Archive for Hawkeye

Stars Underground


Starfire #9

Kori and Stella are going to take a vacation with Atlee to her home, Strata, deep inside the earth. The travel down through the swamp in a see-through bubble for miles and miles — and when they finally arrive, Strata is pretty great — except for Kori suddenly getting sick and a monster despot invading the city…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s an issue mostly devoted to people talking, so that’s pretty great. There were a lot of small, cool moments in here. Starfire’s caterpillar pal Silkie from the “Teen Titans” TV show finally appears in the comics, though his name is recorded here as Syl’Khee. Strata’s agent on Earth is disguised as a redneck Everglades river guide. Atlee’s family in Strata are depicted almost exactly the way they were by Amanda Conner in the old “Power Girl” series (which makes sense since she’s one of the writers). The only thing I didn’t like about it is that I just learned there are only three issues left before this series ends.


Spider-Gwen #5

While Captain America tries to track down the increasingly unstable Harry Osborn before he kills Spider-Woman, Captain Stacy has decided to take a meeting with Matt Murdock, sleasy blind lawyer and secret Kingpin of Crime. Murdock knows Gwen is Spider-Woman, and his offer to keep Gwen safe if she’ll serve as his foot soldier is sweetened when he orders his army of ninjas to attack Frank Castle. Can Castle survive the attack? Will Stacy give in to Murdock’s persuasion?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Actually, Gwen barely appears in this issue, but Cap’s search, Captain Stacy’s confrontation with Murdock, and Castle’s battle with the ninjas are outstanding high-drama tent-poles to hang this comic on…


All-New Hawkeye #4

In the present, Clint Barton is trying to rescue the Project Communion kids. He snows Maria Hill into telling him where they are — she reveals that they’ve just been kidnapped by HYDRA, and he gives chase with a few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in tow. He gets to show off some nifty superhero stunt work, but things don’t really go to plan. Meanwhile, in the past, we get a look at Kate Bishop’s childhood. Unhappy with her rich-kid lifestyle, she’s also desperate for attention and approval from her father. But soon enough, she learns something that will change her opinion of her dad forever.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Cool to see Clint getting to do superhero stuff — you think Captain America is the only person who can dive out of a plane without a parachute? As always, Ramon Perez’s amazing art makes a glorious contrast between the present and the pastel past.

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Con Artists for the Dead


Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird #2

Dancy Flammarion is dead, and Maisie — Dancy’s ex-girlfriend (and werewolf) (and ghost) — is trying to make some money with her only friend, Bird, a talking bird. Maisie is scamming people nowadays, posing as a “medium and Christian spiritualist” so people mourning their loved ones will pay her to talk to the dead. Of course, Maisie can’t talk to the dead, but Bird can sneak into homes and knock on tables so it looks like the dead are communicating with her. Meanwhile, Carson and Hunter, a couple of blood-drenched lesbian occultists, are making their plans while actual demons watch them for signs of weakness.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The dialogue between Maisie and Bird — and between Carson and Hunter — and really, between everyone — is just wonderful and fun, and the visuals are outstandingly creepy.


All-New Hawkeye #3

In the future, Old Man Hawkeye and Older Lady Hawkeye have raided SHIELD to get the grownup kids from Operation Communion back, with assistance from Captain America Chavez. Unfortunately, they don’t arrive in time for everyone. And in the present, Kate makes bad decisions, Clint visits his brother Barney, and they decide to fix their errors while time is still on their side.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice to see the band getting back together. Also cool to see America Chavez being as badass and super-cool as always in the future.


All-New Wolverine #4

Trying to keep her clones safe from Alchemax, Wolverine takes them to a place she knows can’t be spied on — the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange. Unfortunately, the place freaks Bellona out, and she accidentally releases a magical monster from captivity. When one of the clones falls severely ill in the aftermath, Strange teleports all of them to the local hospital to take an MRI — and what he finds is something he can’t handle with magic.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Always fun seeing highly physical characters like Laura interact with more cerebral ones like Strange. Laura’s clones are still good fun, and the humor and action are very nice.

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The Blackness of the Soul


Alabaster: The Good, the Bad, and the Bird #1

Dancy Flammarion, the Southern possibly-crazy monster-hunting albino girl, is back. No, wait, actually, she’s not back. She’s dead, and apparently in Hell, which is an infinite blank space inhabited only by Dancy and, occasionally, her furious, vengeful angel. Dancy doesn’t want to be in Hell, but she’s also not too keen on the angel telling her that her life was worthless or a betrayal or something that should be renounced. And while Dancy is dead, shady underworld characters in the South, including a wealthy fixer and a couple of psychos wearing cute animal masks, celebrate her end. Good times are here again for the forces of evil…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I was so excited to see this. I got so much joy out of Caitlin R. Kiernan’s amazing Dancy Flammarion stories, and it’s great that, even with a new artist, the series is still maintaining the extremely high quality we’ve come to expect from it. Y’all get in on this one early, okay?


