Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Clint Barton, a.k.a Hawkeye, become the greatest sharp-shooter known to man. He them joined the Avengers. This is what he does when he’s not being an Avenger.
This is fast becoming one of my favourite comics. There’s no compelling plot, no fast-paced action… it just is. This is Clint Barton when he’s not being an Avenger and the results are, frankly, hilarious. It is a genuinely laugh-out-loud (LOL, if you’re that way inclined – which I’m not) read and a breath of fresh air alongside an abundance of typical superhero comics.
If you haven’t read the previous two issues, I strongly suggest you source yourself copies of #1 and 2. However, if you haven’t, that won’t stop you enjoying Hawkeye #3 any less. The “one-shot” structure of each book allows readers to ‘dip in’ at any point and still appreciate the book. Without forging any particular story arc – and choosing to focus of Clint when he’s not part of the Avengers – it is hard to pin-point the lifespan of this comic. The title page itself reads, “Why are you still reading this? It’s repetitive”.
Hawkeye #3 begins with a car chase. Clint Barton reasons that while it “looks bad”, it’s actually only the “third most-terrible idea” that he’s had today. We go on to relive his disastrous day, which begins with Barton and Kate attempting to sort out Barton’s extensive arrow collection. Clint leaves to purchase some labelling tape, promising to return in a sec. Of course, he doesn’t.
With the issue constantly flashing back on the car chase it opened with, we see Clint trying shop after shop in pursuit of this integral tape. He doesn’t find tape, but he doesn’t come across an attractive girl with an even more attractive vehicle in the car park. Clint jokingly offers to buy it and his new companion seems all too eager to sell. Naturally, their encounter results in the pair engaging in a past-time that is typically reserved for the third date.
Before it all gets too romantic, Clint’s new companion asks for the money for her car. Before she can answer why she is suspiciously selling her car and using the money to skip town, a group of men with guns burst through the door. It is here that Hawkeye proves that he does not need a special costume – or any kind of clothing at all, for that matter – to fight expertly. Sort of. He gets himself knocked out and allows his new girlfriend to be kidnapped. He orders Kate to pick him up so he can find the “tracksuit draculas” for round two.
Kate is Clint’s partner-in-crime, a quick-witted female companion who appears to be learning from Clint. More than handy with a bow and arrow herself, she spends most of her time with Clint – mostly making fun of him. The pair’s undeniable chemistry means the idea of a potential romance is not completely unreasonable, although Barton’s red-blooded antics with girls he meets in car parks suggests that he’s in no hurry to settle down.
Eventually catching up to the thieves of Clint’s new car, thanks to the tracer arrow that he left in the backseat, operation ‘Rescue Half-Dressed Girl is go”. Unfortunately, vehicles collide and Clint’s new vintage car is completely smashed up – Kate is, of course, on hand with a sarcastic quip rather than sympathy. But the pair are not out of danger just yet. While the enemies have a gun pointed at Clint, Kate has their hostage – as well as an arrow pointed right back at the them. Clint manages to convince her to release the arrow, which seems to be a big mistake right up until it slams into the back of the enemy’s head. A Boomarang Arrow. He should really think about labelling those things.
I find it difficult to fault this comic. It is completely atypical to your standard superhero book and that’s why it’s so great. Matt Fraction’s frantic pace makes for writing that’s exciting to read, even when the storyline itself is intended to be light-hearted. Fraction and the book’s artist, David Aja, work harmoniously together and prove to be the perfect creative team. Matt Hollingsworth’s contribution gives the book its signature purple hue which I personally love.
If that wasn’t enough to persuade you to pick it up, check out this rather generous censoring of Clint (below) as he’s forced to fly into action. Genius.