In a series known for it’s use of the unconventional. Matt Fraction uses the Hawkeye annual #1 to take everything we love about this series and move it to California.
The other Hawkguy…er… girl Kate Bishop can’t take Clint Barton anymore so she takes Pizza Dog and heads for a fresh start in Los Angeles. Only, Madame Masque just won’t let her impersonation at the hand of Bishop back in issue five be water under the LA River. Not only does Kate have to escape certain death at the hands of Masque’s goons, she also has to set up her new unfunded life in Los Angeles away of Barton and her other allies.
Throughout his run on Hawkeye, Fraction has basically written a textbook about how to write superheroes on their days off. The annual shows his magic isn’t limited to Clint Barton. Fraction goes into what makes Kate Bishop tick. Her inner workings are eerily similar to Barton’s in terms of yearning to be an individual. While Barton uses his brooding and digs to escape the shadow of being an Avenger, Kate uses being an Avenger to escape the shadow of her rich family. Fraction takes Bishop from a spoiled rich kid mentality to a truly independent girl just looking to make it on her own. It makes her incredibly human and moments like her credit cards getting scissored in half show such emotional transition for the character, so much so that you almost forget there’s a murderous mob after her.
Javier Pulido’s art follows regular series artist David Aja’s in a lot of ways that make it hard to distinguish them. Both follow the less is more style of story telling in the series. Pulido has a more deco style playing with shadow and hard lines to create the illusion of depth. While the art in the book is pleasant and well fitting with the script it just doesn’t have the expression of David Aja’s immersive panels.
If this is truly a new direction for the female Hawkeye it’s a welcomed change to help set her place in the Marvel universe. Readers will definitely stay with her on her journey to self-reliance in a world that forces team ups each week.
8.5 out of 10 Amazing, Fraction still has the ability to bring his characters down to earth after a year.