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O. M. G. Terrifying.

O. M. G. Terrifying.

Hawkeye #10

Written by Matt Fraction

Art by Francesco Francavilla

Letters by Chris Eliopoulos & VC’s Clayton Cowles

Review by Joey Braccino

After last issue’s devastating cliffhanger (which, according to the recap page, the production team is still pretty sad about), Hawkeye #10 delves into the background of our mystery assassin. Matt Fraction bounces his story between a chic party hosted by Kate Bishop’s father and flashback sequences featuring the tragic history of Kazimierz Kazimierczak. You’ll notice that Clint Barton isn’t mentioned on either of those two poles. Our eponymous Hawkguy appears briefly at the end of the issue #10, which instead focuses on Kate and Kazi (as his American Friends call him). It’s an interesting issue that departs from the expected on-the-streets heroic fare that Hawkeye has become known for, but the change of pace does not hinder the quality of the storytelling or the emotional resonance of the characters.

Kazi’s descent into supervillainy is just as tragic as it needs to be to garner a modicum of sympathy for the clown-faced killer. I’ll refrain from going too much further into the plot here so as to avoid spoilers, but I will say that the juxtaposition of the flashback sequences with Kazi’s conversation with Kate Bishop lends the issue the perfect amount of tension and dramatic irony. As the flashbacks become increasingly violent and terrifying, the concern over Kazi’s interest in Kate (and Kate’s over-confidence in flirting with Kazi) grows. Fraction walks the line between suspense and exposition perfectly.

The star of this issue is Francesco Francavilla. Don’t get me wrong; I adore the regular art team of David Aja and Matt Hollingsworth, but I’m also a huge fan of the underexposed Francavilla. His hard-boiled pulp stylings blends horror with noir into a stunning and, at times, unnerving aesthetic. Francavilla’s trademark blood orange color palette is perfectly suited to the depravity of Kazi’s story. The use of color in this issue in general is inspiring; Kate Bishop is coated in a strong violet, Kazi is masked in an pallid blue-grey, the panels in general are plastered with violent reds, firey yellows, and abrasive blues. It’s a visual roller coaster.

Verdict 

Buy. Hawkeye #10 may be a departure from the usual mood and aesthetic of Fraction’s critically-acclaimed ongoing series, but it’s amazing nonetheless. The structure of the narrative and the innovative visual aesthetic come together in a devastating and suspenseful tragedy, setting up what should be an emotionally nuanced battle of wills between this new villain and our eponymous hero!

2 Responses

  1. Logan Rowland

    It was hard enough to wait for this issue because of the last one. I don’t know how I’m going to make it waiting on the next one! This was an excellent issue, with insane tension building up to the end, and the pacing was incredible as well! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tear through the pages to the end or take my time with each one, soaking up the pages and the narrative, so I did what any other normal person would do: both. Read it twice! I love stories like this. Even though this was a tone and style change from the normal Clint central story, they couldn’t have changed it up in a better time. I wasn’t sure how they were going to follow up the last issue and they did it perfectly. Shock and awe (little teary-eyed) with #9 and then step back and allow the reader to breathe and better understand in #10. Love, love, love these comics! My favorite comic right now!

  2. thisjohnd

    Maybe I’ll have to read this one twice but this was actually my least favorite Hawkguy to date. Not because it was sorely missing the Hawkguy himself but because I didn’t really feel it necessary to give this villain such a detailed backstory. I kind of like the idea of him just being a hitman for the Tracksuit Mafia. I don’t need to see him go through all this tragedy to justify what he’s doing. His flirting with Katie was interesting, but the rest of it didn’t do much to excite me this time around. I was also a little disappointed that the end of the book was the exact same ending as last month.

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