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Ultimate Comics Hawkeye

Posted by David Goodman On June - 20 - 2012

I’ve been a fan of the archer Hawkeye long before this summer’s Avengers movie made him cool. From the moment I first met him in Avengers #221, there was always something about the character I liked. Unfortunately, he’s never risen above being a B-list hero in the mainstream Marvel Universe, and the Ultimate version was more of a supporting character in The Ultimates 1 and 2. But that might all be changing.

Hawkeye is due to get his own series later this year courtesy of Matt Fraction and David Aja. Ultimate Hawkeye is now a core member of the Ultimates, and even starred in his own tie-in miniseries by Jonathan Hickman and Rafa Sandoval. I’d say that makes it a pretty good time to be a Hawkeye fan

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Rafa Sandoval
Cover by Kaare Andrews

The Ultimate version of Hawkeye has always been far cooler than his counterpart in the regular Marvel Universe, and this miniseries shows everyone exactly why that is; Ultimate Hawkeye is a bad-ass, plain and simple. Take the best parts of Wolverine, the Punisher, and Batman, roll them all together and you might get something like Clint Barton. He doesn’t take any crap, and will do what he has to do to get the job done.

Here Hickman adds to the characters backstory by fleshing it out, and giving him something close to an origin. We see Hawkeye’s beginnings with Nick Fury, and discover that he may have actually been the first Ultimate. Then there is the main story that finds Hawkeye teamed up with the guys and gals from Ultimate X, as they deal  with an ever escalating super-powered arms race in Southeast Asia. Plus we get a believable, interesting Ultimate version of Xorn as a bonus!

The book reads and feels like a Jason Bourne movie. It moves fast and there is a new threat around every corner. It is a high octane roller coaster that is the direct opposite of the decompressed storytelling style that has become so popular. If anything, the miniseries could have actually been a bit longer. The ending seems a little rushed, and a lot of plotlines are left hanging.

This can all be forgiven however thanks to the solid artwork of Sandoval. His work on this book is impressive, with detailed line work and impeccable storytelling skills. He completely redesigned Xorn for this title and he looks awesome (the way he should have always appeared).

As I said above, my only real problem with Ultimate Hawkeye is that the final page comes way too soon. The book just kind of ends with no real resolution to the story, or even an out-and-out cliffhanger. Hopefully Hickman, or someone else with as good a grasp on what makes the character tick, will come back to do a second miniseries. Or at the very least we’ll see it play out in the pages of The Ultimates.

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye is a fun, captivating book that fans of The Ultimates will definitely want to pick up. This book will give you all the reasons it’s now cool to be a Hawkeye fan.

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