Comic Review: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction & David Aja

Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon
Matt Fraction & David Aja
Marvel Comics
Released March 19, 2013
136 pages
Comics / Superheroes without Superpowers

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The breakout star of this summer's blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton - aka the self-made hero Hawkeye - fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he's out to prove himself as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence - before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won't believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe...and the darkest parts of Hawkeye's mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble...and stealing from the rich never looked so good.

Because boomerang!

I would leave that as my review, but then it would only make sense to someone who has read this first volume in the latest Hawkeye series. If you’ve been hanging around Working for the Mandroid, you probably realize I’m a DC kind of girl. Most of my superhero comic reading has been various lines in the Batfamily, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Teen Titans and other assorted heroes from DC Comics. My exposure to Marvel has really been limited to the movies that have come out over the last few years, but everywhere I looked, people were saying that Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series was pretty awesome. So I took a chance.

And I giggled like a fool while reading it on an airplane. This book is so much fun. It doesn’t have all the doom and gloom that seeps out of the pores of DC or the vapidness of the current Green Arrow series (comic, not television show). Clint Barton is great, but Kate Bishop, who I had no exposure to before, stole the book for me. That she is just as much Hawkeye as Clint makes me a very happy not-usually-represented-well-in-comics girl. The final issue in this collection is a bit of an origin story of how Kate took over the name Hawkeye from Young Avengers. Now I have to pick up Young Avengers.

Each issue opens up with a scene of Clint in trouble with the captions “Okay --- this looks bad…” before turning back time to tell exactly how Clint found himself getting shot at or falling from a building. It’s so much fun to read about a character without superpowers, who is fearless and reckless in the name of doing what’s right. There is danger and stakes are high with assorted big bads and twist upon twist, but it’s all so much fun and full of exciting adventure.

The art by David Aja is extremely distinctive and the roughness is a fitting match to the difficult situations that Clint often finds himself in. Many of the sequences are saturated in purple. Clint’s apartment is purple, his clothes are purple, his car is purple, and Kate’s get-up is purple. Everything is purple and it’s very striking, unlike anything I’ve ever seen in other comics.

My Life as a Weapon was a great introduction into the current Marvel universe. Even though it has the tie-in to Young Avengers, I didn’t feel like there was a black hole of history that I was missing to truly understand the weight of the story. I’d easily recommend this to people looking to get into comics, but might be wary of superhero continuity. I know little about Hawkeye, but now I want to read everything he’s ever been in. Or at least everything Matt Fraction has written.

Also… boomerang!