Harrow County #8

Emmy now knows for certain that her “sister” Kammi is thoroughly evil. She’s rousted up all the most evil of the haints in Harrow County and set them after Emmy to kill her, while she plans on killing Emmy’s father, just to hurt her a little bit more. Can Emmy and the few friendly haints on her side manage to get the better of Kammi and her ghostly army? And where does the girls’ mother come in?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Less low-key creepiness this time and more out-and-out supernatural war — but there’s still a lot of good to say for this story. A confrontation between the two sisters and their contrasting views of the world probably couldn’t end any other way…


All-New Hawkeye #2

In the future, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop have been betrayed by SHIELD and imprisoned by the Mandarin. And he’s also captured one of the super-psychic kids who’d helped cause the massacre of Mandarin’s people — and he wants the Hawkeyes to get the psychic to work for him so he can use him for his own weapon of mass destruction. But Kate has an ace in the hole — her ex-boyfriend and Kree superhero Noh-Varr, who’s much better equipped to deal with hordes of robots and the Mandarin’s powers. So what’s the Hawkeyes next move?

Verdict: Ehh, close enough to a thumbs up. I like the look of the Mandarin, but a lot of the story was just kinda nowhere. The surprise appearance of Marvel Boy was my favorite bit.


The Ultimates #2

The Ultimates have a plan to neutralize Galactus. It involves obtaining the giant mechanical “cradle” that originally transitioned Galen, the last surviving being of the previous universe, into the Devourer of Worlds of this universe. While the Black Panther keeps Galactus distracted with monologuing (the only attack that all supervillains respect), Monica Rambeau and America Chavez obtain the birthing chamber and teleport it to Galactus, then the rest of the team blast him inside the cradle — and what emerges, transformed, may look like Galactus — but it definitely doesn’t act like him anymore.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s all fairly standard proactive superhero fare — but the final splash page certainly does sell the issue. It can’t last, of course, but it’ll be fun seeing how it all goes wrong.


Spider-Gwen #3

Gwen travels to the regular Marvel Universe because she’s stuck in adamantium handcuffs she can’t get off. Once the extremely pregnant Spider-Woman of our universe gets her free, it’s time for Gwen to head home, where Officer Ben Grimm has just been inducted to the NYPD’s anti-Spider-Woman task force. They suspect Captain George Stacy of being one of Spider-Woman’s assistants, because she’s rescued him twice — and others are suspecting there may be a connection, too, as Matt Murdock, blind attorney and rotten lieutenant to Wilson Fisk, pays Captain Stacy a visit.

Meanwhile, Gwen goes to see friends from school and runs into the long-lost Harry Osborn, one of her best friends, alongside the late Peter Parker. Unfortunately, Harry blames Spider-Woman for Peter’s death, just like everyone else — and he has plans for what he means to do about it.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story, fun art, all kinds of great complications getting thrown into the blender. I still think Spider-Woman being pregnant is a bit out of left field, but her scenes with Gwen are really fantastic.


Starfire #7

Dick Grayson, Agent of SHIELD — um, Spyral or Spectre or whatever he’s an agent of — is in Florida tracking some bad guys. He disguises himself to get aboard a yacht — and as it turns out, Starfire is on the same boat, so he enlists her to help out. Will they be able to stop the villains, retrieve the secret package, and discover what kind of being is stalking Kory?

Verdict: Thumbs down. Sorry — I thought it was more than a bit dull.

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Lightning Round

Well, thanks to getting a ton of comics last week and being just plain bored with blogging lately, I’ve gotten way, way behind on my reviews. So let’s see how fast I can do a bunch of reviews…


Starfire #6

An alien bounty hunter pursues Starfire and isn’t shy about killing humans. Can Kory stop him, or is her head going on a pike?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good humor and action, very pretty art, and that cover is a solid winner.


Spider-Gwen #2

While tracking down the Lizards, Spider-Woman meets up with a much different Captain America than we know. Can Gwen handle the Lizards and Cap — while handcuffed?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story. Loved the new version of Cap — complete with a full backstory! Now I want to read more about her adventures, too…


All-New Hawkeye #1

Another new number-one issue! MARRRRVEL! (shakes fist at sky) Most of our story is set in the future. Clint Barton is a washed-up old coot, and Kate Bishop is rich and bitter and pretty damn good at her job. They’re trying to make up for the mistakes of the past — and that means they’ll run afoul of the Mandarin.

