His skill with a bow and arrow is so great that it allows him to stand shoulder to shoulder with gods, giants, and legends. His name is Clint Barton aka Hawkeye and this summer filmgoers everywhere were introduced to him thanks to the feature film adaptation of Marvel Comics’ “Avengers” series.
Hawkeye (as portrayed by Jeremy Renner) spent quite a bit of the film in thrall to the villainous Loki so people who were meeting him for the first time only caught a glimpse of the character’s aim, cunning, sarcasm, and heart. Readers who have been following Hawkeye’s comic book adventures since his introduction in 1964’s “Tales of Suspense” #57 know the Avenging Archer possesses all of these qualities in spades, especially if they’re reading the current Hawkeye series by writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja.
Hawkeye would go on to fight alongside Iron Man, but in his initial comic book appearances in “Tales of Suspense” he fought against the Armored Avenger. Those early battles came about because of the machinations of his future teammate the Black Widow who was still a spy for the Soviet Union at the time and would become an Avenger herself years later.
After breaking free from the Widow’s influence Hawkeye set out to prove to himself and the world that he was a hero. Tony Stark was so impressed by his efforts that he sponsored his former enemy for membership in the Avengers. His propensity to speak his mind in very blunt and sarcastic ways would occasionally rub his teammates the wrong way, but over the years Hawkeye has served the Avengers with distinction. Whenever a crisis arose he would be on the front lines trying to save the world.
You’ve got to wonder how that affects his psyche though. How does he keep fighting the good fight against gods, aliens, and massively powerful cosmic entities when essentially he’s just a normal, human being? And how do you feel like you’re making a difference in the world when your teammates are Thor and the Incredible Hulk?
Writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja wanted to know the answers to those questions so this summer they launched a new Hawkeye series that chronicles the troubles the title character gets into when he’s not with the Avengers. The stories are smaller, but no less exciting street-level tales, about a former criminal and carnival grifter turned hero who uses his cunning and dead aim to make a difference in the lives of everyday people. So in Hawkeye Clint Barton is a working-class superhero, a sort of Jim Rockford with a bow.
Clint Barton isn’t the only title character of Hawkeye either. The title also refers to Kate Bishop, his teenage protege in the series. Kate is part of a team of teen heroes who came together to protect the world during a period when the Avengers weren’t active, and like the original Hawkeye she’s just an incredibly resourceful person who can do amazing things with a bow and some trick arrows in a team full of super-powered heroes. So Kate understands what her friend and namesake is going through and because of that she has decided to help him in his adventures.
Kate and Clint’s adventures in Hawkeye are drawn by artist David Aja and as you can see from the art that accompanies this piece, his style is perfect for the series. The action jumps off the page and the characters are full of emotion. Plus colorist Matt Hollingsworth gives the book an ideal color palette.
If you’re intrigued by Hawkeye’s combination of beautiful art and character driven, street-level New York adventure stories, but unsure about jumping aboard a book that began in the summer, don’t worry. Each issue of Hawkeye is written to be new reader friendly and January’s issue #7 will be especially accessible because it’s a special issue created to help people in need.
When writer Matt Fraction saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy he wanted to do something to help out. So he decided to donate all of the sales incentive bonus payments he receives from Hawkeye #7 to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy Relief. That means the more people who purchase the issue the bigger the check he’ll write to the Red Cross. So Fraction encourages anyone who’s curious about the series to give it a try with issue #7.
Hawkeye #7 contains two stories about Hurricane Sandy with different perspectives. In the first story Clint Barton tries to help a friend evacuate his father in Queens, who is reluctant to leave his home. In the second tale Kate Bishop is trapped in a four star hotel in Atlantic City when Sandy begins to unleash its full elemental fury.
So if you’re curious and want to give money to a worthy cause head on down to your local comic book shop and pick up a copy of Hawkeye #7 for yourself and maybe for a friend. To make sure you have a copy, and to maximize the amount of good you can do, ask your local comic book retailer to pre-order the book and reserve it for you. Store orders are due by January 7 though, so contact your local shop today. You’ll be glad you did; not only will you be introduced to one of the most critically acclaimed titles Marvel Comics publishes, you’ll also be donating to a great cause.