Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon (2013)
Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido, Matt Hollingsworth
Collecting Hawkeye #1-5, Young Avengers Presents #6
Trade Paperback, 136 pages, Marvel Comics
Retail price $16.99
Amazon price $12.18
Matt Fraction's Hawkeye is a breath of fresh air in a superhero universe that can easily get boring, overwhelming, or both, very quickly. This collection of stories involves few supervillains, no large-scale galactic wars and no insanely complicated crossovers - just good stories.
Here’s Hawkeye, a guy who is, after all, just a regular guy. Hawkeye has no superpowers, but rather skills, enough skills that the Avengers who do have superpowers have no choice but to respect him. You’d think that stories about what superheroes do away from their teams would be lacking. And you’d be wrong.
You might also be tempted to think that a new comic series featuring a character from The Avengers movie is just Marvel trying to further cash in on a major success, but Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon is not a flashy collection of fluff designed to awaken images and experiences from the movie. Neither is it a blitzkrieg of trick arrows shooting off in 100 different directions. No, this collection is more of an urban street-level world with real people, real problems and real consequences. I mean, really: how many times have you seen a superhero get hurt, go to the hospital, and have to use a wheelchair? How many times have you seen a superhero dealing with a corrupt landlord? When’s the last time you saw a superhero at a veterinarian’s office? (And this is all in the first issue.)
That’s not to say that there’s no action or danger in these stories. There’s plenty of great fights, chases, mystery, intrigue, and - something that’s usually lacking in superhero comics - humor. Fraction’s well-paced storytelling combined with Aja’s (and Pulido’s) gritty artwork makes Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon instantly recognizable as something unique compared to most other comic books on the shelves.
Although I didn't really care that much for the Young Avengers Presents tale at the end of the book, I highly recommend this volume to anyone looking for something a bit different from the standard superhero fare.