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Published on March 5th, 2015 | by Noel Thorne

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All-New Hawkeye #1 Review

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ALL-NEW Hawkeye? But… has Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye even finished yet? It actually hasn’t – the final issue of the run, Hawkeye #22, is still several weeks away from publication! But it seems Marvel want to get the new series with the new creative team of Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez going sooner rather than later to keep us Hawkeye fans sated after such long waits between issues (sigh, the price of quality!).

Fraction and Aja, with Matt Hollingsworth, Annie Wu, and Javier Pulido among others, did such an extraordinary job of making everyone care about Hawkeye with their critically acclaimed, multi-award winning run that the question all fans are dreading asking of the followup series minus that team is: … is it still good? Breathe easy, bro, it is!

We begin with beautiful purple watercolours back when Clint and his brother Barney were kids, getting bumped from one abusive foster home to another – but they had each other (sobs)! They’re being kids, catching frogs, riding bikes. Suddenly we switch to the drastically different art style of hard ink lines and stark reds as we’re thrown forward into the present: Clint and Kate Bishop are on a not-so-secret mission in Antarctica, investigating a secret new HYDRA weapon.

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I wouldn’t say Lemire’s story is especially ground-breaking or terribly standout; it’s just fine. But the issue communicates a few important things really well. Firstly with the watercolours, it’s saying that it’s not David Aja or Annie Wu or Javier Pulido. It’s it’s own comic but hey, it’s still Hawkeye and the different art style works. It’s also a reassuring continuation of Fraction’s Hawkeye in that it uses Barney and Kate as characters alongside Clint, but it’s also not trying to mimic Fraction’s style.

This last one is a big deal for fans as a major reason why we fell in love with Fraction’s series was the awesome supporting cast. We got to know Clint, his friend and sometime protege Kate Bishop, his troubled brother Barney, as well as everyone’s favourite, Pizza Dog, and the Russian Bros. Hell, one of the most emotional moments in that series (SPOILERS!) was seeing Grills – a tenant in Clint’s building – dying, and he was a totally new character, not a superhero, just an ordinary guy!

This first issue is saying that all of that still stands and could well come into play (maybe not the Bros – they should stay in Fraction’s run only) so don’t worry, this isn’t a radical departure or a complete overhaul of the character and his world.

Hawkeye’s art has huge expectations considering the awards David Aja racked up in his run and Annie Wu and Javier Pulido’s issues were incredible as well. Which is why I’m delighted to say that Ramon Perez continues this character’s exemplary artistic legacy by proving himself to be as talented as those he’s following with his work in this issue.

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The wonderful purple watercolours mixing panels together without making the pages difficult to follow is a perfect choice for representing memory with all its murky clarity. The present day pages with their strong lines and clearly defined, uncluttered panels are a brilliant juxtaposition of this style and are arguably as accomplished as anything Aja put to paper. The highlight of the issue is reserved for the final three pages as past and present merge effortlessly together, the past in the background like a smoky reflection but prominent in the now. Hats off to Perez, he really hits the target in this comic.

While the art is outstanding, Lemire’s script is just so-so; certainly not bad as he gets the characterisations down well, but the story is nothing to get too worked up about as it feels a little generic. We’ve all seen HYDRA doing bad things with the heroes stepping in to stop them just one too many times at this point. I’m interested to see where he’s going with the flashback sequences though.

We’ll all miss Fraction and co’s Hawkeye, but the character’s in good hands with this new creative team. All-New Hawkeye #1 is a fine first issue that sends a clear message to all Clint/Kate fans: we got this, bro!

 All-New_Hawkeye_Vol_1_1_Textless

Publisher: Marvel

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Ramon Perez

Colourists: Ian Herring with Ramon Perez

Noel Thorne

Probably reading comics as you're reading this.

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