Monday, 16 July 2012

'Avengers: Hawkeye' - Gruenwald, Grant, Lee, Byrne, Heck (Marvel)

I never got round to seeing the 'Avengers' movie (that's another one I'll be waiting for on DVD...) but I couldn't help but see all the posters, I'll bet you couldn't either, and found myself wondering who the grumpy looking guy was. You know, the one with the bow and arrow...

Turns out that the grumpy looking guy is Hawkeye; one of the only Avengers (as far as I know) who doesn't have a superpower, he's just very fit and good with a bow and arrow. Is that enough to be a member of the world's mightiest group of heroes though? That's what got me intrigued and when I saw the 'Hawkeye' collection on offer in 'The Works' (it's always worth checking out 'The Works' if there's one in your area)I couldn't help picking it up.

As with the 'Earth's Mightiest' collection, that I read recently, there wasn't really anything here that made me immediately want to rush out and get caught up with Hawkeye's adventureds. It was a fun and somewhat absorbing read though (with artwork that may be dated but is easy to get into) so I can't really complain :o)

From what I could tell here, Hawkeye has never really featured in his own comic so there was only a few mini-series that were eligible to be collected here. With there only being so much you can pack into a mini-series, what you get then is essentially Hawkeye facing off against the foe du jour and, eventually, coming out on top (unless he's fighting an Avenger then it defaults to a draw). It doesn't look like much of a plot, on the surface, and it isn't really. Luckily for the reader though, the writers do attempt to flesh things out as much as they can with a few insights, here and there, into what actually makes Hawkeye tick.

There may not be much room to show us but what we do see hints at a very interesting character who I think deserves a little more screen time than he actually gets. Hawkeye doesn't have any superpowers and knows that he has a lot to live up if he's going to be an Avenger; he's a guy who pushes himself to his limits and sets himself really high standards to follow. When he fails (through no fault of his own) Hawkeye can sink into a real depression although he never gives up trying to do the right thing. You've got to admire a guy who is never going to quite cut it, in the illustrious company that he keeps, but never lets that beat him. That's what kept me reading anyway.

Another approach that the writers take here is to flesh things out a little further with tales of Mockingbird, the SHIELD spy who falls for Hawkeye. The reader gets a little extra background on another character (and a more covert part of the Marvel universe that I was never really aware of) and this helps Hawkeye's character develop a little further. Everyone wins here I think (although having said that, the Mockingbird/Huntress tales do shift the attention from the guy who is meant to be the whole point of the book...)

Mockingbird's tales are a little deeper in nature because of the subject matter, espionage and loads of double crossing intrigue. As a result then, the book as a whole offers a good balance between 'beat em' up' and spy tales. Things don't have a chance to get stuck in a rut here as we're constantly switching between different types of stories.

'Avengers: Hawkeye' looks fairly straightforward on the the surface then but there is plenty going on once you get more into it. Ultimately it didn't prove enough to be really inspiring but it was plenty enough to make for a fun weekend read (especially given the hangover I was nursing at one point but that's another story)

Eight and a Quarter out of Ten

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