Following the events of Civil War there is a huge target on Clint Barton’s back for his role in taking out Bruce Banner. The decision for Clint to do this was mixed and it looks like Marvel is going to use that divisive opinion to launch the Avengers resident Hawkeye in a new direction. While Clint is off on that road another person with the Hawkeye is taking her bow and arrows to Los Angeles. After a strong run on A-Force, Kelly Thompson is moving Kate Bishop to La La Land. Will this new setting prove to challenging for the young Hawkeye? Let’s find out with Hawkeye #1.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Leonardo Romero
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At a pier in Venice Beach Kate Bishop watches some surfers arriving at 5 AM to for their “Home Breaks,” waves they learned to surf on. She takes note of one of the surfers she names “Brad” and starts tailing him.
As she tails “Brad” Kate stop a couple guys in suits near the beach. This alarms her and she begins analyzing the scene, taking note of her surrounding and the guys in suits having equipment to rob a bank.
Kate gets her Hawkeye gear out and as she starts changing she thinks about her “Archor Points.” She explains that “Archer Points” are a place of stability and consistency, even though Kate’s are currently messed up.
Now ready to save the day, Hawkeye disables the robbers’ getaway car with two arrows. She then heads into the bank and see all of the people being held captive. Hawkeye proceeds to takes out the robbers with a combination of her trick and regular arrows. The cops arrive not long after and arrest the bank robbers.
Sometime later Kate heads to her new place nearby, which acts both as her home and private investigation office. As she waits for someone to show up to be her first client the owner of Ramone’s Surf Shop comes in to tell Kate to move her car out of her customer parking spots.
While Kate goes to get her car keys Ramone makes fun of the makeshift sign Kate is using for her PI business. Suddenly a potential client walks in and Ramone decides to stop giving Kate a hard time and park in her customer parking spot for today.
Kate has her potential client sit down and asks what she can help her with. The woman asks Kate if Clint, the other Hawkeye, is there. Kate frustratingly says he is not.
After the woman leaves Kate has to deal with other people looking for Clint, either to punch him or date him, and an optometrist the rest of the day.
All these meetings leave Kate defeated until a real client, named Mikka, looking for help. Mikka explains that she writes for her college newspaper and a blog and has been constantly harassed by the same person online to the point she does not feel safe. Even though the school has tried to help by banning the person it has only gotten worse as they found a way around it to keep on harassing her.
Mikka says she tried to go to the cops but they said they couldn’t help her. Kate tells Mikka not to worry as she is taking on the case.
The next day Kate goes to Kinney College and tries to get into the library but the administrator doesn’t let her since she is not a student. After walking around the building she finds a student with her ID hanging on her chair and takes it and a jacket. She uses the ID along with the jacket to enter the library as a student.
Thirty minutes later Kate is frustrated she is not getting anywhere using the library computer. Another student comes to check on Kate and calls her “Sunshine.” Kate takes offense to the name and when she confronts the guy he says that he thought Sunshine was her name since her ID says “Sunshine Johnson.” This makes Kate realize she forgot to check the name on the ID she swiped earlier.
Kate convinces the guy, named Quinn, to help her find information on Mikka’s stalker. Quinn is able to quickly find the person and trace back his location. Impressed by Quinn’s skill Kate convinces him to work for her. Kate gives Quinn her contact information and takes off to find Mikka’s stalker.
While running through the campus Kate gives the real Sunshine Johnson back her student ID.
When she makes it outside Kate begins following Mikka in order to find her stalker. She soon spots a guy taking pictures of Mikka from around a building.
Kate goes after the guy and he begins to run. Kate is able to quickly catch up to him and tackles the guy to the ground. She takes the guy’s phone and finds all the evidence she needs to know that he is the person that has been harassing Mikka.
Later that night Mikka heads home after hanging out with some friends. As Mikka is walking home someone grabs her from the shadows and tosses her into a black van, leaving her bag and a T.B.C flyer on the ground. End of issue.
