The Pull List: All-New Hawkeye Has Some Big Shoes to Fill

Welcome to The Pull List, a weekly column where we check out a first issue of a new series and tell you whether or not to follow the comic based only on that. This week sees the launch of a new Hawkeye series from Marvel, All-New Hawkeye, as it’s called, featuring a new creative team. Let’s give it a read, shall we?

For those of you still following Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run on Hawkeye, you may be somewhat confused, since that series ends with issue 22, and yet issue 21 is the latest issue published. Well, Fraction and Aja’s run has been fraught with delays, something like six months passed between issues 20 and 21 alone, and I guess it seemed to Marvel that if they had to wait until Fraction wrapped up the current story before launching a new series, they would be waiting around for a while.

So, yes, it’s a little confusing, but it’s not entirely un-precedented. Spider-Man almost always has several ongoing series at any given time, and I don’t think I could count the ongoing and limited run Deadpool series at any given time on both hands. Still, I think what makes this so apparent is just how definitive and groundbreaking Fraction and Aja’s work on Hawkeye has been.

And let me start by saying, first and foremost, that I was (am?) a huge fan of the work that Fraction and Aja have done with the character. Their version of Hawkeye is part of what got me into comics as deeply as I am, and it might be one of my favorite “superhero” comics of all time. Needless to say, this new creative team has big shoes to fill.

Which is not something that the creative team are unaware of. What would normally be the letters page is, in this issue, filled with letters to the readers from the creative teams, including the editor, writers, and artists. All but one of the four notes mentions Fraction and Aja.

But, really, editor Sana Amanat put it best in her letter to the readers when she said, “…How do you dare to follow a first act like Fraction and Aja? You tell your own story.” That’s exactly what Lemire, Perez, and Herring are doing, while still following in the footsteps that Fraction and Aja have left behind.

The tone and art are clearly reminiscent of the previous series, but the story is new – clearly touching on topics and ideas that Fraction brought up, but exploring them in more depth and new ways. There’s a lot in here dealing with Clint’s background, running from foster family to foster family with his brother Barney, all rendered in gorgeous watercolors.

The art, too, is beautiful. The aforementioned watercolor sections are a sight to behold, while the rest of the sections are clearly Aja-inspired, with clear, distinct lines, and solid, basic colors that give the whole thing a very clear, stark look. The only complaint I might have is that these two sections don’t really mix that well, even though they do try to mix them a little bit.

Honestly, though, the biggest hurdle that All-New Hawkeye is going to face is finding a way to be judged on its own rather than just compared to the previous iteration of Hakweye (and yes, I’m saying this well aware that I just spent about 500 words doing exactly that). But, honestly, it’s off to a pretty good start, and I’m actually quite interested to see where this creative team goes with the character.

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