REVIEW: Hawkeye #3 – “Fifty Shades Of Something”

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HAWKEYE #3
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Penciller: Leonardo Romero
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Price: $3.99

Release Date: 2/1/17

When we last checked in with Hawkeye, Kate had tracked down her client Mikka’s stalker, Larry Gort, and followed him to a meeting for a creepy self-help group called Take Back Control. Larry claimed TBC had been forcing him to harass young women, and now members of that organization seem intent on chasing Kate as she runs away…

Plot: After being brusquely thrown into the water, Kate learns that her would-be attacker is actually Detective Rivera working undercover. The cop she thought was super unhelpful was actually just trying to protect both Kate and her own cover, which is a nice twist that Hawkeye is full of at the moment.

Despite having similar goals, Detective Rivera is still not willing to work with a civilian – even if she does go by the name Hawkeye. Instead Kate must rely on her new friend Ramone’s help. Not to mention Johnny, the cute boy from last issue who turns out to be Ramone’s brother. Eventually Quinn joins them to get a little more hands-on with their investigation.

Story: Kelly Thompson spends a lot of time this Hawkeye issue using the case at hand to deepen the interpersonal relationships, something plenty of other comics could take note of. It’s difficult to find the perfect balance of action and character work, but this series has so far come very close. The pace of discovery when it comes to the mystery is steady – no exposition dumps or long lapses in movement – and every turning point in the case is accompanied by a development in the dynamics. Kate just met her fellow team members one or two issues again, and yet the progression of their closeness feels natural. While some coincidences are almost too much – such as Ramone and Johnny being related – they don’t take away from the story at all.

One of my favorite aspects of last month’s Hawkeye was the exploration of what Kate doesn’t know. She can’t be the best private investigator the world has ever seen her first day on the job, after all. But this issue has the equally important job of showing off what she does know and how skillfully she can employ her resources. There is a sequence that follows her trek through a cordoned-off section of the party she’s infiltrated, and readers will enjoy Kate’s humorous mistakes as well as clever saves in equal measure. The final splash page amps up the tension, and the build up that’s come before allows an appropriate amount of worry for our heroine without undercutting how equipped she is to handle the danger.

Art: As in the previous issue, the art team for Hawkeye does an excellent job of emphasizing the details germane to the mystery at hand as well as to the development of the characters. Leonardo Romero knows just when to fill a space with visual information and when to leave it more open-ended, and the emotional element of every panel is complemented by Jordie Bellaire’s colors. Her palette matches the tone of each scene perfectly, capturing both Kate’s lighthearted persona as well as the darkness of the mystery surrounding her work.

 

Seeing what Kate spies with “her little eye” is another fun part of the art that sets Hawkeye apart, and once again displays how well the creative team understands her personality as well as how much they’ve thought about the plot.

Verdict: Hawkeye #3 makes the most of a very intricate premise, and showcases Thompson’s strengths as a writer as well as Kate’s strengths as a character. As of right now, it’s one of the Marvel’s best new titles and its immediate future looks even more promising.

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