The Good: Hawkeye #1 is a fine example of how important it is to set up a strong foundation for the series protagonist from the beginning. Even as the issue sets to explore some current day topics Kelly Thompson never forgets that the series is about Kate Bishop and that the story should be enhancing her as a character, rather than just about just sending a message. In making it about Kate the series is able to deliver a story that can draw in new and old fans alike.
Given what has happened during the events of Civil War II and Clint Barton’s role in killing Bruce Banner, the original Hulk, it was important for us to find out who Kate Bishop is. Especially since she shares the same superhero name rather than just being part what Robin is to Batman, Kelly Thompson needed to hit the ground running with this part of the series. Right away that is what Thompson does as we see Kate who is a hero with experience but still has a lot to learn in the career path she has taken on.
Setting Kate up with her own investigation agency also gives her a goal to aspire to now that she is out on her own. Thompson does a great job painting us with a picture of the mountain Kate has to climb in order to be known as Hawkeye rather than a copycat.
This was also the best use of the post-Civil War II continuity as Clint has possibly the biggest profile in the Marvel Universe. The way Thompson addressed it added just enough of a comedic element to Hawkeye #1 without going overboard. The double page splash, while having its funny moments, gives the reader a great sense of Kate’s own frustrations with people believing Clint to be the only hero using the Hawkeye identity.
At the same time Thompson makes sure to show us, rather than explain, how there is still a lot of room for growth for Kate as Hawkeye and as a person opening up her own business. Through the beginning of this issue we see how confident Kate is as Hawkeye with how easily she took down the bank robbers. But as the issue progressed we saw all the ways she needs to improve such as having an eye for the small details like the names on ID’s she is using.
Then outside of her Hawkeye costume there is the humbling fact that Kate can’t just expect people to just come to her for help as a private investigator. She will need to build a name for her PI business if she wants to keep the lights on. How Thompson develops this side of the story is another great hook for the series.
As for Kate’s first case, I enjoyed that Thompson is not afraid to tackle the serious issue of trolling. This story instantly puts this series in more of the grounded side of Marvel. Thompson successfully paints Mikka as someone that is a victim to harassment without spending too much time on exposition. This helps us get behind Mikka as a person and allows Kate to hit the ground running with her first case.
It was also good to see how Thompson used the case for Kate to start building out her supporting cast. Through Quinn’s interaction with Kate at the college library we already have a good idea of the snarky tech support role he will fill. And it’s good to see this type of character introduced without us having to hear all about his skills. Instead Thompson immediately showed us how useful he is, Kate sets up the contact and moves on with the case.
Now with this foundation in place the next thing the series needs to do is set-up the first big threat Kate will have to overcome. From how this issue ended with Mikka being abducted that threat may come in the form of T.B.C. Is this an organization related to the harassment Mikka was getting? Or are they a different, much bigger threat? That’s what Thompson sets up for us as readers to discover, giving us more of a reason to come back.
As much credit as Thompson deserves for the story, equal credit goes out to Leonardo Romero in how he brought the stories world to life. Going into Hawkeye #1 I was not familiar with Romero’s work but after reading this issue I got vibes of David Aja’s previous work on Hawkeye, which is a great thing. Romero does a very good job keeping the world grounded and showing the various types of people that live in Southern California.
He does an especially good job when he is able to show off Hawkeye’s “Archer Points.” These act as a strong replacement for the typical inner monologue we get in scenes where the hero is analyzing the situations. Hopefully it’s something that we see more of with the profession Kate has taken up.
The Bad: Hawkeye #1 is a comic that is light on action. Though we get a quick scene where Kate shows off her skills with the bow and arrow there isn’t much to it. So for those looking for that in their comic this may not be for them as it is a dialogue driven first issue.
Overall: Hawkeye #1 sets up all the groundwork to make Kate Bishop’s solo series a successful one. Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero deserve high praise for setting a grounded world to develop Kate in and out of her Hawkeye costume. Tackling the problem of online harassment gave Kate a case she can instantly invest in. For us as readers we got to see where her strengths and weakness are as a character through this first case. This all comes together to deliver a strong start for a series with a lot of potential to be Marvel’s best comic book.