After reading this trade, I'm certain I could only read Hawkeye and not need to read any other comic book ever, at all, period. Just Hawkeye from now on, that's it. It's that good. As good as I had heard. Better even. Considering I haven't heard a bad thing about it, I was kind of expecting it to let me down a little. It did not.
I'm not going to stop reading other comics (but I could, really), because I have a problem, but seriously Hawkeye is kind of everything Iook for in a comic book. Writer Matt Fraction has tapped into all the superhero tropes I love: the flawed hero, a sense of history as well as legacy, and capturing both the hero's perspective as well as the everyman's, giving the reader a very well-rounded look at a world with super heroes in it. We see the fantastic as well as the mundane and both of it is great. Fraction uses humour to great effect, situation and character-specific. I was reading early Palmiotti/Gray Heroes For Hire yesterday and there's a book that tries too hard to be funny but Fraction's comedy is wry, original, and seemingly effortless (his use of the old translated word balloon is inspired).
I was also pondering recently whether all the many female heroes I adore (Sne-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Batwoman etc.) are somewhat marginalized by being, at least in conception (and in name) derivatives of male counterparts and somewhat oppressed by having no perceived identityof their own (I think Red She-Hulk is the absolute worst example of this, doubly qualified). But here, in Hawkeye, Clint Barton has adopted Kate Bishop (who took his identity while he was deceased) as a nearly equal junior partner, allowing her to remain Hawkeye even as he has reclaimed the moniker (because lies in movies y' know). I also enjoy tremendously how much Clint and Kate enjoy calling one another Hawkeye.
Clint has a penchant for falling out/ getting thrown out/jumping out of windows as well as getting knocked on the head. I'd be thrilled if Fraction started dealing with Clint's concussion-like symptoms as an ongoing thread.
I liked David Aja with Fraction on Iron Fist but I love him here. Dynamic, creative and deceptively simple, his use of silhouettes is masterful and his comedic timing is on par with the greats like Kevin Maguire, Keith Giffen and Kyle Baker. Soo damn delightful. Javier Pulido does a good job as fill-in but just doesn't have the same pizzaz as Aja. But these two are so good they make Alan Davis, a legend by no small means, look kind of average and mundane in comparison (in the reprinted Young Avengers Presents #6).
I may have to add this to my monthly pickups since I don't know if I can wait for the next trade. And you know, two days ago I couldn't have cared less about Hawkeye. Sheesh.