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.