Review: Hawkeye #5 by Matt Fraction & Javier Pulido

Hawkeye #5
The Tape Part 2

Written by: Matt Fraction
Pencilled by: Javier Pulido
Colored by: Matt Hollingsworth
Lettering by: Chris Eliopoulos

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Marvel Comics on Comixology

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

Summary (contains spoilers): In the last issue, Hawkeye found out that a tape showing him committing a politically motivated assassination for the US government was going on the auction block. This would be a huge disgrace to the United States, Hawkeye, Captain America, and the Avengers, so Hawkeye decided to try and grab it or buy it himself. He was ambushed by ninjas, and it seemed like Madame Masque had bought the tape. In the end, we find out that it was Hawkeye’s “sidekick” Kate Bishop who really bought the tape, and she was very curious why Clint was trying to hard to keep it hidden.

This issue starts with Hawkeye escaping from the ninjas by leaping through a window while still tied to a chair. Meanwhile, Kate has watched the tape, which shows Clint killing someone named Du Ke Feng, who was supposedly killed by Navy Seals. Kate realizes that the Avengers and SHIELD have been lying to everyone. There is a knock on her door, so she puts her Madame Masque costume back on.

Madame Masque’s men enter and find the real Madame Masque tied up and unconscious. Kate tries to play it off, while behind her, Clint is plunging to his doom.

Clint is saved from his own stupidity by Maria Hill on some kind of jetsled. Though both of them are attacked by more ninjas. Maria flips the jetsled over. Clint tries to save one of the ninjas, but the ninja would rather death than dishonor so let’s go.

Meanwhile, Madama Masque has recovered, and has just about the strangest conversation I’ve ever read:

Before Madame Masque can follow up on that threat, Hawkeye and Hill arrive to rescue Kate. Hawkeye blows up a window and leaps in to save the day. Clint and Bishop fight their way out past AIM, HYDRA, ninjas, and assorted other goons and thugs. Then they realize Kate left the tape behind, so they have to fight their way back through the goon squad to get the tape. Once they escape again, Kate confronts him about the tape. She says “you said you never killed anybody.” Clint says he never said that, because he would never lie to Kate. Madame Masque arrives and opens fire. Hawkeye takes a bullet to the chest (which knocks him out even through his bullet proof vest).  Kate manages to get him out of there, and he wakes up to find himself in a SHIELD hospital room.

It is revealed that Hawkeye didn’t actually kill the guy, it really was Navy Seals, and the tape was a decoy to help hide the identities of those men, and to help track down a mole in SHIELD. Clint had been willing to go through all this just to help keep those men out of danger.

Review: One thing that immediately grabs your attention about Hawkeye is the awesome covers. They are typical white with just one major image on them. The last two issues has focused on the “tape” at the heart of this story, and the stark white background covered in blood and smashed tape really is just a perfect powerful image.

Another thing that made this issue stand out is how much fun it was to read. It feels like so many comic writers are so afraid to have their work perceived as kid’s stuff, that they skew a little too far towards being serious all the time. Even with all the action and tension in this story, Fraction and Pulido did a great job keeping things light and fun to read. Just a clever quip here or a great bit of comedic timing goes a long way towards making a story go from good to great. And this was a great comic! In a lot of ways, I was reminded of Die Hard, especially when Clint cuts his foot on the glass.

I also thought the ending was perfect. I had to admit, I had some concerns about some of the things I thought we had learned about Clint the last few issues. I suspected there was more to the story they we had been led to believe, but the tape definitely seemed to be a little out of character. The ending really tied these last two issues together well and helped show why Hawkeye really deserves his own book. He’s a complicated character with a lot of facets well worth exploring.

I do have to admit, I didn’t even realize David Aja didn’t do these last two issues of Hawkeye until I sat down to write this review. Javier Pulido did a perfect job keeping the unique clean art style Hawkeye has had under David Aja. In a lot of ways, Hawkeye’s art reminds me of Mike Allred, but Aja and Pulido have also put their own individual touches to the book to make it very different from anything else out there.

Hawkeye is a much needed DIFFERENT type of superhero comic. Very fun, very character-driven, and with a lot of surprises in each issue. Hawkeye is pretty much everything I look for in a comic. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Final Score: 9.0  Hawkeye is always a good series, but these last two issues in particular have just been above and beyond! Great story with lots of twists, some great comedy moments, and lots of action. Really not much more you can ask for from a comic!

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