Review: Hawkeye #16
This era of Hawkeye draws to a close as Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, and Jordie Bellaire deliver a story full of punching, trick arrows, and quips that still resonates emotionally. Sure, the clones and time travel might be a little too much, but the light, delightful tone of the story makes it work. Hawkeye #16 is Kate and Clint’s last stand against Madame Masque and Eden Vale, who can use people’s blood to bring them back through time temporarily, including some of the greatest ranged weapon using villains in the Marvel Universe. In a previous issue, Eden told Kate that she could bring her mother back. And to spice things up even more, there’s also Kate’s mental suggestion ability having father waiting in the wings as a wild card. It’s a slugfest of an ending that shows how Kate has built a great, if a little crazy life for herself and still leaves a couple plot threads for Thompson to play with when a book featuring Kate Bishop comes back in August.
Throughout his run on Hawkeye, Leonardo Romero has shown a real knack for connecting readers to the action starting with Kate and Clint with their backs literally up against the wall surrounded by a horde of enemies. Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye paid homage to Rio Grande. This is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid transposed to the key of Humphrey Bogart playing Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon. The noir tones of the earlier issue have been replaced with hand to hand combat and sort of siege warfare. The fight scenes really work when Romero draws a sequence from a rooftop vantage point to create an activity and trick arrow filled double page spread or tightens up and shows a one on one battle in a nine panel grid like Clint fighting his former mentor, Swordsman and kicking his ass.
Romero and Jordie Bellaire also capture these nigh flawless close-ups of characters before a big emotional beat like Eden realizing her quest for vengeance is hurting innocent people, like a young girl who reminds her of dead daughter. Bellaire does something beautiful with her palette later in the book using a faded blue to reunite Eden with her daughter for one last moment juxtaposed with a faded pink flashback of of Romero’s art is clever, fluid, never boring, and when he trades out arrows with shields, I think he will be a perfect fit for Captain America.
Humor and sass are two of Kelly Thompson’s greatest strengths as a writer, and the sass level is doubled when Kate and Clint are both together in Hawkeye #16. Honestly, along with Romero’s art, the sass is the reason why Hawkeye is one of my favorite Marvel books. I’m dying to see what goofy thing will come out of Clint’s mouth or a choice portion of snark quip that Kate will deliver. And the best and most adorable parts is when Kate and Clint make the same joke at the same time because they have the best, bad strategy at the same time involving exploding arrows and heart to hearts. Romero and Bellaire’s storytelling skill at drawing the reader’s eye to the main action on the page as well as some great deadpan reaction shots allow Thompson’s jokes to hit and not have to go into narrator mode until the every end because every private eye story worth its salt has to end with an insightful voiceover.
Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, and Jordie Bellaire pull out all the cool archery move/surprise superpower/generally badass stops in Hawkeye #16, which reads like the third act of a particularly thrilling buddy action movie. However, it’s not entirely caught up in the cool, and Kate finds a little bit of closure with her whole supervillain dad/dead (Or not so dead) mom situation thanks to the help of her new friends in L.A. Kate Bishop, the best Hawkeye, might not have the best life, but she does have a pretty good one.
Story: Kelly Thompson Art: Leonardo Romero Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Story: 8.7 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review