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So, here you find a blog about life in general, but with a focus on family, games, books and creativity. Other "stuff" will creep in from timt to time.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First August Reviews: Avenging Spider-Man #10 and Hawkeye #1

This month is starting off with me getting comics on the day they come out.  Good for me, less so for my wallet, but whatever.  Thanks to Beyond Comics, for being there when I want to spend my dough!

This week's comics are brought to you (seperately) by the Husband and Wife writing team of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction.  That is a lot of writing talent under one roof!  This month opens with two great books from them, one each respectively.

First I'll take a look at the conclusion of Kelly Sue DeConnick's story started in Avenging Spider-Man #9 and conveniently concluded in Avenging Spider-Man #10, then I'll talk about Matt Fraction's Hawkeye #1.

Avenging Spider-Man #10
More Fun!  More please!

Last month I loved Avenging Spider-Man #9, with guest star Captain Marvel, and the love continues this month.  DeConnick does a terrific job with both heroes, doing terrific justice to both characters.  She plays them smart, funny and always heroic.  Last month I gave only middling reviews to the actual debute of DeConnick on Captain Marvel #1, but I will definitely stick with the series because she can write and write Captain Marvel especially well.  Even though I felt Captain Marvel #1 was too low key for my tastes, Avenging Spider-Man #10 shows what DeConnick can and will do with Captain Marvel, and it is a lot of fun.

Spidey also is done justice in this book.  DeConnick plays him pitch perfect, and he proves a good foil to Marvel.

I won't spoiler the story, just say that the police, rent-a-cops in Iron Man cast offs, corporate and ex-corporate folks as well as the hero/villain introduced last issue, Robyn Hood (with a "Y" for Freedom) (yeah, she's kinda crazy) all play their parts well and provide a satisfying set of personalities to aid, inhibit and befuddle our heroes.  I really enjoyed the book and recommend it.

Also, I have to credit the artists on the book again, it looked great!

I look forward to more from DeConnick with her blend of light comic touch over serious political and character issues.  Captain Marvel is a keeper, and she can write my Spider-Man anytime.

Hawkeye #1

This is a new title (ahead of the universe bending Marvel Now! new titles), which explores the "off duty" life of Clint Barton, Hawkeye.  The first issue is a very good start.

I read an article where writer Matt Fraction described Clint Barton as the "Jim Rockford" of the Avengers.  I was intrigued by that take on the character, and I think Fraction has made it work in spades.  Of course, I think he has done more than just make Barton into the scrappy, never say die, never give up (on a client or other things) PI type, he has also gotten the interplay of dark and light in Barton's personality tuned just right.  Fraction has done this hat trick before with Tony Stark on Invincible Iron Man; Danny Rand on the Immortal Iron Fist, and with the cast of characters in the current run of Defenders.  He knows all about getting to the person behind the mask.

Barton can be a real jerk (much moreso that we ever saw from Jim Rockford).  When he acts that way to his fellow heroes or the average guy on the street (which he can do), you cringe (good example of this for the character was Avenging Spider-Man #4 (written not by Fraction, but by  Zeb Wells).  Hawkeye was a criminal for part of his career, and part of what led him there was that he can have a very BAD ATTITUDE.

Of course, when he channels that attitude against guys who are even bigger jerks than him, then we are very happy.  No cringing, pure applause.  Of course, if that was all there was to Clint Barton, he would not be the hero that he is.  Even though he can default down to a jerk, he can and does work hard to rise above his limitations.  Often these are his physical limitations, because he is "just a guy."  He is on a team with gods, robots, geniuses, and monsters.  He is just a guy.  With some sticks.  So, he makes himself a hero by running into situations that no sane person would ever approach.

But more importantly, and Fraction totally sells this in the first issue, Barton knows how to exert himself to rise above being a jerk.  He can make bad choices, but when the chips are down and it really counts, he makes the right decisions, the hard decisions, the personally costly decisions, and he backs them up with every ounce of skill and determination at his disposal.  This was well captured about the character in Jen Van Meter's limited series, Avengers Solo, starring Hawkeye.  Fraction doubles down on the premise.  As much of a flawed jerk that Barton can be, he is, in the end, a "do the right thing" guy, and the extremes that he is willing to go to in order to make the right thing happen define his heroism.

The plot of the book almost doesn't matter, because the character stuff is so rich, but basically Fraction sets the scene for Barton as a resident of New York and what he can and will do when he is not leading the Secret Avengers or standing beside Thor, Captain America and Iron Man in some cosmic showdown like AvX.  He solves smaller problems, for people and dogs, in his neighborhood, and I'd say it probably is one of the best first issues I have read since Punisher #1 by Greg Rucka.

The art is perfect.  It's like Barton's neighborhood, a little rough, but with a classy heart.  It totally fit the writing and I look forward to much more from this team.

Good stuff.

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