It’s about time, really. One could argue that the prior few volumes of Hawkeye, both the Matt Fraction & David Aja series and the Jeff Lemire & Ramón Peréz version, were intentionally ambiguous regarding the titular hero. Which “Hawkeye” is given the top billing? Shouldn’t we really start calling the book Hawkeyes? But with this week’s Marvel NOW! debut of Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s Hawkeye #1, there is no room for debate. This is Kate Bishop’s comic book. She’s packing her bow & arrow, saying farewell to Clint, and heading for California.
Bishop settles in Venice, where she’s opened a private investigation office. And she’s taking surveillance photos of surfers. Like all good modern crime narratives, we need to de-romanticize the hardboiled intrigue of the professional detective’s line of work… before completely diving into a flurry of mystery, mayhem, and action sequences. This is still a superhero book after all. And Thompson is already demonstrating a knack for fun capes n’ tights books that serve up the super with a heaping side of sass. The two-page spread of Kate explaining to one potential client after another that she’s not that Hawkeye is gold.
Her recent Marvel work included picking up G. Willow Wilson’s all-female Avengers team on A-Force, a book that, sadly, did not seem to be part of the company’s 2016-2017 plans. Which is a shame, really, because that had been one of the more entertaining ensembles in Marvel’s catalog. The developing dynamic in A-Force makes me excited for the potential of this series; thus far, Thompson & Romero seem to be sticking with what works, or what is familiar. The storytelling, plot construction, and even general aesthetic are very reminiscent of Fraction & Aja’s Hawkeye. Given time, however, I’m pretty excited to see this creative team carve their own path, and tell a unique story, in much the same way that Lemire and Peréz were able to do in their two arcs.
This week’s The Accused fills in the gap between issues 3 and 4 of Civil War II. Specifically, we are in the gallery and behind closed doors for all the conspiratorial intrigue that takes place during Hawkeye’s month-long trial. There’s no drama in the final verdict: that was revealed two weeks ago (Clint walks!) but this one-shot puts a very different spin on the hero vs. hero conflict that is at the center of the Civil War event. By now, in Week 45 of All New All Different Marvel, readers know that Matt Murdock has returned to New York and is once again practicing law. This time, however, he’s sitting at the other table, as one of the prosecuting attorneys tasked with convincing a jury to convict Clint Barton of murder. And sentence him to death.
Cullen Bunn & Greg Land
An X-Book that is straight to business from the get-go. This is the classic X-Men premise of mutants protecting the world, and protecting themselves from the world. Except now Magneto is at the center, and he doesn’t seem as peaceful as he’s been in previous conversions. Once you get past the roll call in the first few pages, the real plot picks up, and I’m into the Inhumans/Mutants race war. The “Dark Riders” don’t seem to have a lot of allure outside of being mutant-hating Inhumans, but I’ll look forward to seeing this badass X-team go off on chumps. On a Greg Land note, outside of the cover, it seems he’s stepped back a little from his signature photo-realistic style, and I still think it looks crisp, but now it’s got grit. Also: What happened to Angel? Can we stick a mutant’s brain in there or something? – RF
First collection: Uncanny X-Men, Vol. 1: Survival of the Fittest (July)
19 Squadron Supreme
James Robinson & Leonard Kirk
Awesome. Both James Robinson books are must-reads for me. Feels like one of the early Millar/Bendis Ultimate U books. Maybe it’s a bit confusing with all the references to the Incursions and the atrocities committed by Namor and The Cabal… but I think the shock value is intact. Plus, I freaking hate Namor. – MMDG
This is easily gonna be one of my favorite capes ‘n’ tights books of this ANADM. I have liked the alternate realities of Squadron Supreme that I’ve read, and seeing them combined permanently in the Marvel U (not just an Ultimates crossover) is exciting. I think Marvel is pretty excited too because they’re letting Ross do the covers. The Squadron I’m familiar with has always been about gritty interpretations of classic hero types (Superman, Batman, Flash Wonder Woman, etc.) and the less sentimental Squadron will easily clash with the moral stances of many classic Marvel heroes. I’m surprised this cover doesn’t advertise the Namor fight; that seems like kind of a huge deal. Next issue they face one of the oldest MU characters ever, as well as their newest, strangest Avengers team, and as long as this book can maintain it’s “MAX-line” quality, I think I’ll keep reading. – RF
First collection: Deadpool, Vol. 1: By Any Means Necessary! (June)
Week six of Marvel’s All-New All-Different relaunch puts that mouthful of a moniker right smack on the cover of at least one flagship title. Waid and Kubert’s Avengers title isn’t New or Uncanny, or even Ultimate (also debuting this week), but it does feel like the focal book of the Avengers line. We got out first tease of this series back in May with a Free Comic Book Day edition, and now, in its full-length glory, Earth’s Mightiest kick-off a galactic romp that hearkens back to the pre-Disassembled Kurt Busiek days.
The seven new series hitting shelves this week brings the total up to an even thirty. X-23 takes up the Wolverine mantle. Team Hawkeye picks up from Perez and Lemire’s 5-issue run earlier in the year. A psychopathic super-villain gets top-billing. A cluster of Spider-people are the new Exiles. Heroes for Hire gets worked. And more! Including The Mandarin in a sweet suit.
All New All Different premieres All-New All-Different Avengers #1 All-New Hawkeye #1 All-New Wolverine #1 Carnage #1 Illuminati #1 Ultimates #1 Web Warriors #1