I loved Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye. In fact, it was about the only work that Fraction ever did for Marvel that I found worth reading. So, I was saddened when I heard that Fraction would be leaving this title. Fraction’s Hawkeye was such a unique labor of love that I was unsure any writer could follow Fraction on this title. Then Marvel announced that they had singed Jeff Lemire to write All New Hawkeye. That was a brilliant move and Lemire was one of the few writers out there that I thought had the ability to follow Fraction on this title. So far, Lemire has done a nice job with All New Hawkeye. Does All New Hawkeye #3 continue that trend? Let’s find out!
Words: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Ramón Pérez
Colors: Ian Herring & Ramón Peréz
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Clint and Kate in a debriefing room on a SHIELD Helicarrier. Maria Hill enters the room and is not happy. Kate rips into Maria and wants to know the location of the three children that HYDRA had created to use as weapons. Maria responds that Kate is not a SHIELD agent and that she didn’t want Kate involved at all because children have no place on SHIELD missions. Maria tells them that she had to turn the children over to another government agency. Maria says SHIELD’s intel on Project Communion, that involved turning the three kids into weapons, was very vague. Maria does not have anymore information for Clint and Kate about Project Communion.
Maria whispers to Clint that there is “someone” out there who wants does not want anything on record about Project Communion. The information about that project has been quarantined and Maria has no access to it. Maria then leans in close to Hawkeye’s ear and asks if the hearing aid that Stark gave him is working. Hawkeye says “Yes.” Maria then whispers that it is not SHIELD who wants the kids back. Maria says she was following orders and cannot disobey them. However, Clint and Kate can.
During this scene, at the bottom of the pages we also see a flashback of Clint and his brother, Barney, sneak into the circus tent and watch the circus show instead of doing their chores.
We cut to Hawkeye and Kate arguing over what to do next. Kate wants to go find the kids and take them in and give them a home. Hawkeye isn’t thrilled with that idea. Hawkeye says that he does not want to become attached. Kate gets mad and says that Hawkeye always wants to avoid taking responsibility. That Clint always pulls away anytime something doesn’t fit in his little comfort zone. Kate tells Hawkeye to go home and hang out with Lucky and be a coward. That she is going to go find the three kids and rescue them.
Kate storms off. Hawkeye stands there and mutters to himself “#%?$ Sidekicks.” Hawkeye then runs after Kate. During this scene we see at the bottom of the pages both Clint and Barney watching the Swordsman perform his act at the circus.
We slide over to the US government scientists talking about what to do with the three kids from Project Communion. We see that the government scientists have the three kids in stasis chambers that keeps them passive and sedate. The scientists say that the three children are incredibly powerful and that sooner or later they have to do is figure out how to get them to pull the trigger.
Suddenly, Hawkeye and Kate enter the room. The scientists exclaim that Hawkeye and Kate must leave immediately. Hawkeye says it is time for a trick arrow. Kate sighs and reluctantly agrees. Hawkeye fires off a smoke arrow. Hawkeye then tells Kate that the spotlight is hers and for her to steal the show. Kate then uses her Kung Fu moves to take out the scientists and the guards in the room. During this scene, we see flashbacks to the female acrobat doing her routine in the circus show. Clint and Barney are amazed at her moves. (Ok, I find Kate to be annoying at this point and am slightly annoyed that Hawkeye hasn’t done anything in this issue. But, that was a great scene with the comparison of Kate and the acrobat.)
Kate then threatens to shoot one of the scientists in the face if he does not free the three children from the stasis chamber. The scientist calls Kate “girl” and says that she does not know what she is dealing with. Hawkeye replies “Girl? That’s Hawkeye, dude. You want to piss her off again?” (You are trying too hard, Lemire. Trying way too hard.) The three kids are then freed from the stasis tube. They are excited to see Kate. However, they are unsure about Hawkeye. They like Kate more. Hawkeye retorts “Typical. Thanks.” They get into Clint’s SHIELD issues flying Camaro and take off for Clint’s place. During this scene, we see Barney and Clint watching the Swordsman perform his circus show including shooting arrows at the female acrobat who is tied to a giant target. The boys are amazed.
We cut to Hawkeye’s place where Lucky the Dog greets the three kids. Lucky Dog gives the kids kisses. During this scene, we see Barney and Clint playing with one of the circus dogs as the leave the circus show. The Swordsman then spies them and says that the boys were supposed to be working instead of watching the circus show. That showtime is for paying customers and performers only. Barney says that it wasn’t Clint’s fault. That it was Barney’s idea. Swordsman calls Clint “Hawkeye” and tosses Hawkeye a sword. Swordsman says that since Clint likes breaking the rules then why don’t they place a little game. End of issue.
The Good: Hawkeye #3 was another quality read. Lemire has done a nice job replacing Fraction on this title. Honestly, I was not sure that Hawkguy could exist without Fraction as the scribe. However, is one of the few writers who has the style of writing that could keep Fraction’s Hawkguy alive. Lemire was the perfect choice for this title and he continues to deliver each month.
