Thursday, January 03, 2013

Best Comics of 2012: Hawkeye

The best straight up super-hero comic of the year was without a doubt the new Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction and David Aja.

Cover to Hawkeye #9 by David Aja
One of the very first comic series I ever collected was the Avengers (at the end of the Perez run), so the characters hold a special appeal for me. And of all of the Avengers do you know who I like the best? Hawkeye. That's right - that one hard-core Hawkeye fan, it's me.

I have the first ever action figure done of Hawkeye and have many of his early comic appearances. One of my favourite all-time comic covers? This one below, circa 1982 by Ed Hannigan. I copied it when I was 14 and still have that old drawing.

Having said all this, even if you aren't a huge Hawkeye fan like me, if you have even the slightest penchant for really well-written, smart, charming, funny super-hero comics - you'll enjoy the heck out of this comic. Hawkeye is a great character because he is just a regular guy with no super-powers, just an incredible talent in archery. In fact lately, he's been written as being able to use any object and make it a deadly weapon (think Bullseye). I like this and thinks it makes sense.

In the Fraction book, Hawkeye is an average joe, a perennial bachelor, a smart-ass who drinks too much and has trouble paying the bills. Still he's charming and fights crime. He also has a protege in Kate Bishop (from the Young Avengers), who is also a talented archer. She's also smarter than Hawkeye, so they make for a good team.

The artwork by David Aja, is also a joy to behold. I've been a fan of Aja's since his previous team-up with Fraction on the Immortal Iron Fist (also excellent). His work has just gotten better and better over the past couple of years. He's simplifying his style and using bold blacks and innovative panel break-downs. It's such a pleasure to look at. Apparently he's also moved to a mostly digital style too which I find interesting. Here's a couple of good examples of his storytelling. You don't even need word balloons or captions to understand what's going on.

The book is yet to be collected (it's just at #6 right now), so to pick it up you'll need to get the single issues for now at finger comic stores everywhere. The first softcover comes out in the Spring. You can pre-order it now though.

I'm sure I'll be buying a number of copies as gifts. An excellent book.

No comments: