In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hawkeye is the most fascinating character to me. He’s one superpower is that he sees really well. He has the largest weakness in that he has a regular family. This led me to find out more about the character in the comics. Twitter led me to the Hawkeye series by writer Matt Fraction and drawn by David Aja. This Hawkeye is way more fascinating than the one in the MCU.
First of all, this series deals with Hawkeye when he is not being an Avenger. It focuses on his problems with Russian mafia who want to take over his apartment building. He is rarely is in uniform. It focuses on his relationships with lovers, past lovers, his neighbors, and his brother. It also focuses on his relationship with the other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. In fact, sometimes the comic focuses soley on her.
This is a Hawkeye who wants to do good. Yet, doing good often leads to trouble. It’s easier to stay out of trouble if you don’t get involved. However, that’s not Clint Barton nor Kate Bishop. People depend on them. Most of the time, Hawkeye is covered in bandaids. He pushes people away. Barton learns to ask for help from others (however, he refuses to ask help from the Avengers.) In the end, Hawkeye is able to do right by the people he cares for.
Fractions scripts are moving and inventive. One particular script is from the point of view of a dog that Hawkeye has rescued. The scripts that deal with Kate are just different enough to feel that they are in a different series but just enough like the Barton story line to tie them together. Aja has created some of the beautiful panels and the rest of the artistic team has created some of the most stylized comics I’ve read yet. The muted purples and oranges make for a gorgeous comic book. (I would have post some panels here but I try to respect copyright laws and couldn’t find any labeled for reuse.)
What makes this Hawkeye so damned readable is the fact that he so like us. He has money but he lives in an apartment building that is definitely lower middle class. He has women issues, trust issues, and abandonment issues. He has trouble hooking up his VCR.
In other words, he is just like us.