Hawkeye: Little Hits (2013)
Matt Fraction, David Aja, Francesco Francavilla, Matt Hollingsworth, Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm, Annie Wu
Collecting Hawkeye #6-11
Trade Paperback, 136 pages, Marvel Comics
Retail price $16.99
Tell a superhero comic book fan that you’re going to give him a comic featuring a superhero on his days off and you’ll probably get a “No thanks.” I’m sure some fans who would read it (some fans would buy a comic about shopping for floor tile), but most probably wouldn’t. Hawkeye is all about what Clint Barton does when he’s not with the Avengers. If you read the first volume, Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon, then you know what you’re getting in for: a somewhat restrained, low-key, street-level comic about a guy living in a rough neighborhood, generally trying to do the right thing, and failing miserably at understanding women.
You might expect Little Hits to be more of the same (which wouldn’t be a bad thing), but Fraction branches out here, adding more depth to an already good character while getting him into situations containing more complexity and danger.
Case in point: Hawkeye’s lending a hand to his friend Grills and Grill’s dad during a storm could be just another nice humanitarian story involving a scrape with Hawkeye’s rival Kate Bishop, but it’s not. There’s much more going on not only with Kate, but also with Grills, the tracksuit thugs, even the “pizza dog” (who gets his own story which, by itself, is worth the price of the book).
Oh, did I mention there’s also a serial killer on the loose?
Not only does Fraction toss all these balls in the air and keep them going, he also enlists the help of artists Steve Lieber, Jesse Hamm, Annie Wu and Francesco Francavilla (in addition, of course, to the incredibly talented David Aja) to bring a different tone to different issues. I don’t know if this was an act of necessity or design, but the result is absolutely brilliant.
There’s a reason why Hawkeye and Daredevil (Chris Samnee’s art, to be specific) were the only Eisner winners (and apart from children’s comics, the only nominees) this year from Marvel: they’re very good, they’re smartly written, and drawn by a creative team with imagination and vision. If you’re not reading Hawkeye, you’re missing out on a real treat.