Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Javier Pulido
Colors by Matt Hollingsworth
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos
Review by Joey Braccino
How do you know when a comic is really, really good? Well, one sign is when the book itself is so good that you want to read the letters section at the end, and then the letters section at the end completely blows you away. Guess what. Hawkeye #5 is one of those books. Yeah. It’s all very impressive.
In this Part-2-of-2 issue, Clint Barton continues his (mis)adventure in Madripoor (re: Ninjas, Supervillains, VHS-Tape-Showing-A-Seditious-Super-Secret-Assassination) while Kate Bishop watches the parenthetically aforementioned VHS tape and has misgiving about the heroic stature of her/our eponymous idol! But all bombast aside, Fraction’s nuanced script and Pulido’s artwork produce one heck of a closer to Hawkeye’s first multi-issue storyarc.
Again, I’ll keep the plot details light and instead focus on the technical highs in this issue. First, Matt “Don’t Call Me Pithing” Fraction is firing on all cylinders over at the House of Ideas right now. Between his stupendously reviewed new Fantastic Four and FF series and Hawkeye, it almost seems like Fraction can do no wrong. His script for Hawkeye #5 is laced with humor, pop culture, and, most importantly, emotional resonance. In this issue, it quickly becomes apparent just what Hawkeye is all about: Clint Barton’s endless battle for redemption. A single caption box reading “I’m Sorry…” perfectly captures Barton’s tragic flaw; can he ever outrun his “reformed villain” status through constant do-goodery? Combine Barton’s arc with Bishop’s shifting perspective of her role-model and you have the makings of some seriously heavy character study.
Pulido’s artwork sees a marked improvement this issue. That’s not saying that it was bad last time, but on a series headlined by David Aja, the bar is set really, really high. I initially had reservations about Pulido’s uber-retro, Kirby-esque lay-outs and figurework, but there’s no denying his storytelling abilities. The dude covers a lot of ground this issue, from freefalling characters to flying jetskis to bows and arrows and guns and ninjas. And probably the most bizarre onomatopoeic illustration I’ve seen recently—KERKUFFLE. No idea.
Buy this book. Subscribe to this series. Add it to your pull-list—digitally or at your LCS. Whatever you need to do. Read it. Read it again. Admire it. Give it to a friend. And then, after experiencing the sheer awesomeness of this neo-retro-superheroic-genre-bender, read the letters page. Fraction writes the responses this week—including a look at his original pitch for the book!—and they’re wonderful.