Writer: Kelly Thompson
Penciller: Leonardo Romero
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: 1/4/16
Our favorite Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, believes herself to be a gumshoe extraordinaire after apprehending an online stalker. Unfortunately her client Mikka Nguyen gets kidnapped by her real life stalker in the meantime. What’s a budding private investigator to do?
Plot: Kate walks one Larry Gort to the police station while unsuccessfully trying to get a hold of Mikka. Upon questioning the sleazy harasser, he confesses that he was attending meetings for a group called Take Back Control in order to stop sending Mikka cruel messages. His explanation doesn’t sound very convincing, and Kate has no problem letting him know just that.
Without Mikka’s side of the story, though, there is nothing the police or Kate can do. In the meantime, she gets her friendly neighborhood IT guy Quinn to help her figure out who other than Larry was behind the harassment.
Story: Kate Bishop continues to be a breath of fresh air, and her solo title couldn’t be a more welcome addition to Marvel’s roster. While the second issue of Hawkeye continues setting up a sinister mystery, it doesn’t touch the protagonist’s pep or perennially carefree outlook. Of course, the mark of a well-written series is its supporting characters rather than its heroine – and Kelly Thompson has done an excellent job fleshing out the newcomers in Kate’s life these past two issues. As readers, we are predisposed to care for Kate because of her history, but it’s very easy to worry about Mikka and care for Ramone, Quinn and later Johnny as well.
The other aspect of the story that really stands out is that Kate Bishop starts off not having all the answers. She’s a skilled marksman and can beat anyone with a bow and arrow, but she hasn’t yet mastered the private investigator circuit. Like the audience, she is just dipping her foot into the solo act and it takes some time to adjust and improve. It may seem a little unfair to throw something like a secret brainwashing cult at a PI newbie right off the bat, but it certainly makes the experience more fun! It’s only the second month of her Hawkeye run, so of course she’ll make it out alive, but the tension is both exciting and believable.
Art: Hawkeye is nearly wall-to-wall dialogue because Kate Bishop loves her quips and comebacks, so the art must be equally strong to complement it. In this case, Leonardo Romero provides the perfect amount of simplicity that lets the dialogue shine while still sketching out Kate’s emotions with skill. Combined with Jordie Bellaire’s earthy color palette, the story feels grounded without ever delving into Jessica Jones-level darkness.
Perhaps due to the minimalist approach to artwork in Hawkeye, Kate’s selective eye for detail is explored incredibly well. Sometimes she can miss the bigger picture by zeroing in on certain details, but it’s also what makes her such a talented archer. Similarly, the comic has its fair share of blank or generic backdrops but will then whip out specific brick walls with Los Angeles graffiti on them depending on what catches Kate’s eye the most. And Joe Sabino’s work capturing her signature white and purple lettering that marks all her targets can’t be forgotten either.
Verdict: Hawkeye #2 is a very well-plotted thrill ride that’s filled with great twists and turns. Kate Bishop is a complex and entertaining heroine, and the various side characters are all crafted with care. The reveals and hidden relationship dynamics range from realistic to ridiculous, but they never take you out of the reading experience.