In 2006, writers Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker, along with artists David Aja and Travel Foreman, pumped new life into the character of Iron Fist in the series The Immortal Iron Fist. It told the story of Danny Rand as he proved himself the best Iron Fist that ever was. It was one of the best martial arts comic of the last decade and brought this forgotten 70s character back into the limelight.
It’s now 2012, but Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye doesn’t need to be brought into limelight. In the comics he is now leading the Secret Avengers and he was one of the best remembered characters of a movie that made more money than Croesus and King Midas’ love child. How do you top that?
You make this first issue of the new Hawkeye series pure jazzy independent comic fun published by one of the biggest mainstream comic book companies, is how you top that. The series should not even be titled Hawkeye, but Barton as it focuses more on what the world’s best marksman does when he’s not fighting Kang the Conqueror alongside Iron Man, Thor and Captain America.
The story is basically the story of a guy coming back to his building after a long sojourn in the hospital and discovering that his sleazy Russian landlord is kicking everyone out. What makes this comic worth so much more than the asked price of $2.99US is the masterful execution: All the elements fall into place to make this feel like a great independent crime comic. Clint Barton is not a superhero, but just a guy trying to stick up for the people living in his building. His marksmanship doesn’t come into play all that much either. Matt Fraction just turned one of Earth’s mightiest heroes into a neo-noir character.
But a good story isn’t all that matters in the medium of comic books and a lot of the credit is due to artist David Aja and colorist Matt Hollingsworth. While Aja knows just how to lay out the panels to match every beat of Fraction’s script, Hollingsworth switches his palette to make the non-linear narrative of the issue work.
In true independent fashion, the letter page features recommended listening for this issue: ‘‘Fire Dance’’ from Dizzy Gillepsie and Lalo Schifrin’s ‘’Free Ride’’. It fits the comic perfectly and, hopefully, sets the mood for the rest of the series.