Verdict: Ehh, good enough for a thumbs up. Artwork and personality conflict are what sell this story the best.


All-New Wolverine #1

Laura Kinney, better known as X-23 and Logan’s gender-switched clone, has taken over the mantle of Wolverine. She’s trying to stop a sniper atop the Eiffel Tower — but she doesn’t have an adamantium skeleton to bounce bullets…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I wasn’t expecting to like this one so much. The art is cool, the action is excellent, and the dialogue and characterization are fun. I reckon I’ll be picking up a few more issues of this one.


All-New All-Different Avengers #1

Man, they’re gonna run out of Avengers titles before long. The members of this team include Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Vision, Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Spider-Man. Ahem, that’s the Sam Wilson Captain America, the Jane Foster Thor, and the Miles Morales Spider-Man. Not all the characters have even met yet, but the stories around them are plenty fun.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to seeing Mark Waid writing these characters. This is probably one of the new Marvel titles I’ve been looking forward to the most.


Illuminati #1

Titania has been released from jail and plans to give up the criminal life. She’s doing her best, but it’s hard for ex-supervillains to get jobs anywhere. She-Hulk is willing to help her, but they’ve been rivals too long, and Skeeter rejects her aid. She manages to get a crap job as security at a pawn shop, but a robbery attempt ends with Luke Cage and Iron Fist assuming she’s the villain. And then she gets “rescued” by the Hood, who’s putting together a new gang of under-the-radar super-crooks.

Verdict: Ehh, it’s not bad, but I’m not sure I’ll be picking it up. We barely meet any of the characters aside from Titania and the Hood, and though Titania is a fun character, I don’t think there’s enough here to make me feel like I need to keep reading.


The Vision #1

In an attempt to be more human, the Vision has created his own family — his wife, Virginia, and their twins Viv and Vin. The entire family is deeply weird, terribly ominous, and they’re all utterly, utterly unhuman.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wow, this one was amazing — an astonishingly creepy comic about robots pretending to be normal human suburbanites while actually being skin-crawlingly weird. It is so, so good.


The Ultimates #1

Yet another branch of quasi-Avengers, this team consists of the Blue Marvel, the Black Panther, Captain Marvel, America Chavez, and Monica Rambeau. They’ve got an extremely ambitious and wide-ranging plan to neutralize Galactus — and it’s not what anyone expects.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Another comic where I love all the characters — and at this point, I’m willing to read almost anything Al Ewing writes. And lookit, a comic book without any white male characters — and with that many serious powerhouses on the team, they may be Marvel’s toughest badasses…

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Rock n’ Roll Mermaids


Lumberjanes #18

Well, the girls are just hangin’ out at the lake when they encounter a bunch of counter-culture mermaids — or merwomyn, as they perfer to be called. And things are not all great in merwomyn land — Harlow and Taylor are old friends whose friendship (and awesome rock band) broke up after too many other people got into the band and everything got too commercial. Can the Lumberjanes get the band back together, all while avoiding sea serpents and sneering rock hipsters?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s not the greatest bit in the world — ’cause what the heck, a huge society of mermaids in a normal-sized lake? But it’s a pretty fun story with nice characterization and keen art by guest illustrator Carolyn Nowak.


All-New Hawkeye #5

Another tale set in the past and the present, as young Clint Barton discovers that the Swordsman is a thief and predator — but he may still be on Clint’s side. Meanwhile, in the present, Clint and Kate Bishop are realizing that the Communion kids are terrifically dangerous and sometimes murderous. Kate wants to continue protecting them, but Clint has given up and is willing to let them be taken away by others, even Hydra. And we get the briefest of glimpses into the future. How bad do things get for Old Man Barton?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This comic was the one I was looking forward to the least, and I definitely ended up enjoying it the most. Fantastic story and art, wonderful characterizations and conflicts, and a nice cliffhanger to set up our next storyarc.

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Social Election


Prez #2

The presidential election has ended in a tie, and the House of Representatives are playing games to get the candidates to offer them bigger and better bribes. Beth Ross is mostly a background player — she’s only in the running as a joke, with just Ohio in her electoral total. Her father dies of cat flu, and most of her time is devoted to taking care of her life, without worrying about the increasingly ridiculous election bribery.

