Clint Barton Takes a Flashback – an “All-New Hawkeye #4” (Review)
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Ramon Perez
Colors: Ian Herring
Let me start off by calling out some things that I find bothersome with this thing and Marvel; things that are outside of the content that the creative team has generated. I don’t know why this is “All-New” or why we need it. Marvel is, clearly, going to periodically (frequently) reboot its books. We’re likely to never see another comic book from the big two with an issue number over #100. I get it. Why does it need this differentiation? Worse, IT’S NOT ALL NEW! This appears, as near as I can tell, to be the same Hawkeye from the last series, with the same Kate Bishop sidekick/partner/thing, living in the same apartment, working for the same group (Shield), and with the same dog. Should I care? Maybe not. But my response to that is always, don’t make me care by making a thing out of it. Just call the damned book “Hawkeye” and move on. Or give it an appropriate sub-title; “Hawkeye: Down and Out”, or “Hawkeye: On the Run”. Not “All-New”.
In addition to that, as typically happens with me and the big two, I don’t know how or why the frack this is in the mix alongside Secret Wars/Battleworld. I thought everything was stopping until that played out and anyone who had a book of their own was getting recast in a book with a slightly different title? Again, I’m making a big deal out of it because they did. Don’t market your guff without sewing up all of the outliers and loose ends with a cogent story. Thanks. And…scene.
All-New Hawkeye #4 is from the creative team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez, and Ian Herring on colors. Let me first say that the art is beautiful. Perez partitions the story-telling into two distinct styles. His flashback scenes, visiting Clint’s childhood, are done in what looks like paints. Current day scenes are standard comic book fare. I prefer the former, as the paints seem to cover up some of Perez’ chunky, jaggy style. Which I am not a fan of. But painted…his art looks like some Alex Ross/JH Williams shizel, and that’s good company to be in. Perez’ fight scenes are well choreographed. Silent panels with plenty of Hawkeye hand-to-hand action. Actually, all of his present day scenes are a good display of craft in story-telling with silent panels.
Lemire is totally in his element in this book. I found the story wonderful, as I have not been much exposed to Clint’s backstory. The flashback scenes are just excellent. You are able to gain a real feel for the emotion in Clint’s childhood from the interaction and dialogue between Clint, his brother, and the Swordsman who is their circus-act foster parent (of sorts). The only takeway is that the story did not grab me as a continuing Hawkeye thread that I should jump on board for. It was an excellent 1-shot in terms of the flashbacks. It did not engender me to hang out for the next issue. I almost feel like I just want the next issue to be the continuing back-story of Hawkeye growing up as a kid. I’ll chalk that up to reader quirkiness in myself. It does not take away from the creative work of the team, but it gets a knock for not having a great closer that made me hold my breath. Fans of Hawkeye should definitely stay on for the ride. I’m just not sure if it does much to grab new readers to this character. Still, overall, an excellent read.