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Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja

For those of you who don’t know–though with the newest Avengers movie coming out and with the last one being such a big hit, this may not be news to you, but–Hawkeye is the Avenger with the bow and arrows. This is his graphic novel, and I have to say that it was absolutely amazing.

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Just an example of what the style looks like. Cool, right?

For starters, the art is so cool. It’s a simplistic style, and it looks absolutely amazing. The color schemes are specific to show different people and sometimes different moods, though for the most part, our main character, Clint, and his friend, Katy, are all in purple, which is Hawkeye’s color. It makes it really interesting to read, since you can tell who is who and it is fairly clear which people are enemies based on the color they’re portrayed with. What’s also really cool are the lighting and coloring, which change enough to show lapses in time. For example, early on in the book we see shifts in time, so on the left page we have moments of before an event, and on the right page is the after. But it’s so skillfully done that you can actually understand which is when, and won’t get confused. The other really cool thing about the art is the use of panels, like how they used panels to show a slowing of time, or what the person is doing step by step.

Like:

This image is accompanied with a letter by letter text of what Kate (at the bottom) is saying to show a slowing of time as Hawkeye draws back the arrow.
This image is accompanied with a letter by letter text of what Kate (at the bottom) is saying to show a slowing of time as Clint draws back the arrow.

Hawkeye also has the best sense of humor, which is fairly accurately portrayed in the movies, though here he obviously gets a lot more of a spotlight. His narrative is so blunt and matter of fact, but contains this humorous attitude towards everything he does. The book even opens on a joke, which continues through the rest of the series:

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By the way, all of these images are coming from Google Images.

It’s very…I want to say dry humor, but I honestly don’t know how to classify it. It’s not a ha-ha kind of humor, like the kind where you’re rolling around because you’re laughing so hard that your sides have stitches and there are tears running down your face. It’s more of a light-hearted kind of humor that keeps heavy material–because there is most definitely heavy material, despite everything this may be one of the saddest comics I’ve ever read–from being too heavy. Here’s another example: Clint doesn’t speak multiple languages, so in order to show that someone is speaking another language–rather than do the thing they normally do in comics and show the language but no translation (so it’ll be the printed language showing, but we know the characters don’t know what’s being said because they’re either not responding to it or it’s not translated)–they have panels like this:

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Personally, I enjoyed that. I liked that the humor opened up and honesty and a bluntness that I hadn’t seen in other comics and graphic novels. Like with the language thing, there’s a huge difference between someone openly admitting they have no idea what the other person is saying, and having the language written out before you but no actual indication other than what you infer.

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Lucky’s POV

The other characters–aside from Clint, I mean–are also amazing, but I think that my favorites are Kate and Lucky. Kate is so snarky and amazing and is so well written into the story. The dialogue she has with Clint is absolutely hilarious, and you really can’t help but love her. Lucky is Clint’s dog, and he’s really just a background character up until–I’m pretty sure it’s the second book but I’m not entirely sure–he gets his own little chapter, and we get to see everything from his point of view–which was so cool.

I will warn you: you should know that, like other superhero comics, there is a lot of violence, so if that’s something you don’t like to see as a visual or that you don’t like to read about, you probably shouldn’t be reading superhero comics. That being said, this one is a lot more tame than others. I’m also pretty sure there’s some bad language, but I can’t really remember since it didn’t stand out to me as much as other aspects of the novel did.

I will also say that it is absolutely amazing, and you should definitely read it. Especially if you’re trying to get into comics and you’re looking for something interesting to read, but even if you’re not just starting out, you should still read it.

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