More Congressmen start giving their votes to Beth in each ballot in order to spur the two main candidates to offer them better goodies — but at last, one state too many gives their gag vote to Beth, and all of a sudden, she’s the President of the United States. Can a figure from the past show her the ropes and keep her from being assassinated?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A political humor comic with a giant dose of heart and characterization at its core. The best moments really don’t have anything to do with politics — there’s a couple pages early on in the hospital, where a ridiculous robot bear calling himself Carl the End-of-Life Bear barges into the room with Beth and her father, offers everyone some marijuana, and then appears to be about to smother Beth’s dad with a pillow. (He’s actually propping up her dad’s head to make him more comfortable.)

Immediately after this page of surreal goofball humor, there’s a couple pages of Beth’s dad waxing poetic on the miracles of the human brain and declaring banana pudding to be evidence of the worth of human evolution. And then he dies. It’s beautiful and tragic, and it’s amazing storytelling. And I think we can plan on this comic being something worth reading.


All-New Hawkeye #4

Most of our story here is set in the past at the circus where the Barton brothers spent their childhoods. While the Swordsman teaches Clint archery, he teaches Barney pickpocketing. Clint doesn’t approve, but that doesn’t stop Barney, who knows he has to turn in enough money to let both boys stay at the circus. But Ms. Carson, the bearded lady who runs the criminal sideshow, wants Clint to start stealing, too. Meanwhile, in the brief glimpses we get of the modern day, the forces of Hydra invade the apartment to try to take the cyber-brain mutant kids into custody, and Clint and Kate fight back.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wasn’t prepared to like this much, because Ramon Perez’s pastel-colored past gets a little hard to look at after you read it for page after page after page. But the storytelling is solid, the characterization and plotting are great, and the artwork is gorgeous.

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Hawkeye Sunset


Hawkeye #22

Finally, after months and months and months, we finally get the final issue of this great, innovative series. Yes, it’s the last issue, even though “All-New Hawkeye” has been running for the past few months. So it’s the final battle between Clint Barton, Kate Bishop, and all the tenants in his building vs. the Bros and the Clown. Do the heroes stand a chance? Who will survive, and what will be left of them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Even for an issue that’s mostly people shooting each other with arrows and guns and blowing each other up and generally knocking the stuffings out of each other, it still does some great artistic and interesting things. I am disappointed that this title ended up so low on everyone’s priorities that it got repeatedly bobbled and delayed for so long, but it’s still an amazing achievement. Haven’t read it yet? Look for the trades, and collect them all.


Revival #31

The religious survivalists called the Hunters of the Beast turn out to be a bit of a paper tiger — the police and military don’t have a lot of trouble capturing them, and Em Cypress takes out quite a few all by herself, even with a few gunshot wounds and a mysterious undead pregnancy. And when she finally catches up with the rotten Blaine Abel, there may be nothing that can stop her from getting revenge on him. Plus the military is trying to figure out the connection between the Revivers and the ghosts haunting the woods.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, great art, great story, and plenty of weird creepiness going on, sometimes unnoticed by the main characters — is there anything in the county that’s able to die anymore? — sometimes right out there where everyone can see.

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Death and the Devil


Red Sonja #16

Sonja has died — or almost so — and meets Death herself, who looks a lot like Sonja, actually. Death wants her on her honor guard, but Sonja has never been one to serve anyone, and she’d much rather try her luck at killing Death herself. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the townspeople are tending to Sonja, trying to figure out a way to cure her, when she gets unexpected visitors — the great artisans she’d collected in a previous storyarc: Gribaldi the chef, Aneva the courtesan, Rat the beast-tamer, Osric the swordsman, Plaitius the soothsayer, and Rakaua the dancer. And then more visitors: from the very first storyarc in Gail Simone’s run on this title, Ayla, Nias, and Dark Annisia, resurrected with the aid of an alchemist’s potion. Can Sonja defeat Death? Can Sonja be brought back from the brink of death?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This may be Simone’s final issue on this series — it’s certainly written like a final issue. If it’s not the last one, Simone is leaving herself a big hurdle to top this one. It’s hard to get much more epic than a duel with Death and a reunion with all your friends. Great story, great art — more evidence that this has been a thoroughly glorious fantasy series.


The Sandman: Overture #5

The mad sun has thrown Morpheus into a black hole — where not even he may be able to escape. He gets a brief respite when his mother pulls him out for a chat, but while he wants to save the universe, she only wants to manipulate him into staying with her forever — and when he refuses, she drops him back into the black hole. But then he’s re-rescued by Destiny, who’s frustrated that there’s a ship in the middle of his garden — and it’s clearly been built by Dream, even though Dream has no memory of creating it. And the cat version of Dream has been keeping busy by traveling to the worlds being destroyed by the mad stars and rescuing people.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not a lot of it makes sense yet — hopefully, that will come in the final issue — but the story is told with a great deal of style with a lot of gorgeous art by J.H. Williams III.


