HAWKEYE: KATE BISHOP #1/ Written by MARIEKE NIKKAMP/ Pencils by ENID BALAM/ Inks by OREN JUNIOR/ Colors by BRITTANY PEER/ Letters by VC’S JOE CARAMAGNA/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
With the highly anticipated Hawkeye series premiering on DIsney+ this week, it’s only natural that Marvel Comics try to capitalize on that by premiering a mini-series focused on the Amazing Archer. In this case, they chose to target Kate Bishop, presuming that the new audiences just now learning about the character from Hailee Steinfeld’s performance might want to know more about her than Hawkguy Clint Barton. This is a fair bet given that the MCU and comic book Clint are two wildly different characters, with one being a happily married family man and the other…. not.
The script by Marieke Nijkamp neatly establishes a new status quo for Kate, who was last seen running a detective agency in Los Angeles and managing a branch of the West Coast Avengers with her boyfriend. Sadly, the boyfriend is now an ex and work is light enough that Kate is pondering a trip back to New York to visit her superhero friends when she is sent an invitation to a soiree in a palatial estate in the Hamptons. It spoils little to reveal that there is some sinister force watching Kate and manipulating events around her.
Nijjkamp does a fine job of communicating Kate’s personality through the internal monologue, showing us who Kate us rather than weighing the new readers down with a ton of backstory and exposition. This is all well and good, but the story might have benefited from a bit more than one editor’s text box listing off all the people Kate is texting in the issue’s opening scenes. While I appreciate the desire to avoid lengthy flashbacks and keep things light, this issue might have benefited from one splash page showing the Young Avengers, given this series is meant to be introducing a larger audience to Kate’s character in the comics.
The artwork is similarly competent, but not outstanding. Enid Balam has a great gift for pacing action sequences, but there’s not much sense of style here. The same can be said of Oren Junior’s inks. The colors by Brittany Peer are another story, as they liven up the proceedings splendidly.
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1 is a decent enough introduction to its title character, but it pales in comparison to her earlier appearances. While it isn’t a bad book by any means, I think those fans of the new Disney+ series looking for more stories of Kate in action would be better served tracking down the trades of the Matt Fraction/David Aja Hawkeye series than picking up this book. Established fans of Kate Bishop, however, will want to grab this just to see what Kate’s been doing since West Coast Avengers ended.