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Review: Hawkeye #5

all new hawkeye #5As a part of Marvel Comic’s “All-New, All-Different” comics imprint, the Avengers’ Hawkeye is given a fresh interpretation. Writer, Jeff Lemire has made a career out of breathing new life into well-established characters. Previously working for DC Comics, he retooled tent pole DC characters such as Teen Titans, Superboy, Atom and Green Arrow to much critical acclaim. He brings this experience with him to Marvel Comics and applies it to Hawkeye of the Avengers, a character that has traditionally been portrayed as a supporting member of an ensemble and who has infrequently been given a solo title.

In the current series, Lemire takes the reader into the inner-life of the Hawkeye (and his protégé, Kate Bishop, also known as Hawkeye) when he’s off-duty from the Avengers. Lemire’s Hawkeye takes on the persona of a hard squabble everyman. He is divorced, deaf/hearing impaired and finds the most mundane of human interactions challenging, in a manner that strongly implies that Hawkeye falls somewhere on the Asperger’s spectrum.

Yet, Hawkeye’s strong sense of ethics compels him to do “the right thing”. Lemire takes every opportunity to fully explore the dynamics and consequences of heroic actions and inactions in a way the exploits nuance for a compelling storyline.

Issue 5 follows the Hawkeyes (Clint and Kate) as they try to save a group of children from being exploited by Hydra. Interspaced with the A-story line, is an extended flashback to the childhood of Kate Bishop. The artwork of Ramón Pérez fills the panels nicely, even changing from a sharp realism in the main story to softer, muted pastels for Kate Bishop’s flashbacks. Pérez utilizes bright, solid backgrounds which draws the eye to the contrasting imagery of the figure drawing.

The result is that the action of the panel appears vivid and free flowing.

Lemire creates in “All-New Hawkeye” a character driven comic book that borrows heavily from the noir tradition of hard-boiled detective novelists like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Hawkeye stays grounded in the humanity of its “superhero” and offers a familiar, yet unique alternative to the traditional superhero comic book.

Hawkeye #5, published March 23, 2016. Writer: Jeff Lemire. Artist: Ramón Pérez. Colors: Ian Herring with Ramón Pérez. Lettering: Joe Sabino. Cover: Ramón Perez. Variant Cover: Phil Noto.

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