Rating: 5/5 – Creative Storytelling From the Past Into the Present.
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Full disclosure; I haven’t read the critically acclaimed Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction and David Aja, although I recently picked up the oversized hardcover and plan on diving in soon. But I did pick up the first issue of this All-New Hawkeye based on the creative team involved, Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez. Lemire’s mainstream works for Marvel and DC have been just as strong as his creator owned work while Ramon Perez’s work on Tale of Sand made him an artist for me to follow. Even though I didn’t read the previous Hawkeye series I had no problems diving right into this series and loving this issue from beginning to end.
The art in this first issue shows just what type of range and artistic skills Perez has. Perez uses two different styles for this book, a watercolor painted feel for the flashback scenes and a more modern style reminiscent of Marcos Martin or Chris Samnee for the present day scenes. Both styles work, but it was the flashback scenes that simply amazed me. Using a purple palette to convey the time period, Perez shows us a young Clint Barton and his brother Barney growing up with an abusive father in midwestern Iowa. Perez doesn’t use any borders but lets the art flow and take shape in creative ways. In a one scene, he uses the ripples of a pond in a perfect sequential pattern and the results are picturesque. The more modern style uses a much more simple color range, and while the art style didn’t impress me as much as the watercolors, it was still great.
Clint Barton/Hawkeye is once again teamed up with the Young Avengers Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. Lemire drives the characterization of both through a healthy does of dialogue between them as they infiltrate a Hydra base on a mission for S.H.I.E.L.D.. Through Clint Barton’s perspective, we see the present day situation coincide with his childhood memories which made the story carry a greater weight for me than just the usual good guys vs. bad guys. Lemire’s dialogue is smart and quick and he was able to create a nice chemistry between the two archers.
Although the Fraction and Aja Hawkeye series has yet to wrap up, this All-New Hakeye series doesn’t live in that shadow. This first issue is a must read. Ramon Perez is creating artwork that’s memorable and powerful, while Lemire is writing a story that is taking two time periods and weaving the effects of the past into the present day. Lemire is showing us how Barton’s childhood influences his thought processes in the present, not by forcing the point home through caption boxes, but by using a combination of flashback art sequences and minimal dialogue. The results hit the mark and I have a new must-read series.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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