Hawkeye #3 Review

Hawkeye #3 Review

Fraction tells another great story, but can the artwork measure up?

Hawkeye #3

After last month’s issue, I was worried Fraction’s great story telling in the first issue was a fluke (I don’t have a long history with his work, so forgive the assumption), but this month comes back around with a solid story (though again somewhat non-linear), that is actually really fun to read, and gives us some great Hawkeye action as the two heroes play with their arrows during a car chase. And that’s pretty much it.

Save for the short build up, almost the whole issue is a single car chase, which actually isn’t bad given the writer’s execution. There isn’t a whole lot of character here, though the overarching string of thought in the issue is a series of mistakes Clint makes over the course of a day, but its so much fun that such is forgivable (as long as it doesn’t become a habit). The only flaw in the story, if you could say there is one, is that the issue plays out kind of like an old issue of Green Arrow, where Ollie and Mia get the Arrowcar back and take it for a spin, ending up in a car chase that concludes in a totaled vehicle and a fun, yet unimportant, issue. Of course, people who aren’t long time Arrow readers would likely never make this connection, and given the underlying threads of the story, its more than likely just a coincidence. The idea of a car chase isn’t exactly unique, and put two characters who are fairly similar into the situation, aware of the previous story or not, and you’re bound to end up with a few similarities, so there’s no point in nitpicking it. When all is said and done, you’re left with a fun issue regardless, so there’s really no room to complain.

Unless its about the art, of course. David Aja’s artwork is once again given little detail and no depth, while Matt Hollingsworth’s colors bring nothing but a stale and faded feel to the proceedings. On top of that, however, this month we have a ridiculous gimmick to add to it. I’m sure it was meant as a joke, and some people may actually get a kick out of it, but I found the use of a classic Hawkeye head as a censor on panel to be extremely unprofessional, and laughable… but in a bad way. Like I said, I get the joke, but its an unnecessary one, and serves little purpose, providing instead a moment of removal from the otherwise well written issue. It would’ve been just as easy to cover it with another shadow (as is also done in the issue), or better yet, just not have him naked. I mean, the girl Clint sleeps with in the issue got her underwear back on, so why couldn’t he?

At any rate, the bottom line for this issue is that it once again displays Fraction’s writing ability in a very positive light, but the artwork continues to fail and actually manages to become laughable, though not in the way intended. That said, I would say this issue may provide some sense of positivity for the title, and if it manages to continue pushing forward with this kind of writing, maybe this ongoing won’t fall victim to the same fate as the others Hawkeye has been given… but they really need to change the art team quick.

A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING

Pros Cons
Fraction’s writing pays off this month with a fun and exciting issue. The artwork is still pretty bad, and has now even fallen to gimmick.
Rating
80%


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11 Comments

  1. smurfshroom says:

    That’s shocking! I could not disagree more. For me, the artwork is the absolute highlight of this book – and seems to be the whole point of the book, in fact. Aja is creating some of most innovatively fun layouts I’ve seen from the big 2 in years. The colors are simple and work in concert with the linework to tell the story (although I could understand the criticism that they’re overdoing the purple a bit).

    Regarding your complaint about the censor-gimmick providing a moment of removal: this whole comic is about removal. It’s comics showmanship, and the creators want us to notice how its all being put together. The story is secondary – it’s the storytelling that I’m paying $3 for each month. And this is the sort of cartooning that I desperately want to see more of.

    I’m just curious what you disliked about the art – with the exception of the censor-gimmick that you apparently did not find hilarious. You note a lack of detail. Are you recommending some sort of photorealistic figurework instead?

    • Tom Parry says:

      Thanks so much for your comment!
      I am more than happy that you find the work they are doing enjoyable, unfortunately, I just can’t agree. In the reviews for the first two issues I’ve talked about this a bit more. At first I found Aja’s simplicity charming, while Hollingsworth’s colors were awkward and took me sometime to figure out why, but I eventually pinpointed the reason being its lack of depth with little to no shades or shadows being utilized, which gave it all a dated feel. With the second issue came more action which made me begin to dislike Aja’s work as well, as I noted his simplicity made the work seem abstract, especially in conjunction with the coloring, and that same method has continued with this issue.
      Of course, this is all just my opinion.

  2. Jay says:

    Craziness. Aja’s work is fantastic.

    I would recommend their run on Iron Fist if you’re not familiar with Fraction’s work, as you say. Another great series, and Aja was amazing for his parts.

  3. Jose says:

    Wow. I couldn’t disagree more with you David’s art is what caught my eye in the first place.

  4. Matt Timson says:

    I think that what you really meant to say was that you didn’t like the work, not that it was bad. There is a difference.

    I liked it a lot, by the way.

    • Tom Parry says:

      Very astute… as a reviewer, my opinion is what I present, thus me not liking something makes it akin to “bad” in my eyes, and so I call it such. I understand how absolute statements are read, however, and can cause contention. I am quite surprised at what this review has managed to do in pulling in so much discussion on Twitter (even with other creative forces in the comic book world), and I suppose I need to remember that not everyone who reads each review has read the previous ones in which my stances are made more clear. I’ll try to keep that in mind in the future.

  5. paeng says:

    The artwork is bad? Wow. The artwork in the series so far by Aja and Hollingsworth is material that you could give to an art class to deliver a lecture on Scott Mccloud’s comic book theory in UNDERSTANDING COMICS. It is stylized to fit the story. Hollingsworth’s color palette actually changes every issue to reflect the New York season. The art is decidedly not photo-realistic to complement the ridiculous fun of the story and to exude an indie vibe. If you want photo-realistic Aja and Hollingsworht art, read The Immortal Iron Fist.

  6. Cavemold says:

    I have to agree with you, the art is really bad. The writing was very good. 3.5/5 for me

    • Dakota says:

      I saw it on the shelf, took one look at the artwork and immediately put it back. Just terrible (in my opinion).

  7. Daniel Cole says:

    Liking art, much like narrative, is a subjective matter. However some artists use a specific style that is perfectly suited to the material in the script.
    Aja and Hollingsworth have given us a stripped back approach which marries to the concept of the book perfectly. As this is Hawkeye’s days off as an Avenger, all the over stylized and flashy images of the usual superhero story have been omitted.
    Personally the approach in this book is a breath of fresh air to me and manages to present a nuanced approach to character depiction due to its seeming simplicity.

  8. terry says:

    Wow, the art isn’t just to your liking, but it’s “bad” as well? The Hawkeye head as coverage was “ridiculous”? I’m a little late to this post obviously, but I have to say that Hawkeye is one of the most consistently well written and drawn books that I’ve ever read I’m my 42 years plus of reading comics books. I know that you’ve previously defended your decision to call the art “bad” and you’re welcome to do that, but anybody who can actually say that about the work these folks are doing on this book is showing a real lack of depth themselves and should probably be doing less reviewing and more reading.

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