Review: Hawkeye #2

hawkeye__2Kate Bishop really struggles being effective in the superhero/PI life in Hawkeye #2 as superheroes aren’t treated the same in L.A. as they are in New York. Her first client, Mikka, going missing and her investigation of the creepy Take Back Control (TBC, it has feel of a white supremacist group outfitted by mimes or Madame Masque.) organization provides the meat of Kelly Thompson‘s plot while artist Leonardo Romero continues to use Hawkeye-vision to show Kate’s thought process while she’s fighting/being a detective. And Jordie Bellaire continues to be one of the best colorists in the game using green and purple when Hawkeye does something triumphant, red when’s she stressed, and lots of shadows to give the comic a Southern California noir feel.

Thompson makes Kate a complex, interesting character by making her extremely competent at doing the whole archery and not so good at the whole being a private eye thing. (Maybe, she should hire Veronica Mars to tutor her for the P.I. license test, or just nab the answers…) She loses track of Mikka plus her stalker and doesn’t really ingratiate herself to the police, who keep asking her if she’s a P.I. or a vigilante. And it’s a good one, will Kate fight crime within the law or outside it using her arrows and fists? (She’s definitely better at the second one.) However, Thompson shows that the Mikka case going south isn’t just her fault as the police turn a blind eye to the Internet harassment she faced calling it a “grey area” instead of something very harmful. Cowboying up might be the only option anyway.

Romero’s art and Bellaire’s colors keep the pace of Hawkeye frenetic while occasionally hawkeye__2-1letting up on the pace to find Mikka and/or the TBC to show easily and precisely she takes out a couple of frat boys harassing a woman in an alley. Bellaire uses the purple to outline her plan, and then Romero jumbles the archery and martial arts in a whirling dervish of a double page spread that also includes her meeting a new acquaintance named Johnny, who is a decent guy. Bellaire shows Kate’s feelings towards him by He even admits to basically being the damsel in this situation as he and Kate are set upon by an army of harassers kickstarted by a TBC meeting.

Hawkeye #2 reminds me of the old Captain America stories featuring the Hatemonger as people start to act on their worst instincts (Which are instincts that they already harbor so they’re not completely off the hook as far as I’m concerned.), and Romero’s panels become cluttered with bodies charging at Kate. Unlike the the slick panels of her fight against the frat boys, it reads more like the big cliffhanger at the end of one of those far too numerous zombie TV shows with pained expressions from Romero, and a black, white, and grey palette from Bellaire. The beach turns from a place of fun to a possible slaughter pit in the blink of an eye.

Like arrows twanging in the Venice Beach night, there are shards of humor in the fairly dark world of Hawkeye #2. I know I have made many comparisons between comic and the TV show Veronica Mars (Kate’s ally Quinn has the personality of Piz and the computer skills of Mac.), but the inclusion snarky humor in the midst of some pretty dangerous situations is one thing they both have in common tone-wise. Kate’s asides give us a break from the intense action and also continue to make her a likable character to boot even if she is slightly cocky. But it comes with the codename, and who wouldn’t want to have the confidence to say they’re attractive in the middle of an alley fight.

Just like its protagonist, Hawkeye #2 is a confidently written, drawn, and colored comic, and its portrayal of Kate Bishop as simultaneously a badass and out of her depth is refreshing in a type of story that is sadly often populated by one-dimensional action women and damsels in distress.

Story: Kelly Thompson Art: Leonardo Romero Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review