The new Hawkeye comics you maybe haven’t yet realized you want to read but you totally should because they are amazing. Wait, hear me out.

I know! You don’t want to read the new Hawkeye comics because comics are expensive, Hawkeye is boring, and Marvel comics are too mythology-heavy for a newcomer to leap into. But you’re so wrong. Unbeknownst to you, you really do want to read the new Hawkeye comics. Let me explain real quick why your objections to doing so are inadequate.

1. Single-issue comics are an expensive habit. So borrow a friend’s. Or if you can’t borrow a friend’s, just pay the three bucks a month. If you take a year’s subscription through Marvel, it’s still about the same cost as one hardback book. You buy books all the time. Subscribe to a comic this one time. (Or wait for the trade paperback to come out in March of this year.) The covers are stylish, and as I’ll describe in more detail below, the comics are very very very good.

See? Attractive.

2. Hawkeye was the boringest Avenger in the Avengers movie. Yup, he was. That is a correct assessment. Partly that’s the writing — it’s hard to be cool and interesting when you’re (spoiler alert) turned evil within five minutes — and partly it’s that Jeremy Renner (sorry, Hurt Locker fans! I am sure he was great in Hurt Locker but I’ll never know because I’m not watching that movie) is bland like oatmeal and a bad archer. Plus, when everybody else in the movie gets a bunch of opportunities to be awesome and ass-kicky, and one character gets very few and has no superpowers, you obviously end up thinking of that one character as the weakest link.

Luckily for us all, the Hawkeye comics in question are about Hawkeye when he’s not hanging around with the Avengers; i.e., when he’s just being a regular guy trying to do right by the world. The first issue is about him trying to get his shady thug landlord not to raise the rent on all the tenants in his building. The second issue’s about him trying to foil a robbery. The writer, Matt Fraction, has said that his vision of Hawkeye is someone who just can’t help being a good guy — like, he’d help you move your couch even if it was raining outside (says Matt Fraction). What can I say? I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.

Also, he acquires a dog. He renames it but it’ll always be Pizza Dog in my heart.

Ehn is right.

3. All the mythology is too hard to get into. Nope, it isn’t. This one’s my big reason for never reading any Marvel comics — the canon’s too voluminous — but the Hawkeye books are very light on the mythology. The writers aren’t telling a big extended story. They’re telling a bunch of small stories. If you’ve seen a few of the superhero movies in the last few years you’ll be fine.

So okay. That’s your objections resoundingly put paid to. Now that I’ve dealt with the reasons not to not read the Hawkeye comics, here are the reasons to read them:

1. The two main characters are a delight (to each other and to you). The two main characters are Clint Barton (regular Hawkeye) and Kate Bishop (also somehow Hawkeye? I don’t know the mythology on this and you don’t need to either; she shoots like Hawkeye does), and they enjoy and excel at working as a team. I was in for this as soon as Clint 1) talked all about how great and awesome Kate is, as you the reader are watching her be great and awesome; and 2) said he didn’t want to sleep with her. Yay! Not everyone has to constantly want to sleep with everyone else. Kate and Clint get a kick out of each other, and they have each other’s backs. What more could you ask?

2. Everyone wears purple. This isn’t anything. I like purple, that’s all. The palate of the comic is overwhelmingly purple. Yay.

3. The art is really nice. I guess the purple thing could have been subsumed into this, but I love purple so much! It feels wrong to pretend I love purple less than I do. Anyway, the art is really nice as a whole. The action shots are elegant and cool. The quieter, chattier panels do an amazing job of conveying subtext through body language. There are a few panels I kept going back to because the way the characters’ faces were tilted and how their arms went, damn it just said everything. Way to go, artist David Aja.

4. The dialogue is understatedly wonderful. It is all charming all the time. Hawkeye’s inner monologue is extra charming, especially when you consider that inner monologues are basically voiceovers, and voiceovers are hard. These ones are the perfect balance of sincerity and humor and self-deprecation. I know I’ve just two seconds ago praised the dynamic between the two main characters, but I’m going to do it again because this page, where Hawkeye is blown away by how perfect Kate is at her job, blows me away with how perfect everyone who worked on this page is at their jobs.


There is also this joke. It’s maybe not the first time this joke has been made, but it’s made completely charmingly here.

5. The stories have complex, interesting, inventive structures. Y’all know I love a story with a tight structure. I particularly love Hawkeye #3 for this, although all of the issues are good. The unifying theme of #3 is that Hawkeye has made nine really bad decisions that day, and he ticks them off for you one by one and that’s the story. It all has its roots in Hawkeye trying to get some tape to label all his ridiculous trick arrows (this in the vein of Hawkeye being the Avenger who’s just a dude), but as he’s trying to get that task accomplished, he ends up in a big car chase shooting trick arrows pretty much at random. A small inset panel shows a close-up of the arrow with a label (acid arrow, smoke bomb arrow, etc.), and below that is a panel showing the damage being done by each. It is so damn cool.

6. When I finished reading the six issues that existed as of December which is when I read them, I felt real sad. I felt so bummed out that I had reached the end of the comics to be read, I read two of them over again. (The third one and the last one.) Then I gave all six to Mumsy to read (she liked them), and when she gave them back I read them again. And then the first one again. After that I let Legal Sister read them, and after that I returned them to Captain Hammer, whose comics they were. As soon as I got home that evening I regretted giving them up because I wanted to read them all again. This is all in the course of one day. That’s how delightful and readable these comics are. Read them tomorrow.

