Written by MATT FRACTION
Art by FRANCISCO FRANCAVILLA
Colors by FRANCISCO FRANCAVILLA
Letters by CHRIS ELIOPOULOS, CLAYTON COWLES
I’m seeing purple! That can only mean that the new Hawkeye comic is out, bringing with it the latest Clint Barton misadventures. Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye is something that is astounding as it now creates a new fan-favorite in Clint Barton. It’s a testament to David Aja’s art and Fraction’s writing because before this series, Hawkeye was the “other guy” in the Avengers books, and that “Jeremy Renner guy” from the Avengers movie. Currently, Fraction’s added depth to Clint is allowing the archer to stand beside the Marvel’s other mascots like Spider-man, Hulk, and Captain America proudly.
This month, fans get a welcome surprise as Francisco Francavilla takes over the art duties and Fraction’s sometimes zany Hawkeye misadventures flips into a true noir story. Not only is the issue’s art a little darker not only in color, but also dark in tone.
Fraction’s writing also takes a turn for the darker. Half of the story is the origin of a character named Kazi who kills for sport, and he likes to wear a clown mask with a teardrop on the right eye. Kazi has a gloomy past, but ultimately leaves his past after he’s given work by the Russian “bros” gang, which offers him money and a chance to relocate. Although he’s got a sad story, the story doesn’t imply that he needs sympathy. His involvement with the Russian gang can only mean trouble for the Hawkeyes as he can threaten the people they care about.
The other half is Kate Bishop flirting with a seemingly rich, blonde man while learning about his childhood in a war-torn nation. Kate is attracted to this man maybe because of how much a mystery he is. Kate’s attraction could also be how he’s similar to Clint being blonde, and having a murky past.
This month, Fraction doesn’t deliver the usual out of luck Clint Barton story. Readers are given a different type of story with a different art style. The story balances the story of Kazi, while also focusing on Kate Bishop’s love life. Kazi’s origin changes the tone of the overall story, and it becomes reflected in Francavilla eye-pleasing art. Francavilla’s style easily brings life and style to the noir story. The twist at the end of the issue isn’t a huge, but it is still very satisfying, though sad. The final events in this issue lead something that may anger some readers, but hey, they were given Francavilla’s art and a story by Fraction which were woven into a finely, beautifully crafted book.
Francavilla’s art is always amazing, but some of the coloring, which might be done by him, can make the panels a little too jarring and hard to look at. Also, fraction’s usual tone changing from an upbeat vibe to a gloomier tone. Having the palette cleansed is always good as it brings freshness to the title. Not every chapter has to be comedic, and have car chases or pizza dog, but this switch to noir was a total 180 out of nowhere.
Aja’s art is missed, but the drawbacks of this book doesn’t make it any easier to wait for the next issue. Kazi and Clint are going to eventually cross paths, making Clint’s life darker, which may not be suitable for kids. Fraction is only starting to make Hawkeye’s life more interesting, and hopefully will have more surprises up his sleeve.