Hawkeye #17 – Comic Review

There is sense of humor that, alongside the art, shapes Hawkeye #17 into something special. Unusual art choices merge with a winter-time story about one super heroic archer’s inner fears, thoughts, and desires.

After the Hawkeye story is over, editor Sana Amanat talks about the reasons behind such an abstract and ironic story. Hawkeye has tied itself to real-life disasters before. After taking a shot at Hurricane Sandy, This issue sets its sights on another wild weather disaster: Snowstorms.

That’s why Winter, snow, and ice all feature prominently. This comic takes a moment to reflect on how Hawkeye himself is affected by snowstorms based on the weather plaguing the United States.

The short answer is, it affects his dreams.

Amanat states at the end of the editorial: “I’d love to hear you guys interpretations of what this comic was about”

Here’s mine: The story is Clint Barton’s inner turmoil – everything his character has anxieties about – blitzed together with the content of a Christmas and/or winter-time cartoon.

What appears simple on the surface is far more complex. The comic book gives readers another glimpse into this super heroes thoughts, memory, pain, and worries.

What Hawkeye #17 offers:

  • Entertaining, ironic, and deeply enjoyable humor
  • Themes of isolation
  • A look into a one super-heroes dreams and fears
  • Ideas and insight into winter festivals and holidays other than Christmas

A Bright colour palette and straight forward pencils and ink build lifelike and expressive characters. The art brings the reader into Clint Barton’s dreams.

A fun, winter festival of ice skating and snowball fights are quickly placed in jeopardy. Mister Sun – the King of Summer – arrives to put an abrupt end to Winter and fun. The art for this scene, and the vast majority of the comic, displays a bright colour palette and uncomplicated lines.

Though stright forward, the lines pencil and ink lines that make up these characters are lifelike and expressive. Mostly, animals are depicted. Few humans appear. The twist that adds layers to the art and story is the animals are inspired by real people.

Clint Barton dreams. During these dreams, family, friends, and avengers merge together with cute, cartoon animals. It’s interesting to see that way Clint’s imagination and subconscious renders those close to him.

And how he sees his enemies. And how he sees himself.

Strong Humor comes from Steve the dog – Hawkeye’s heroic cartoon persona. Mister Sun points out Hawkeye’s key anxiety.

There are some great quotes from Hawkeye #17. Clint takes on the role of Steve the dog – a hero in this animated adventure – and interacts with other characters such as Lily the little dog, and Mister Sun.

For example:

“Oh! Hey Steve! Aren’t you going to join us at our festival to celebrate all multi-denomenational pantheistic all-inclusive seasonal festivals…?”

Lilly the dog, to Steve the dog.

And in addition:

“Hey Mister Sun, the jerk store faxed, and they don’t like you at all!”

-Steve the dog, to Mister Sun, the King of Summer.

At no point is the word “Christmas” used. Instead, the comic book makes a point of acknowledging half a dozen other religious festivals that take place close to the date of Decmeber 25thm which is why the long phrase “multi-denomenational pantheistic all-inclusive seasonal festival” appears.

The quotes above illustrate the great sense of humor. The second also leads into a key character moment: Hawkeye – as Steve the dog – faces off against Mister Sun. This is where his self-belief receives a challenge. The question he is asking himself in this dream: If you don’t have any powers or abilities, why do you hang out with the Avengers?

Hawkeye struggles with the fear that having friends and family represents a liability villains could use against him. Themes of isolation appear.

Mister Sun spouts harsh criticism at Clint: “You have no powers” “nobody really likes you”. The sun embodies all the critical voices in Clint’s life. it represents possibly harsh truths he dose not want to face, and his fears of the villains attacking as soon as the snow clears.

Summer brings the end of winter. But what happens after winter is bad news for Hawkeye.

The end of winter brings with it the coming of the Mafia – villains called the “Tracksuit Vampires”. The end of winter brings further battles that risk the lives of everyone Hawkeye wants to protect: not just Kate Bishop, Spider Woman, Mocking Bird, his brother Barney, and Black Widow.

In Hawkeye’s dream, Steve the dog repeatedly says he can save winter all by himself. He craves isolation. Through Steve, Clint Barton’s fear that villains will use his friends to attack him, and his desire to protect his family and community, becomes clear.

Hawkeye #17 is published by Marvel Comics ($3.99 USD). Matt Fraction (W.) David Aja & Chris Eliopoulos (A.) Joride Bellaire (C.) Cover Artwork by David Aja

Cover artwork from the blog of David Aja: http://blog.davidaja.com/

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