By Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez & Ian Herring
Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye was one of the strongest Marvel books on shelves before it started suffering severe delays and an uneven release schedule, and David Aja’s artwork was a fantastic addition to what was a stellar, fun and exciting book that made it very interesting to follow. When it was announced that Fraction was departing Hawkeye, his replacement would certainly have a lot of expectations on their hands, because how do you beat something as good as that? Well, it’s safe to say that Marvel picked the right writer to do the job, because if you’re familiar with Lemire’s work on Green Arrow, which was among DC’s best series when he was on the book, then you’ll know what to expect from All-New Hawkeye. It hits similar levels in quality, serving as a worthy replacement that will appeal to both fans of the ended series and those who have not quite got around to reading it just yet.
Jeff Lemire certainly delivers with this excellent first issue as he, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring really hit the ground running. The first part of a five issue arc, entitled Wunderkammer brings the focus onto both Clint Barton and Kate Bishop as it pits them against HYDRA, which has come back in a big way lately thanks to their exposure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The book also manages to brilliantly weave interlinking flashbacks to Clint’s past at the same time as the ongoing story is happening, with his brother Barney featuring with Clint as a young boy. It’s great to see them brought to life by Perez, who really delivers with these flashback sequences, making them a clear standout when it comes to differences between them and the current day. Both Perez and Lemire are involved on this book as storytellers (with Perez also on pencils and sharing colouring duties with Ian Herring), and as a result, are able to weave an excellent first issue that is a perfect example of how to hit the ground running.
Perez’s artwork is pretty damn good. There are several great panels that he really handles well and the distinctiveness between the flashbacks and the present day storyline is great to see. The fun, action-packed present-day storyline plays well to Perez’s strengths, with some great panels that have a similar vibe to that of Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye series, making sure that returning readers will feel at home but also offering plenty of appeal for the new fans who haven’t yet got around to catching up on Fraction’s Hawkeye yet.
Ian Herring’s Colours work very well with Perez’s artwork and Lemire’s storyline to help create an incredibly good first issue that really makes this book standout as one of the best releases from this week, alongside Image’s Descender (which is also written by Lemire), and based on what we’ve seen here, there’s plenty more to come going forward. This is already shaping up to be one of the strongest Marvel Comics on shelves right now with just one issue down, and it’ll be great to see what the creative team can come up with going forward. You certainly won’t want to miss this.