Aaaaaa, I love this comic so much. When the first volume comes out in March, I will want to buy a copy for everyone I like. It’s just so good. Read it. Read it. Read it. You’ll thank me later.

37 thoughts on “The new Hawkeye comics you maybe haven’t yet realized you want to read but you totally should because they are amazing. Wait, hear me out.

  1. So I *really* liked Hawkeye in the movie (Mostly because Jeremy Renner is so pretty–it’s the eyes.) I even felt bad that he didn’t have a better story because he seemed like a potentially awesome character (with pretty eyes–can’t let that go). Anyway, that and the recent raves about this comic on Pop Culture Happy Hour had already piqued my curiosity. Now you just confirm that I need to get this. Crossing my fingers that my library will get the first volume.

    • Reeeeeeeeally. Jeremy Renner does nothing for me in the first place, so I wasn’t inclined to like him. But I agree he was served badly by the script. Maybe in the next one he’ll do all manner of badass things and win my heart.

      I was delighted when PCHH mentioned this comic! I was sort of waiting for them to. I kept thinking, Why haven’t they mentioned it yet? It’s so great! It’s right in their wheelhouse! Why hasn’t Glen Weldon brought this up already? :p

  2. Since tomorrow is my niece’s birthday, maybe this would be an excellent gift for her since she is far away and then she can think of me every month when the comic arrives? Hmmm. I’m thinking… Might work.

    • Oh man, if she’s into comics AT ALL, you should definitely get this for her. Also because I love getting things in the mail, and probably she does too. Mail is awesome and fun.

      • Well, I have NO IDEA if she is into comics but she strikes as someone who very well might be and she is adorable and smart so I DID IT. I bought her this. Unfortunately, we are many miles separated so we can’t share. I’m really hoping she will share with her sister and that her sister will come visit me. Of course SHE could visit it me, too, but Older-Sister keeps *saying* she will visit so she has first dibs. I pointed the birthday girl here to read this post so she would be excited about her present. She said she was; will find out in 6-8 weeks if I get any more response as to its wonderfulness. THANKS!

  3. I’m thrilled you enjoyed these so much. They are quite possibly my favorite of the new Marvel wave, and I think probably the most accessible because of the limited mythology as you pointed out. (I still really like Matt Fraction’s use of Tony Stark. Very good in keeping with the tone of the comic.) I’m 90% sure issue #7 comes out next week!

  4. Yeah, I am also a big Hawkeye fan. I think I like the superheroes who don’t have special powers better than those who do. I have this theory that one of the most attractive things in the world is intensive competence, which is what the non-powered heroes bring to it. Also, I generally love Matt Fraction comics–have you ever read The Last of the Independents? You totally should.

    • Intensive competence IS attractive. I haven’t read The Last of the Independents but I totally will. I’m reading Matt Fraction’s run on Iron Man right now and enjoying it a lot.

    • Oh wow! Yay! You’re going to love it. I would ordinarily hedge my bets by apologizing in advance in case you didn’t love it, but like — realistically, you’re going to love it. There’s nothing not to love.

  5. Not a fan of comics, but you’ve convinced me with all your geeky love and the points that you ave made, and I kind of love purple as well. I am going to get the volume when it comes out in March, but it would be great if you put up a little post to remind us when it’s available, so that we don’t forget!

  6. I almost leapt out of my seat in my hurry to comment here saying HELL YES, HAWKEYE FTW. Also, the origin of Kate Bishop is from a small series titled Young Avengers–really small! No more than twelve issues, I think!– and it is also great, though in a high-school kind of way. I think it was written by one of the screenwriters from The O.C.? The guy who created the geek kid, if I’m not much mistaken. ANYway, the important thing is that Kate Bishop is equally awesome in both comics 🙂

    I got really excited over this, sorry.

    • Huh! Good to know! I will see if my local comic book store has it. I like her a lot in these comics. I love how reliable she’s been — you know? I love a character where if they get asked for help, you can counting on them showing up for it no matter what.

  7. I was in the big comic book store in Atlanta on Saturday, picking up my usual—The Unwritten, Journey Into Mystery, Wonder Woman, and Sword of Sorcery—and I saw this and I almost, almost picked it up. But I just ditched American Vampire for Sword of Sorcery, so I felt weird, and determined to pick up the trade.

    But I really, really want to, because it looks amazing.

    And I think more people should push the $2.99 for some gorgeous art angle. I will one day build a way to display all of my The Unwritten on a wall, so I can look at all that gorgeous, bibliophilic art whenever I so desire.

    • Oh man. You have to definitely get it. I think it’s reasonable to get the trade! That’s probably what I’ll do, just because I find it hard to store single-issue comics. Oh man, Clare, seriously, you’re going to love it when you read it.

      • And March isn’t that far off! It sounds so, so good, and I would like to think of Clint as not “the useless one”, although I think his role in The Avengers as Black Widow’s morality pet (instead of a character unto himself) is quite interesting.

        The Container Store has these really cheap cardboard boxes that I find work great to store comic books in a la the long boxes of used comics at the store. My friend Ellen, who loves Zatanna, displays one or two of her Zatanna comics with parts of her Zatanna costume, and it looks awesome.

  8. Finally got to read the first three today and the third was a definite winner. Actually they all are winners. I particularly like how Hawkeye starts each story with, “Okay… this looks bad,” as though he’s just been called into the boss’ office. Also, Boomerang arrow!

  9. Bro, this series is excellent, bro. I’m so glad people are into it. One reason for people to track down the single issues, as opposed to just waiting for the trade, is that they’d be missing out on those covers and the covers are SO GOOD, BRO.

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