Monday, December 2, 2013

Hawkeye #14 - A Review

There comes a time with some forms of revolutionary art where one ponders just how revolutionary said art truly is.  You find yourself second-guessing your first impressions, wondering if a unique method of storytelling was merely a mask for the artist's unwillingness to tell a story conventionally.  You start to seriously examine whether or not the artist is taking their work seriously or if they are, in the words of Mel Brooks, "just jerking off."

With Hawkeye #14, it is now clear - Matt Fraction is just jerking off.

Fraction's story here does not read like a comic book.  It reads like a section of a spec script for a movie or the script for a television pilot.  Taken on its own terms as a single comic story, one might guess after reading this issue that that Fraction decided to make a grab for some of that Netflix money and is trying to build the case for a Kate Bishop as Hawkeye series.

It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, save for two problems.  The first is that Kate is REALLY lousy at her job as a solo hero for hire under Fraction's pen.  When acting as Clint Barton's foil, she is a match for Madame Masque.  Left to her own devices, she can barely manage a campy drug dealer.

The second problem is that Fraction's acknowledgement of his own cliches in the script - while making Kate Bishop seem a perfect role for Ellen Page - does little to excite the reader.  Hell, Kate even complains about never getting to use a bow anymore and it's a legitimate complaint.  I can't remember the last time we saw either Hawkeye using their bow to help people in this series!

If Fraction is writing a film script, Annie Wu is drawing the storyboards.  The artwork of this issue fails to be anything more than inoffensive.  It gets the job done but it's fairly pedestrian and there aren't any sequences in the book that really stand out as exciting or memorable.  Then again, I suppose Wu can't be blamed for not depicting any dynamic moments when Fraction's script is so lacking in action and filled with endless scenes of talking heads.

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