Thursday, April 8, 2004

Hawkeye #6 - A Review

Written by: Fabian Nicieza
Penciled by: Stefano Raffaele
Inked by: Stefano Raffaele
Colored by: Dimagmaliw & Reber
Lettered by: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I’ll give Fabian Nicieza credit for taking the long shot with the big surprise on this story. To give the quick version, Clint Barton (also known as the heroic archer Hawkeye) stumbles into a big secret after stepping into what he thought was a simple case of protecting a girl from some local ruffians. This leads him into danger, intrigue and a secret that involves a temple in Vietnam, a village slaughtered. A secret that would, were it used in any art form other than the lowly comic book, would likely cause a major protest or at the very least, a lot of angry letters.

No, I’m not going to say what it is. After a hook like that, how can you not read the book?

It’s a shame that this series is ending with issue eight. Sadly, it is not surprising. Hawkeye has a loyal following but has never really been a “cool” character. And with Marvel management gearing up to take us back to the halcyon days of 15 different X-titles, with alternate covers and holo-foil, there’s no room for a simple archer hero outside of the Distinguished Competition. More is the pity, for while this book was a bit slow at times (the result, I think, of Marvel’s padding out all new series into six-issue potential trades), it was an enjoyable read when the action kicked in.

Stefano Raffael’s a good artist, with a strong command of shadow. A lot of his male character suffer from a look of sameness, but as the majority of the characters in this issue are nameless thugs this does not distract from the book. The colorists too, do a good job, using blue and grey shades to convey the book’s now-standard opening flashback scene as we see another defining moment in Hawkeye’s past. I can only hope that they all find a steady gig on some other title when this is over.

On the whole, I’ll be sad to see this book go. It had its moments, but ultimately it felt drawn out. And unlike a bowshot, telling a good comic story is not something you can take your time on.

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