Written by: Fabian Nicieza
Penciled by: Joe Bennett
Inked by: Sandu Florea
Colored by: Tang Animation & Coloring
Lettered by: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This is the last issue of a new regular series that lacked an audience. To be sure, there are a large number of Hawkeye fans out there. I’m one of them. Still, I can’t help but think that the impetus for this series was the fact that one of the best selling titles at DC was Green Arrow and some marketing person said “Hey, let’s give a book to that archer guy we own!”
Sadly, unlike Green Arrow, Clint Barton does his best work as a team player. Though he’ll deny it himself, the character is at his best when he is pushing off of someone else. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed this closing-two part arc so much more than the first six issues of this series.
Hawkeye is in the middle of investigating the murder of his grocer, a Russian immigrant named Antoly Krylenko, when ex-girlfriend Black Widow shows up. She confesses to the murder, saying little more than that it is a Russian affair and that Clint needs to back off. Naturally, that just makes ol’ Clint want to get to the bottom of things even more, dragging him hip-deep into the secret past of his grocer, who was once known as the Butcher of Shir Khan.
This book was good. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that Clint has Black Widow to play off of or if it’s just the quicker pace of this story compared to “The High Hard Shaft”. I’m not sure if it’s the new art team, which eliminates the “same-face” male characters or dull, washed out colors that the previous team used. But this last arc is a good one and I am sorry to see this book go.
I fear this book may the first of a new trend in the coming months. Marvel has a slew of solo titles devoted to characters who have forever been part of a team planned for release later this year. Given the way Hawkeye was handled, I fear that most of these titles will have a shelf life only slightly better than milk.