All-New Hawkeye #3

Kate Bishop and Clint Barton are aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier waiting to find out what the spy agency is going to do with the mutant kids they rescued from A.I.M. Maria Hill strongly hints to them that they should do something to extract the kids from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s care before they’re used as weapons. After a few pages of whuppin’ and a ride out of the helicarrier on a flying car, they get the kids home — but how long will they be allowed to keep mutant super-psychic kids?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great art and a nice story. A nice storytelling gimmick, too, with the pastel watercolor story of young Clint and Barney’s trip to the circus told along the bottom of each page.

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Ducks and Rats and Hawks, Oh My!


Howard the Duck #2

Howard has been ducknapped by the Collector and stuck into his interstellar zoo — just like in his cameo from “Guardians of the Galaxy!” And sure enough, there’s Rocket Raccoon, who’s also in the hoosegow with Howard. But it’s all a cunning ruse — Rocket has a way to take over the computers, so he shuts down the forcefield around the prison planet, and the Guardians help Howard escape. But they have to leave all the other prisoners — all guilty of nothing more than being the last members of their races — stuck in the Collector’s zoo, and that doesn’t sit well with Howard, even after he makes it back to Earth.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of excellent and surreal jokes. A nice bit of characterization — Howard actually has a sense of justice, but he’s still just a talking duck, so he’s frustrated that he can’t do more to help others. And a wonderfully bizarre cliffhanger, too. And really, it’s worth a thumbs up just for the amazing duckface cover.


Rat Queens #10

The Rat Queens and their mercenary allies continue their struggle against Gerrig, his soldiers, and the gods he’s wielding against the city. Skulls are cleaved, smooches are delivered, magic is zapped, and secrets are revealed. Can the Queens defeat ultimate evil?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a great action sequence almost from beginning to end, with plenty of great character moments wrapped around the whole thing. I do wish we’d gotten some kind of excellent moment for Betty, the drug-abusing halfling — she’s the only main character who doesn’t get any focus this issue.


All-New Hawkeye #2

This issue is again split between a couple different stories. We follow Clint and Barney Barton as children as they begin their new lives with the traveling circus. And in the present, Kate Bishop and Clint Barton rescue some kids — grotesque science-experiment super-psychic kids — from A.I.M.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The big winner here really is the art, which goes from gauzy, soft-focus, pastoral memories in the past to more traditional superhero penciling in the present. It’s impressive and beautiful work.

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Arrow in the Sky


All-New Hawkeye #1

Did the previous series ever get an ending? I could’ve sworn it still had one more issue to go…

At any rate, here’s the new Hawkeye series, this time by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez. We get a couple criss-crossing stories — one set when Clint and Barney Barton were kids getting shuffled from one foster home to the next, amusing themselves by catching frogs and goofing off during the day and getting beaten by their abusive foster parents at night, and the other in the present as Clint and Kate Bishop are raiding a HYDRA base, fighting their way through an army of HYDRA goons, and eventually discovering something terribly unexpected.

Verdict: Thumbs up. We can’t really tell much of where we’re going with the plot yet, but the art is whooo-doggy amazing. You’ll want to pick this up for that reason alone.


Lady Killer #2

This is a whole month old, but the local shop’s shipment of this issue were all damaged, and then Diamond never bothered to ship replacements. (Diamond is kinda a dick to the folks running my local shop.)

So here’s Josie, 1960s housewife and professional assassin. She’s been ordered to dress up as a Playboy bunny to kill her latest target, and Peck, her handler, is treating her like he thinks she’s his own personal plaything. After she eliminates the bloke in the bunny bar, Josie is ordered to a meeting with the head of the agency. He clearly doesn’t like her, partly because she’s a woman, partly because she has a family. And he gives her the next assignment — a target it’d be hard for anyone to agree to.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful ’60s style, nice action, scarier politicking than you’d expect for an espionage comic.


Lady Killer #3

Josie learns that her resentful mother-in-law suspects her of wrongdoing, though she only thinks she’s carrying on an affair. The head of the agency thinks Josie is a liability and wants Peck to eliminate her. Meanwhile, Josie goes to take down her latest target — a 10-year-old boy whose parents had already been killed by another assassin. Can Josie bring herself to kill the kid? And is she prepared for her own employers to turn on her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, a really wonderfully stylish story. Joelle Jones’ art is entirely to die for.

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