As your go-to guy for all things Clint Barton, it falls on me to report that this week marks the publication of the first issue of “All New Hawkeye” by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Ramon Perez.
Now those of you who have been paying attention — if there are such people — you’re thinking “didn’t Marvel publish the first issue of ‘All New Hawkeye’ by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Ramon Perez like, six months ago?”
Welcome to the unfathomable stupidity that is Marvel Comics publishing. After the success of the Matt Fraction/David Aja run, Marvel wisely decided to relaunch with a new creative team. They got out 5 issues when Marvel decided to relaunch again because, well, the Marvel Universe blew up over the summer and now all is shiny and new and everybody gets a new Number One. Because they sell better. And then sales go back down to normal. I suspect eventually Marvel will just start slapping a No. 1 on every issue they publish.
So, how is our shiny new No. 1? First we should back up and discuss Vol. 5, since this is really just a continuation of what happened there. Frankly, I wasn’t that impressed by the Lemire/Perez debut story. Half of the 5-issue story was spent rehashing Hawkeye’s origin story. AGAIN. Sigh. Why must comic writers draw from the same well over and over?
Hawkeye’s origin, like most superheroes, is a simple thing. As told by Stan Lee back in “Avengers 19,” young Clint Barton was an orphan who ran away and joined the circus. There he was taught archery by The Swordsman. When Swordy turned out to be a thief, they went their separate ways. Clint takes his skill with archery and becomes Hawkeye.
It’s not a story that needs to be retold a dozen times or embellished upon with each retelling, but such is the way of comics. Lemire didn’t add anything new to the story, but he did take 5 issues to tell a story that Lee told in a couple of pages. Again, comics.
The other half of the story is set in the present and involves Clint and Kate rescuing some children with powers from Hydra. They take the kids home but come to realize that the kids can’t handle their powers and are too dangerous to deal with. the story winds down with a terribly out-of-character ending in which Clint lets Hydra take the kids back instead of, I dunno, turning them over to S.H.I.E.L.D. or The Avengers. Pretty disappointing story.
Volume 6 opens with Clint and Kate on the outs — she can’t believe he let the kids go. Fast forward 15-or-20 years (I’m too lazy to go get the comic and report for sure) and Clint is now a recluse while Kate is doing her own thing. She shows up at his door because they need to go find the kids from earlier and stop them from destroying the world or somesuch… to be continued.
I will say I’m more interested in Old Man Barton than Little Boy Barton so it’s already off to better start. Perez’s art, which I quite liked in the previous run, looks a lot more scratchy and unfinished here. Hopefully it will get better. Hopefully the whole enterprise will get better. It’s off to a decent start, anyway.
Elsewhere, Hawkeye is also appearing in “The New Avengers,” which launched last month. The rest of the team and the premise doesn’t interest me much (other than Songbird) but Clint’s there so I’m in it for as long as he is. I’m not fond of the art (but I’ve seen worse) and the storytelling is too outlandish for my taste.
Plus, Squirrel Girl. I have nothing against comedy relief characters, but they don’t belong in my Avengers.
I’m kinda hoping this book gets canceled quickly and Clint winds up in a different Avengers comic. One with real Avengers in it.