On Arrendale’s Shelves: “Hawkeye”

By EMILY CLANCE
A&E Editor

With the ever-growing catalog of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
(MCU), some viewers are inevitably going to look for more in the movies’ source
material: the comic books themselves.
What they find is often very different from the books’ film counterparts.
Recently, the trend for comics has been to make the stories darker, edgier and much
more complicated.
As a whole, comics are notorious for having complex, intertwined storylines
and alternate universes. They have a reputation of being hard to get into for those
new to the medium.
Marvel’s “Hawkeye” series stands out among their other offerings because it
goes against all these stereotypes.
Written and drawn by the Eisner Award-winning duo Matt Fraction and
David Aja, the series follows the life and times of Clint Barton, better known as one
of the Avengers, Hawkeye.
Contrary to many comic series, which throw readers into the deep end of the
story right off the bat, “Hawkeye” uses its first few issues to establish Barton’s
activities away from the Avengers. This move helps readers get introduced to the
characters and it’s a good starting point for those new to comics.
Though it might sound boring, the life of Hawkeye is anything but ordinary.
He has run-ins with the Russian mafia, assassins and criminals on a seemingly daily
basis. Fraction and Aja keep the story interesting with Fraction’s stand-out sense of
humor and Aja’s dynamic, hyper-stylized art.
The series also features cameos from other Marvel heroes as well as a major
player in the form of Barton’s one-time replacement as Hawkeye, Kate Bishop.
Bishop gives Barton a partner to bounce off of and to pull him out of situations he’s
found himself trapped in due to poor planning and general oversight.
“Hawkeye” stands out again in that its protagonist is not perfect or infallible.
Many, many times, Barton finds himself in a bad situation because he rushes in
blindly, or he alienates his friends because of his actions. In some series, the hero
seems untouchable, but in “Hawkeye,” Barton seems like a real person who could
actually exist.
Many other comic series, notably the titles in DC Comics’ “Batman” franchise,
focus on heavy storylines with nothing to lighten the mood. They’re not friendly to
new readers and hard to keep up with.
Fraction’s “Hawkeye” is different. It can tackle serious stories and plot
elements, but it still keeps a sense of humor around. Aja’s art, with its bright purple
tinting, helps keep the story light and visually appealing to readers.
Fraction and Aja’s “Hawkeye” is a great starting point for anyone who’s
interested in reading comic books but doesn’t know where to start. It’s an
entertaining series and often hailed as Marvel’s best currently-running comic.
As it is being published, with one issue every month, the Arrendale Library
does not have the entire series. It does, however, have the first volume, which
collects issues one through five as well as an additional issue from “Young
Avengers.”