Released: November 7th 2015
Received: Marvel Unlimited
Issues: All-New Hawkeye 1-5
This volume and its labeling may be a bit confusing. It’s considered the fifth volume for Hawkeye (well, if we’re being honest one of the fifth volumes), but as far as by the issue (which is how I read it) is concerned it’s one through five in All-New Hawkeye. Really though it can be read either way – as a continuation of the series or as a standalone (as long as you understand some of the Kate Bishop plots at least). This volume features both Hawkeyes at it again, though with some more friction than we’ve typically seen in the past.
This volume makes heavy use of jumping between different points in time, so if you’re not a fan of that concept you’re probably better off steering clear. There’s a present set of interactions; Barton and Bishop trying to make things work as a team but Bishop realizing she needs time to do things on her own, etc. There’s also the future Bishop and Barton relationship being shown; 25+ years in the future, where they haven’t spoken in years; now they’re trying to make the mistakes they’ve made in the past right. And finally we get a glimpse of the past, specifically Bishop’s past; her time spent as a kid and her slowly coming to idolize Hawkeye.
If you’re wondering whether or not I found that to be a bit of a mouthful, I did. I also found it to be nearly too much while reading it. The switches are fairly sudden and jarring (I tend to prefer it when each issue can take a timeline or something cleaner like that). I did like the idea of Barton and Bishop having a non-romantic relationship struggle though – one that was caused by events in the past, but creates issues all the way into the future.
Seeing into Bishop’s past really explains a lot about her personality. She clearly as trust issues, and now that I’ve seen her father I know why. She also has commitment issues again that are explained away by her family life. The Hawkeye worship? Also sort of because of her father, but in a roundabout way, if you’re looking to explain it simply. Regardless, it’s pretty clear that Kate was tough and capable even as a little girl. It’s hard not to be impressed by someone like that.
In the present we have Kate upset about how something was handled (specifically involving three children that were experimented on). She feels that they’ve failed those kids, but Barton appears to think they should just move on. This causes a fissure that’s only resolved when Barton decides to act like an adult and try and see things from her perspective (obviously there’s more to it than that, but I’d rather not give it all away). Their relationship dynamic could easily be mistaken for a more romantic relationship (one that’s admittedly on the rocks), something I feel like the author could have avoided with a bit more care.
The future scenes were a bit odd. I’ll admit the art style didn’t really lend well to the telling either – the rougher edges making the character’s faces appear more twisted and aged when they were actually trying to portray emotions (though I’d like to add that I loved the color palette of everything – I’m a huge fan of pretty hues of purple). I don’t want to say too much about this, as obviously it could give away the ending.
Despite not being over the moon about this particular volume, I do like both Barton and Bishop as Hawkeye. I especially like it when they’re both showing up on the pages, so I’m obviously going to read anything that involves the two of them. I’ll be curious to see where things go from here.