Comic Reviews: Hawkeye, Batman, Inc., and Invincible!
Hawkeyes Clint Barton and Kate Bishop face off with their most dangerous enemy yet: a hurricane! Focusing on the night that the mega-storm hit the east coast, Hawkeye #7 continues putting an excellent spin on the adventures of the average guy on a team of superheroes, and what goes on when he’s not saving the world.
Writer Matt Fraction could have easily gone the schmaltz route with this issue, and I’m really glad that he doesn’t. There’s plenty of heart warming moments, but none of them sacrifice the integrity of the book, or make the issue feel like an afternoon special. Clint’s portion of the book focuses on getting “Grill”, a tenant in his apartment building, safely to his father’s home before the storm hits. This section of the issue is the perfect showcase for the hilarious dialogue that has come to be the staple of the series. From the opening pages where Grill gets confused about The Ramones, to Barton telling Grill’s father that they are “out of sand…and bags”, this part of the story is really hilarious, and heartfelt as well.
The other Hawkeye (or “Hawkgirl”), Kate Bishop, sees way more action than Clint does in this issue. Stuck at a party in New Jersey, she heads out into the ravaged streets to get some desperately needed medical supplies. After attempting to stop some looters, she gets the crap kicked out of her (an nice change of pace from Barton being the one constantly being beat up), only to find that the remaining residents of the block were able to subdue the looters, and retrieve Bishop’s gear. Like Clint Barton’s story, Bishop’s ends on a really heartwarming note, and I think it actually hits the mark better than Barton’s (hah, get it?).
Unfortunately David Aja isn’t penciling this issue. However, in his place we get not one, but two artists! Both Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm’s styles are in line with Aja’s, although I did find the pencils for Bishop’s section to be a little looser than I tend to like. Despite this, both artists do a great job keeping in line with the artists that came before them, while at the same time putting their own stamp on their respective stories.
Hawkeye‘s seventh issue, on top of continuing the great run that Fraction has been on with the book, will also benefit the Hurricane Sandy relief fund, so if there’s ever been an issue of the title to pick up, it’s this one. Not only will you be getting two great stories, you’ll be helping out a great cause too.
Grant Morrison, I love it when you write like this. And by “like this”, I mean “coherent”. The latest issue of Batman, Inc, also the seventh one, finally reveals the identity of Talia’s mystery henchman, and ramps up the tension as the other members of Batman, Inc. must deal with Bruce Wayne’s capture last issue. There’s also Damien playing with his new cat, which is awesome. Artist Chris Burnham continues to showcase why he’s one of my favorites, deftly switching gears between the action heavy beginning and the slower middle sections of the book.
Morrison’s revelation behind the henchman is very cool, and I’m glad he’s starting to finally pull back the mysteries of his Batman run. I’m sure I won’t get all the answers I want, but at the very least hopefully the most important aspects of the story will be revealed. After a kind of hum-drum middle section, I’m glad to see that Batman,Inc. is bringing back the Grant Morrison that I love, not the one who makes my head hurt.
After completely rocking the Walking Dead with it’s 100th issue, I had pretty high hopes for the 100th issue of Kirman’s other book, Invincible. Unfortunately, we don’t really get what’s promised to us with the final installment of “Everyone Dies!”. Instead, Kirkman uses the anniversary issue to get Mark Grayson back to basics, a move that will probably polarize a lot of Invincible fans. In fact, a lot of what occurs in this issue will probably polarize fans, from the opening pages to the many reveals that pop up during the issue. And to be honest, with the exception of the final page, a lot of it didn’t really shock me. In fact, I really was expecting more from this issue.
Where Kirkman’s narrative falters, Ryan Ottley’s art shines. He’s a guy who’s stuck with this series for 92 issues, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. While it’ll be interesting to see where Kirkman takes his characters next, I still feel a little cheated by this issue. The big twist that comes mid-way just rubbed me the wrong way. In a way, it seemed far-fetched, even for a superhero book that’s as over the top as this one. I can’t help but feel like ever since The Walking Dead blew up everywhere that Kirkman’s focus on Invincible has suffered. While I’m sure there will be people who will love this issue and the new status quo it brings, I have to say, in my case, I just wasn’t that into it.