Welcome back to ‘Marvel NOW… NOW!’, the series in which we take a look at how the Marvel universe’s rebranding is progressing. This time I’ll be looking at Matt Fraction’s personal take on wisecracking Avenger, Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye.
Firstly, Matt Fraction and David Aja are somewhat of a pre-proven powerhouse combo. Having already worked together on the well-received Immortal Iron First line, along with Ed Brubaker (one of my personal favourite writers), I was fairly confident about picking up the first trade of Hawkeye on their names alone. It’s times like this I want to pat myself on the back for being awesome at being right.
Of course, this level of initial excellence simply isn’t enough for Fraction. When one Hawkeye is insufficient he takes it up a notch with the old spice-weasel. Bam! Ever heard of Kate Bishop? The third Hawkeye and one of the Young Avengers? Two Hawkeyes co-starring in one book; who could ask for more?
The interaction between the two provides fertile ground for comic relief with Barton acting surrogate big brother to Bishop’s self-assured protégé. Sitcom gold. There is immediately some obvious sexual tension which Fraction navigates easily using Barton’s floundering social ineptitude to highlight the creepy age difference, thus leaving you focusing less on whether they will or won’t and more on their developing professional partnership and friendship. The banter is akin to that of Natalie Portman and Jean Reno in The Professional (or Leon depending what country you saw it in) as Kate bails him out of more than one tight spot, poking fun at his personal shortcomings and just generally being an impressive hero in her own right.