It’s been such a long wait, but finally Hawkeye #13 is here. Honestly, I adore this title so much that even a month is too long between issues. Two and a half? Be right back, I’m in the corner shaking from withdrawal and telling myself everything is going to be okay.
Hawkeye #13 revolves around the aftermath of Grills’ death, which is a bit of a backtrack after Annual #1. I’m a big fan of nonlinear storytelling, but for those who aren’t, it could take a few pages before clicking to what’s going on. Don’t expect any Pizza Dog innovation here, but Aja is in fine form with his consistently beautiful art and page design, and Fraction’s strength in dialogue and character nuance shine.
Now let’s be honest here for a minute. Clint has a lot of man-pain in this series. Like… a lot of man-pain. What I really like about Fraction’s take on Clint’s personal demons though, is that his man-pain isn’t facilitated by fridging the women in his life, and he’s never removed of his own personal agency despite outward appearances. He chooses to deal with things in a shitty way. Clint is like us – a person who makes reactionary decisions that sometimes alienate those around him – ultimately endearing him to us as readers.
This book revolves around Clint reacting an awful lot. He reacts to Grills’ death. He reacts to working with Jessica after their break up. He reacts to Kate leaving with Lucky. He doesn’t react to everything in crappy ways, but even when he does, it’s incredibly stirring, heartbreaking, and real. When he makes good choices, they become even more poignant – a hug for Grills’ father, introducing Barney to the bropartment barbecuers – touching moments in the life of someone who is so well written, I sometimes believe he could be a real person.
Aja’s art is, as usual, pretty much faultless. As an artist myself, I really do struggle to understand how someone can put so much expression into a style so (deceptively) simple. Matt Hollingsworth’s colours are consistent in their muted beauty, conveying changes in perspective and narrative without ever feeling jarring or out of place, and he’s also very skilled in creating moods with a very limited palette.
Over all, Hawkeye #13 is an excellent issue that ties together a few storylines, knitting a story that’s otherwise jumped about together very effectively, while packing a real emotional punch. Thank goodness the next part is only a couple of weeks away, because I’m only being more and more sucked in as this title progresses.