Hawkeye Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction & David Aja

Hawkeye Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction & David AjaMy Life as a Weapon (Hawkeye (Marvel NOW!) #1) by David Aja, Matt Fraction
Published: Marvel (2013), eBook, 136pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Action, Fiction, Graphic Novel

The breakout star of this summer's blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton - aka the self-made hero Hawkeye - fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he's out to prove himself as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence - before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won't believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe...and the darkest parts of Hawkeye's mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble...and stealing from the rich never looked so good.

COLLECTING: Hawkeye 1-5, Young Avengers Presents 6

I read a semi-fair amount of comics, but they tend to be in genres other than whatever one superheroes are in. Don’t get me wrong– I love me some caped crusaders!– but the world of superhero comics is huge and daunting and there’s all this ridiculous stuff happening and I gave up on it before I even really started. But then Jenny reviewed the Hawkeye series at her blog (as well as doing a few comics-themed episodes of her podcast) and I decided to go for it because Jenny is usually not wrong about things being awesome.

My Life as a Weapon is actually a perfect intro for someone who doesn’t know all that much about Marvel superheroes except what shows up in the movies. It exists somewhere parallel to the main superhero world; people and places and events from the larger Marvel universe bleed into it, but not in a way that makes it super confusing for someone who hasn’t read all 5 billion Avengers series. It’s kind of like the movies that way! If you know all the mythology you’ll catch little tidbits of it here and there1, but if you’re completely new (like me), you’ll just have a good time reading the story and getting to know the characters.

The characters are Clint Barton aka that dude who showed up in The Avengers and stood around for a while, Kate Bishop aka Hawkeye2, Arrow aka Pizza Dog, and various background characters. The narrative is told from Clint’s point-of-view, and it is wonderous and lovely and superheroes are just so much fun. SO MUCH FUN.

Okay, so: there are five issues of Hawkeye in this volume, plus one of Matt Fraction’s issues from Young Avengers showing how Clint and Kate met. Each issue is a self-contained story within the overarching narrative of “Clint Barton being a regular dude kinda.” They all start with Clint being in trouble and usually falling off tall buildings or something, and they end with Clint somewhat triumphant over adversity but more usually it’s with Kate saving his butt.

There is action! Lots of action! In a very realistic way, too, more realistic than you’d usually get in a superhero comic, I think.3 The first issue has Clint in a hospital from being beat up, for instance. And every time he falls out of a window, it hurts! Reality, yay!

Alongside the action is some great non-action, where you can focus on how amazing the art is because LOOK at the faces! And the emotions! Take, for instance, this tiny panel about Pizza Dog:

I stole this image from Jenny's post! It is from issue #1.
I stole this image from Jenny’s post! It is from issue #1.

Yay! Really excellent art, y’all, and the color palette is pretty great, too. It’s muted, mostly, with lots of purples, and goes well with a not-really-super-but-still-heroic story.

Hawkeye vol. 1 was a very excellent (re)introduction to the world of superheroes and I’m definitely going to read the other issues sometime this year.

Read: January 07, 2014

If you don’t mind reading comics on your phone/tablet/computer, you can get the first issue of Hawkeye for only $1.99 at Comixology! I’ve used their app on my iPhone and it works pretty well. Basically, it focuses in on one panel at a time, and for big two-page spreads it shows the whole thing first and then zooms in on the dialogue for each subsequent “page.” You can also manually zoom in/out, of course!


  1. like with the many trick arrows in issue #3
  2. I don’t know why but I’m SUPER HAPPY that she’s not “Lady Hawkeye” or some stupid thing like that. Just: Hawkeye.
  3. Or is realistic violence a more usual thing now? I have an idea that superheroes get hurt but then bounce back without any issues within a few pages. Unless they die. Then they have to wait a few issues before they come back.

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