This issue has been a long time coming. Hawkeye began all the way back in August 2012 and after a run that was praised by both fans and critics alike, rumors in early 2014 that writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja’s beloved take on the character would come to an end came as a shock. Finally, after over a year of sporadic releases, behind-the-scenes drama and a few issues of All-New Hawkeye already on shelves, the near-mythic final issue has finally arrived. And it was so worth the wait.
This book was never about threats from outer space or saving the world. It was about a normal guy who happened to be friends with a bunch of superheroes. A guy whose biggest enemies were the New York City housing market and a group of Russian gangsters whose favorite word was “bro.” Editor Sana Amanat perhaps put it best in the back pages of this issue when she described the character as someone, “who keeps getting the crap beaten out of him, who can’t quite get his life together, but keeps trying to make others’ better.” Even when Clint’s self-destructive tendencies made him borderline unlikable, his ability to pick himself and keep pushing on even in the direst circumstances kept him just heroic enough to root for. And when he became unbearable, there was always spunky, badass Kate Bishop to lighten the mood.
This issue saw Kate’s (triumphant?) return to NYC after the book’s LA Woman arc. Fed up with the mess of Clint’s life, she took his dog Lucky and drove across the country to live out her own hardboiled detective story. However, great as that arc was (thanks in large part to guest artist Annie Wu), the book was always best when the two Hawkeyes worked together. Seeing the pair back in action despite past disagreements, both bandaged and more aware than ever of their own flaws, felt like the perfect end note for a series that was so enjoyable–even extraordinary–because it was about normal people doing the best they could.
While All-New All-Different Hawkeye,thankfully, takes the best parts of its predecessor (Clint’s relationship with Kate and his brother, Barney), it’s a shame readers will never get to see the Hawkeyes vs. NYC gangsters storyline teased in Hawkeye‘s final pages. Jeff Lemire’s plotting is strong if a bit more sci-fi tinged and Ramon K. Perez is doing some of the best artwork in comics right now, but for those who’ve enjoyed Fraction and Aja’s take over the last few years, there will probably always be a certain amount of nostalgia for that broken down apartment building in Brooklyn. And Lucky the dog, of course. He was the best.
By day, Marisa Carpico stresses over every detail of America’s election system. By night, she becomes a pop culture and celebrity obsessive. Whether it’s movies, TV or music, she watches and listens to it all so you don’t have to. You can find her risking her life by reading comic books while walking down the crowded streets of New York City, having inappropriate emotional reactions at her iPad screen while riding the subway or occasionally letting her love of a band convince her to stand for hours on end in one of the city’s many purgatorial concert spaces. You can follow her on Twitter to read her insightful social commentary or more likely complain about how cold it is at @MarisaCarpico.