Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artists: Kim Jacinto, Tamra Bonvillain
Variant Cover Artists: Otto Schmidt; Elizabeth Torque; Dave Cockrum and Jason Keith
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Clint Barton is back, and he can’t help but wonder why stupid people get themselves into stupid situations in Hawkeye: Freefall #1. After all, he almost was responsible for putting The Hood away for good (until the American justice system does its thing). He’s also suspected of putting back on the Ronin costume and stealing government secrets from murdered SHIELD agents. How could Clint, with his somewhat fragile ego, possibly be stupid enough to get into a stupid situation?
Readers of recent Hawkeye comics might have two pre-conceived ideas going into this book: 1) The Fraction and Aja run is awesome and/or 2) Kate Bishop is awesome. How can we follow up to either one of those?
The answer, of course, is to get Matt Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt to take up the reins.
As you can gather from my brief synopsis at the top, it seems like there’s a lot going on with this book — and there definitely is. However, Rosenberg handles it flawlessly. We see Clint trying to punch above his class by taking out The Hood, and when the attempt to take him down doesn’t go as planned, it starts to eat away at him. Even to the point where it ruins his sexy times. Meanwhile, Bucky and Falcon pin murders of SHIELD agents and stolen information on him, meaning Clint has to clear his name while also figuring out who the heck is wearing his Ronin costume. It all plays out less like the overbloated plotlines vis-a-vis Spider-Man 3 and more like that perfect storm of everything hitting the fan all at once while you’re just trying to play it cool and prove you belong. And, of course, Rosenberg handles the sharp humor found throughout the dialogue quite well.
I can go more into it, but (shameless plug time) I think you’d be better off hearing some of the background details of the comic from Rosenberg himself by clicking here to listen to The Comics Agenda podcast interview.
Schmidt wonderfully breathes life into Rosenberg’s script. You already get the sense that this story is going to be humorous with a bittersweet, psychological edge that shows itself slowly. Somehow, Schmidt is able to translate that concept into character designs. Thuggish goons look cartoonish-yet-gritty; Clint has a jockish-self-inflated swagger to him; and I was especially fond of The Hood’s Willem-Dafoe-meets-Keanu-Reeves look. That is, until he Dormammus out. Sprinkled throughout are some great jokes and Easter eggs (my favorite being the classic floating heads with the original Hawkeye mask).
Hawkeye: Freefall #1 is a worthy return to Clint Barton as Hawkeye. It’s got a quiverfull of humor to spare with a dash of identity crisis undertones, a beautiful mess of a situation, and art that will delight and surprise fans. It’s worth multiple reads from one issue alone, which, for fans of recent Hawkeye comics, means it hits the bullseye.