First, salinea has some much-needed tips
on finding one's way in the X-Men universe. To be read and considered at length later.
I read the first volume
of the much-lauded new Hawkeye
comic by Fraction, Aja, et all, and I loved
it. Nearly unqualified success. Specifically:
* THE ART. David Aja's art in particular. I don't really have the vocabulary to properly describe all aspects of it, but: the line work is sort of thick and rough, which gives the comic a sort of old-timey feel and augments the humor as well as keeping things simple and focused, which really complements the simplicity of the storytelling. The blocking of everything is really interesting, ranging from fairly standard left-to-right, top-down organization to pages with up to 24 small panels working diagonally from upper right to lower left. The coloring is gorgeous
. The second issue, for example, is nearly monochromatic, colored almost entirely in shades of purple. The third issue is mostly reds and pale yellows. (See here
for scans of some pages from issue #2, to see what I mean.)
* This, this is the kind of superhero story I've been wanting: something that exists in a superhero universe with all the ridiculousness that entails, but which is about people living their lives. This comic has (so far) exactly three significant characters, and one of them is a dog. I hope to find more comics of this type: set in the big superhero universes, but telling more human stories.
* The humor. Clint Barton is one of the more hapless superheroes I've ever seen. The narrative voice Matt Fraction gives him is great; a lot of "This is bad. This is very, very bad. No, wait, this is definitely worse." And with the humor, the action, because although Clint isn't battling supervillains, the regular kind can give him a run for his money, too. Some of it has almost a James Bond flavor, which is fun.
Also you can tell the villains are villains because they call everyone "Bro." Many of them also wear track suits. For no apparent reason.
Also an entire issue is spent showcasing all Barton's ridiculous trick arrows.
* Kate Bishop. She's introduced this way:
"This is Kate Bishop. Kate took over for me as Hawkeye once upon a time when I was, well, dressing like a ninja, sort of, is the short version. She is without a doubt the finest and most gifted I've ever met but she's like nine years old and spoiled rotten.
She's pretty great."
So it's not only that Kate is very, very good at what she does and sassy while she does it, but Clint clearly adores her. I hadn't realized how rare it was to see unabashed admiration of a male character for a female character, especially one who is good at the same things he is, until I read this and found it so refreshing.
The flies in the ointment are 1) that Aja switches off art duties, so the fourth and fifth issues in this volume are by Javier Pulido, who seems to be aiming for a similarly bare-bones style and does fine enough but still comes off poorly in contrast.
And 2) the issue from Young Avengers
appended to the end of the volume, in which Clint and Kate meet for the first time. Fraction's still writing here, but the characters read totally differently, and I have trouble fanwanking the differences as being due solely to the change in POV and setting. Also Alan Davis's art is very standard-looking superhero art. This story has nothing of the charm that the rest of the volume is overflowing with, and I don't see myself needing to reread anytime soon.
In general, though, yes: LOVE. Total win. I'll definitely be reading more of this title.
And now, fic! Frequently Asked Questions
is a set of answers Kate Bishop writes to answer Clint's frequent questions after he loses his short-term memory. It is great fun.