I’m reading the new-ish Hawkeye right now, and it is great. It is a comic about a female hero, written by a woman, which is why I specifically searched it out. You see, the reason I started reading this incarnation of Hawkeye is that the other comics I’m reading are a little problematic. They are high quality, to be sure, but lacking in some important areas. That’s because what I’m mostly reading is back issues of 2000 AD and Black Panther: Man Without Fear, which can be a little macho and non-Bechdel Test compliant. In fact, in the case of the vintage 2000 ADs from the late 70s and early 80s there can be entire story arcs without a single female character, apart from a secretary or a background character or two.
Hawkeye is a different beast. For example, the first issue starts with an online harassment storyline. A female blogger is receiving threats and abuse and it rapidly develops into something even more sinister than that. The story goes all superhero and mind-control cults really quickly, but the way the initial plotline is handled is great. Both the client who is suffering the abuse, and Hawkeye herself, immediately understand that online threats are to be taken seriously and are a big deal.
The threats are understood as a common part of the work of a female blogger, and the two characters go about trying to solve the problem. This one plot is already making this comic an important, healthy, addition to my usual diet of macho action comics.
Hopefully I haven’t made the comic book sound too serious, because it is not preachy about the gender issues it touches on, it has fun with them. Like Hawkeye’s reaction to being called sunshine. It turns out this is the actual name on the lanyard she stole to access a university computer room, so the guy calling her Sunshine wasn’t belittling her, and she has just blown her cover.
She turns this to her advantage though, because it also turns out that, like a lot of the more kicking-ass-oriented heroes, she’s no good at IT. She quickly recruits the guy from the university computer room, and we are well on our way to building a Team Hawkeye.
Alongside the story, this is also at the top end of the art spectrum, too. There is a great visual thing the comic does, where we are directed to notice what Hawkeye notices. Each item she sees and registers as important is ringed in Hawkeye purple and labeled. Thanks to the art, we notice all these details along with Hawkeye, and this gives a hint of why this character is so special.
Other highpoints in the comic’s art are a Spider-Ham graffiti on Hawkeye’s office building wall, which made me smile, and a cool 60s vibe to the covers. The covers make her look like Emma Peel or The Girl from Uncle, and the stories inside are knowing, hipster, woke, entertainments. The two different styles work surprisingly well together. Those old shows always had a lot of humor to them, which Hawkeye is continuing, but with an updated feel.
The comic book doesn’t go into her backstory much, which I’m thankful about, but for those who are curious, Hawkeye is the daughter of a rich publishing magnate. She worked on her physical fitness and trained in self-defense. At her private school she studied archery, fencing, kickboxing, and various martial arts.
She is super cool, and a list of the tropes involved in her story is as long as your arm. Io9 spoke to Hawkeye writer Kelly Thompson to discuss the vision behind Hawkeye in Marvel’s comic universe. She describes the comic book as Veronica Mars with superheroes. She says Hawkeye will be taking on P.I. cases but she’s a superhero first and foremost.
After all this positive stuff, the bad news is the comic will be canceled very soon, at issue 16. Knowing this, it will be a little like reading a miniseries for me, rather than an ongoing series, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this story goes, as the limited run it was given comes to an end. Kelly Thompson, is also writing a comic book called Rogue and Gambit (a five-issue miniseries) and, according to CBR, she isn’t going anywhere when Hawkeye and Rogue and Gambit end. She has signed an exclusive agreement with Marvel Comics, which she says is a dream come true.
Word of Thompson’s next projects at Marvel should come in the next few months. In the mean time, go seek out Hawkeye, and… maybe one of my own sci-fi novels, like Galaxy Dog.
Galaxy Dog (Dark Galaxy) Start Reading the Dark Galaxy Trilogy
The first book in the Dark Galaxy Trilogy, always the best place to start, is Galaxy Dog. It’s a little more old-school and fun than a lot of the sci-fi that is around at the moment. It has spaceships, robots, battles, and brave warriors rebelling against an evil empire. Click the book cover and go to the storefront you prefer to buy it now, or follow this link.
This is a universal book link (UBL) and you will be greeted with a page displaying all the places the book is available online. Just select the storefront you prefer and, if you want, also make this your default bookseller. From then on, every time you click a UBL you will be taken directly to the book you are interested in, on the storefront you prefer. The UBL even allows you to go to the Amazon store that matches your region.