Caliburn24 here with Brooklyn in the eye of the storm.
Matt Fraction is one of the bravest writers this year bringing the real life tragedy of Hurricane Sandy, though it’s not mentioned by name, into comics in Hawkeye #7. He is aided by artists Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm who bring gritty noir art similar to series artist David Aja. The art reminds me of David Mazzucchelli’s work on the Daredevil: Born Again storyline. There is a simplicity to the artwork which takes the action from the superheroic fantasy and down to the streets specifically to the apartment building owned by Clint Barton. Hawkeye is of course now a popular character from the Avengers movie and tied to the world saving missions of the team. Still, as Fraction tirelessly points out, the comic bbok focuses on his time of from Avenging. In this case, he is helping a neighbor Grills pack for a trip in the rain on October 29th. This is a character introduced last issue that covered six days of Hawkeye’s life. Slight inconsistency in having him meet Grills in a comic scene where he is selling Barton a DVR, yet this is in December 14th which is after the time he is good friends with this man. Barton was not feeling up to his Avenger self in that issue so that could explain that away.
They reach the house of Grill’s father who is sitting at a table and not concerned about the coming storm. Barton is talking to himself carrying a sandbag to his car and then he sees an incoming wave in the night street. A great scene showing something out of a special effects disaster movie like The Day After Tomorrow rushing down a suburban street. He gets Grills and his father up the stairs as the wave comes crashing through the front door. There is some great expressions on the characters’ faces; Clint is horrified, Grills and his father look somber at the destruction. Barton pushes the two men up stairs as he goes to the ground floor, sunk above his knees in water, and then goes outside to see his car swept away. He races to the upstairs bedroom to evacuate the two men, but only the father is there. Barton shouts out where is Grills and realizes that that is not his real name. He races to the flooded basement where Grills is yelling for help trying to lift a box out of the water. The water rushes in and Grills falls in the water so Barton leaps in. He manages to pull Grills up to the stairs and asks him why he risked his life.
Grills replies that he was trying to recover things from his mother who passed away since his father did not move anything since she died. Now it is all swept away by the storm. A very telling cost of events like Hurricane Sandy. A strong scene showing the father looking sorrowful and the other two in silhouette. Father and son reconcile and the father points out to Clint that there is a rowboat in the attic. There is a full page, really a reason to buy this comic alone, that has a fire burning a house in the night, the Wonder Wheel in the background, and Clint with Grills (who reveals his name is Gil) and his father rowing in the flooded streets. Wonder Wheel is a symbol of Brooklyn and stands as a tradition of the boardwalks of yesteryear. Thankfully, the wheel stands as does the iconic Cyclone roller coaster. The photo was taken in 2007. It was stunning to see the water pooling around the wheel in the aftermath of the hurricane. Coney Island is truly something that everyone should experience. It was part of a side trip I took while I was in NY and I loved the aquarium which is closed because of the storm damage.
Back at the apartment, Clint is busy taping up a box of canned goods. Grills is there and he introduces him to his partner, Kate. This is Kate Bishop who was introduced in Young Avengers #1. She is following along Barton and they share the code name Hawkeye, but he doesn’t want a romantic relationship with her. He finally looks up to see that Kate is in a fancy purple dress and hat. There is an engagement invitation with some absurd names and Kate is in an almost anime cartoon pose jumping for joy. Kate and Clint start to argue about Jersey. He says the greatest Bruce in rock is Bruce Kulick from Kiss, of course slighting the Boss and Kate is furious sending Clint out of his apartment. Next, Kate is at the engagement party in Jersey when the waters sweep a lifeguard station, then flood a parking garage. The power starts to go out and Kate gets some light from her cellphone. The next day, the party guests are trying to wait for the evacuation. Kate rips her dress, takes shoes from a doorman and heads off to Duane Reade drugstore. She reaches the flooded garage and then plunges into the water for a swim to her car to get her bow and arrows.
Kate emerges into a Jersey struck by the hurricane, several water pools, lamp posts and trees lie on the street. She sees a broken window and takes out an arrow. Kate enters to see two crooks in face masks stealing a box of pills. Her bow is drawn, but another crook bashes her head with a can. Kate wakes up smelling beans and also notices that her bow and arrows are gone. She finds the people of Jersey have the crooks corned with shovels and a garden shear. Kate calls them her heroes. The owner gives her a bag of the prescription pills she needed and she leaves walking the street. She turns around in the street raising her bow and shouts out, “Jersey rules!” Clint meets her at the apartment. He says she can take the couch and they both enter the ruined apartment greeting each other as Hawkeye. Both heroes don’t wear their costumes, just street clothes, and though Kate draws her bow, it is never really used. The letters page notes that Fraction is donating some of the money from the issue to the Red Cross and also notes that Marvel and Disney also donated to the Red Cross. Comic books sometimes do things that are meaningful.