Hawkeye Annual #1
Writer Matt Fraction
Arists: Javiar Pulido
Published by: Marvel Comics
To sum up this issue in one word: Fun. I spend a lot of time thinking what is wrong with comics, thankfully Hawkeye almost always provides a welcomed respite from these darker ruminations. This Annual is no exception, the writing is crisp and Whedonesque. Fraction writes Kate Bishop like she is a teenage girl and gets the lingo down. Pulido’s art is reminiscent of the series regular artist David Aja, but is not derivative. It is rather distinct, and I hope he gets more work going forward as the layouts are very well done. Clint Barton, the original Hawkeye, and our erstwhile protagonist, only makes a brief appearance in the opening pages before Kate announces she needs a break. In summation, Kate Bishop and Lucky (her trustworthy dog) go on a road trip to the West Coast, wacky hijinks ensue. Madame Masque has been planning her revenge against Kate Bishop for almost six months and acts on it. The purple convertible, the veritable Arrow Car makes another appearance as well. This issue works well as a standalone but is enhanced with a knowledge of the regular series, it makes direct reference to the events in Hawkeye #5.
In a narrative sense, I feel like this forces Kate and the reader to examine who Kate Bishop really is. Some of the best parts of this issue are quieter moments, Kate interacts with her father and her stepmother, being a prime example, that really makes this so enjoyable. The interactions feel organic, the writing is crisp and the art is very distinctive. Is there an Avengers App for that? The funniest gag in the book is that Madame Masque uses her real name when she introduces herself and Kate doesn’t pick up on that, she only recognizes the villain when she uses a similar phrase involving cigarettes. Another almost too cute visual gag is pouring some wine on a plant and watching it shrivel as Kate channels her inner spy. Well done Ms. Bishop.
The dialogue boxes with Kate Bishop’s face in them? Genius. I miss these boxes, and feel like they aren’t used (or thought bubbles) as much as they once were. It is something really unique about the medium and gives them a very retro feel. I doubt this is the status quo moving forward, but if this little odyssey lasts a few months, it will not be the worst thing for Clint and Kate. If you want to see why Hawkeye is such a critical darling, this is the perfect point to jump on the bandwagon.
4.5 out of 5 Nerdskulls
Writer Simon Oliver
Art: Robbi Rodriguez
Published by: Vertigo
“(T)he impossible is always possible…” is the tagline for the series and is a good mission statement as well. Collider isn’t for everyone and that is why I love it. This book will not compromise its integrity to sell more books, and in and of itself that is admirable. Based on a single issue it is impossible to determine the future trajectory, especially when dealing in a universe where the rules of physics do not apply, but I bet this title will be defying gravity for quite sometime. The premise is simple, the government has a new branch, the The Federal Bureau of Physics that deals when certain anomalies in space, time, and other physics issues that interfere with everyday life. It is seemingly common as 911 gives an option for fire, ambulance, policy, physics. Time travel, parallel universes, gravity, these are all topics that will be explored. The pitch of the series was probably the X-Files meets Fringe. There are elements of corporate espionage, sabotage, and conspiracy as well making this for a layered procedural that we rarely see in entertainment these days. There are government forces that want to privatize dealing with these anomalies because even if up is down, money still is the overriding motivation, something I can take small comfort in.
In a world where the laws of physics selectively don’t apply, it seems rather mundane and routine when high school students are flying. Nonetheless, Special Agent Adam Hardy is on the scene to cure all ills and ruin the fun. The school is temporarily closed until such a time where the situation is properly contained and repaired. Hardy is a flawed character, a womanizer, who doesn’t seem to take anything too seriously, and in spite of this is a senior and well respected member of the FBA team. There are other members, but as an initial matter, no one else particularly stands out. This seems as though it will feature an ensemble cast that will have plenty of room to grow.
I was worried about Vertigo after Karen Berger left, but it appears as though my fears have been unfounded. If you are a fan of comics as a medium buy this, it is only $2.99 and we could be looking at the beginning of a long strange trip.
4 out of 5 Nerdskulls