to have a clue about any continuity to enjoy it.
Can't wait for part two.