By Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez & Ian Herring
All-New Hawkeye has gotten off to a very confident start and the combined creative team of Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring (on the script, art and colours respectively) continue to knock it out of the park with the solo adventures of both Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. This week was largely focused with a Clint-flashback heavy issue, beautifully illustrated by Ramon Perez with some great, slick colours from Ian Herring. At the same time we also follow Clint and Kate’s adventures in the present, told at the bottom of each page as a separate narrative. It’s a style that this reviewer has never seen before out of this series, in major Marvel comics at least, making All-New Hawkeye a unique entry to the superhero ranks and one of the best as well.
The penultimate part of the first arc on this series, Wunderkammer, has kept the traditional humour and style of Hawkeye’s character created in Fraction’s run, and the panels in the present day felt very Fraction-esque that will please fans of his run on this book. However, chances ar you’ll have seen what Jeff Lemire can do by now and he doesn’t disappoint, with his own approach to Hawkeye making a lasting impression on the reader; this reviewer really enjoyed how effectively he told Clint’s origin in the circus. The fact that the book splits its time between the past and present is appreciated as well, as arguably in any other book the flashbacks would have occupied the whole issue, and they easily could have here. In the present we spend time with Kate and Clint, who have captured three little kids with deadly powers and are on the run from both SHIELD and Hydra as a result of both parties equally shady motives. It’s an interesting mix of two stories that really work.
The flashbacks are told in a way that makes this book a must read for anyone wanting to know about Clint’s past in the circus with his brother, Barney. It fleshes out both characters well as we learn, among other things, that Clint is a natural with a bow (because let’s face it, he’s Hawkeye, of course he is). What’s great is that Kate isn’t pushed to the side in all of this, as she remains a key player in the overall scheme of things. Both stories allow all three characters to show their stuff, and even if Kate doesn’t have any dialogue in this issue (neither does Clint speak in the present) they communicate effectively enough to keep things interesting.
The artwork is pretty awesome. In the present, it’s clear to see that colourist Ian Herring has kept the same feel as Matt Hollingsworth on the previous volume and as a result it’s very distinguishable from the almost eerie look of Ramon Perez’ flashbacks that occupy the main body of the issue. The book feels suitably atmospheric, and a breath of fresh air from your standard superhero comic.
On the whole then, All-New Hawkeye #4 is a must read as Jeff Lemire, Ian Herring and Ramon Perez work together incredibly well to deliver a series that you really should be checking out if you’re not reading this book already. Four issues in and it’s arguably one of Marvel’s strongest ongoing comics, and it’ll be interesting to see how this arc comes to its conclusion in the final chapter of Wunderkammer.