Writer: Kelly Thompson
Penciller: Leonardo Romero
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Joe Sabino
Release Date: 3/7/18
Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero bid us a hopefully temporary adieu in Hawkeye #16, as Kate and Clint prepare for their final face-off against Madame Masque and Eden Vale. It’s our favorite heroic duo against the latest villainous one, with some family near-reunions thrown in to amp up the action!
Plot: With their backs against the wall, Kate and Clint need to battle things out with Masque and Eden with the help of several trick arrows and a whole lot of back-up. It certainly helps that Kate’s father has decided to use his powers to help his daughter for once, and that her friend Johnny has been keeping a powerful secret of his own. But in the end, some villains just need a good talking-to in order to set down their arms, while others escape to fight another day.
Story: Hawkeye #16 concludes this chapter in Kate’s journey on a high note, but specifically avoids tying up loose ends. This is probably for the best, and we’d all like to see more of her story, and this way Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero have left us with a great jumping off point when August 2018 rolls around. Both Hawkeyes employ all manner of arrow tricks and hard-earned fighting skills in this issue to take down Madame Masque and Eden Vale, but at the end of the day it is heart that wins own over brawn. Clint wears his heart on his sleeve as a distraction when confessing his guilt to Eden, but it’s a true reflection of his emotions all the same and it’s a lovely nod to the character growth he’s recently undergone.
Meanwhile, Kate has a brief but nice moment with her father helping to save the day, and a longer moment in which her new friend and potential beau Johnny reveals that he has rock powers. That’s certainly a thread for the creative team to pick up later, but it allows Kate a bit of levity in an otherwise action-heavy (not to mention emotion-heavy) issue. Her biggest action, though, is the way she chooses to approach Eden and talk her down from committing further violence. It’s great that Kate is not only skilled with arrows, but also has the emotional intelligence to use her words as well. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Clint is on the other side, still shooting the right kind of arrows to pull Madame Masque away and make sure she doesn’t unduly influence Eden during Kate’s peptalk.
Just as Eden’s journey ends with the importance of the family she’s lost, and her sadly short-lived reunion with her daughter is some of Thompson’s best work, Kate’s journey ends alongside the family she’s found. No matter how many times she’s pushed her friends away, they’ve stood by her side and reminded her that everyone needs someone. And let’s not forget the exciting final twist regarding Madame Masque and Kate’s mother, which makes it all the more upsetting that the series is over (for now). Nevertheless, it definitely leaves her story in an interesting place for whenever and wherever it’s next picked up.
Art: Romero has always had an affinity for the style of old cartoons, which is especially apparent in Hawkeye #16 and fits the story very well. Comedic moments are underscored by his light tough, and he’s particularly talented at making the most out of the simplest line work. The otherwise minimalist work contrasts with the over-saturation of detail in the action sequences, which raise the tension and let Joe Sabino in particular have a lot of fun with arrows and sound effects.
Jordie Bellaire adds right amount of texture to the art, as usual, and her coloring is always on point. She manages to help emotional close-ups stand out when necessary, and can turn the more cartoon-ish style into a poignant moment with the appropriate color scheme. Just like Eden’s time with her daughter is a highlight for Thompson, it is one for the artistic team as well.
Verdict: Hawkeye #16 brings Kelly Thompson’s excellent take on Kate Bishop to a satisfying close, but it’s a bittersweet farewell for readers who have enjoyed the run immensely.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5