HAWKEYE is so good it should be illegal. Writer Matt Fraction is on fire with Clint Barton's life. Brutally honest, I was never a big Hawkeye fan, but this series is quickly turning him into a favorite of mine. Fraction manages to deliver a take on the archer's life that has the feel of a classic, feel good comic laced with a relentless amount of comedy.
From his pick up on the rooftops to the aftermath of his cab fight, this is a comic that's sure to fill you with bliss. Fortunately, #4 is boasting more than laughs -- it's also packing an intriguing story with a handful of twists and turns that'll keep your focus glued to the comic. I was thrilled to see Kingpin return (last appeared in #2) and it's looking like he's holding a major grudge against the Avenger (and rightfully so). 'The Tape' will only be 2 parts, but it's a nice change of pace to have our fist multiple issue story in the title and it's off to a fantastic start.
As you'll immediately notice, David Aja is gone and Javier Pulido is providing pencils. I know Aja's work was hit or miss for many, and I happened to love it. Thankfully, the transition is fairly smooth. Matt Hollingsworth is still on colors and for the most part, Pulido has a style very similar to Aja's.
Can we please have a moment of silence for artist David Aja? His work on the title will definitely be missed. I know he's back on #7, but then Javier Pulido is listed as the artist for the eighth issue. I don't know if they're rotating or if one will take over. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. But for now, Pulido is the man for 'The Tape' and the story with #8. Pulido is able to deliver a similar style and Matt Hollingsworth's colors keep a sense of familiarity, but it doesn't quite stand up to Aja's work. The faces just feel a little off at times for me but who knows, perhaps it'll grow on me just like Aja's did. Additionally, I didn't like how full body shading was used sometimes. I can understand it being applied to Clint while he's entering a dark room from the outside or a man standing behind a door, but having the auctioneer completely shaded while shaking hands was a very puzzling choice. Regardless, Pulido has the misfortune of following Aja and that's certainly not an easy task.
If S.H.I.E.L.D. knows when and where this tape will be, why not send in a team to snatch it? I guess sending Thor would just be too easy and there's no fun in that, right? Longtime Clint fans will also be happy to see he (finally) wins some hand-to-hand encounters without suffering a sucker punch, but don't get your hopes up, he doesn't have any accuracy feats in this issue.
Despite David Aja's art being sorely missed, HAWKEYE continues to easily be one of Marvel's best titles. 'The Tape' has a marvelous start and I have total faith that part 2 will be every bit as good, if not better. It's clear 'this 2 parter will focus on Kingpin's plot for revenge, but I wonder if we'll see something later on focusing on the other villains robbed in issue #2 as well (Tombstone, The Owl, etc). Whatever direction Fraction decides to go with Barton's future, it seems clear at the moment that the man can do no wrong with the character.