The dialogue in this issue was well crafted. Lemire cranks out some brilliant banter between Hawkeye and Kate. The dialogue has a pleasant and natural flow it to that makes this issue an enjoyable read. Lemire also possess a great sense of humor. There are numerous lines in this issue that get the reader chuckling.
All New Hawkeye #3 was well paced. This issue is by no means a quickly paced issue. Lemire never stomps on the gas pedal. Instead, Lemire progresses the story forward in a focused but measured pace. All New Hawkeye #3 leans close to being a “talking heads” style of issue, however, Lemire peppers in just enough action to keep this issue a lively read. This issue hooks the reader’s attention at the start and does not let go until the end.
The plotting in this issue was fantastic. Lemire tackles the never easy task of handling two distinct storylines in the same issue. The first storyline centers on the present with Clint and Kate’s mission to free the three children. The second storyline centers on Barney and Clint as kids and growing up as a part of the traveling circus. Lemire masterfully weaves the two separate storylines together in a coherent and pleasing fashion. Even more impressive is the way that Lemire uses each storyline to support and accentuate each other in order to highlight a particular theme or emotion.
A fine example was the correlation Lemire drew in Clint’s awe in watching Kate fight with Clint’s awe in watching the female acrobat. Another example of a contrasting method was the happy ending with the three kids arriving at Clint’s home with the ominous moment as the Swordsman catches Clint and Barney not working. There were several other examples of this running throughout the issue where, even though the stories were totally separate, they augmented each other in a wonderful fashion. It takes a talented writer to pull this off effectively and not have it an incoherent mess. Lemire successfully pulls it off and makes it look easy.
The circus storyline is a fantastic way to introduce Clint’s back-story for new readers without slowing down the story or getting in the way of the main action. This is all part of Lemire’s masterful plotting skills. I love that Lemire does not employ traditional flashback scenes interspersed with the current story. And I am even more happy that Lemire is not wasting entire issues on delivering back story. This is an effective way to give new readers a good sense of who Clint is and why he acts and does the things he does in the present day.
I must admit that, while both storylines are solid, I found the circus flashback scenes to be far more engaging and interesting than the present day storyline involving the three kids. The circus scenes had a delightful sense of awe and excitement mixed with a sinister vibe lurking in the shadows of every panel. I have always loved Swordsman’s character. I am curious to see how Lemire will handle the Swordsman and his relationship as Clint’s mentor. I am confident that Lemire is going to deliver a compelling version of the Swordsman.
I loved the ending to All New Hawkeye #3. Lemire nicely contrasts the positive ending with the rescue of the three kids with the dark and sinister vibe of the Swordsman telling Clint that he had a little “game” for him to play. This ending certainly succeeded in hooking my attention and getting me excited for the next issue.
Peréz art us not really my style of artwork, but it works perfectly with the indie offbeat vibe of Lemire’s story. I was impressed how Pérez was able to drastically alter his style of artwork for the circus flashback scenes. That is the sign of a talented artist. I love Kate’s costume design. It reminds me of Phantom Girl’s old 1970’s costume.
The Bad: Lemire’s Hawkeye is truly an indie title masquerading as a Marvel super hero genre title. Therefore, this title will not be for many fans of the super hero genre. Fans of a more traditional super hero version of Hawkeye’s character will more than likely not enjoy this issue. Hawkeye is missing his signature costume. His “costume” is dull and drab. Hawkeye dresses like Ultimate Hawkeye, but he is nowhere near the badass that Ultimate Hakweye is portrayed as being.
That leads into another criticism with All New Hawkeye #3. Lemire’s Clint is a bit too much of a chump. Clint is the main character of this title, yet Lemire reduces him to the role of a supporting character to Kate. Clint serves to provide the comic relief as he is a walking punchline for this entire issue. He is nothing more than a walking butt of Kate’s jokes with every other page. It is disappointing how one-dimensional Clint tends to be in this issue.
I have never been much of a fan of sidekicks in general. I usually only warm up to sidekicks when they break out onto their own. The Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans are a good example of that. I found Kate too annoying. I do not mind when a sidekick is a bit precocious. However, Lemire goes way too far with Kate’s personality and the result is she comes across as grating as a spoiled child actor. Kate is about as likable and as relatable as the high school star quarterback who also has a rich dad and drives a new Mercedes.
Lemire also uses Clint as a spokesperson in the story to try to verbally get Kate over with the reader. Lemire overreached with this technique to the point that it becomes obvious what he is doing and it seems that Clint is speaking Lemire’s voice rather than using his own voice. Less would certainly be more in trying to get Kate over with the reader.
Overall: All New Hawkeye #3 was another good read. Lemire continues to deliver an entertaining read with this title. This issue offered the reader a nice blend of action, humor and mystery. If you are looking for something different from the usual super hero fare offered up by Marvel and DC then All New Hawkeye is certainly worth checking out.