I write this review not out of passion but out of duty. As a comic book lover this book has left me reeling in its sheer mind blowing wake. I have rarely read such an interesting book, that takes basic concepts and demonstrates them in ways I have yet to see in the graphic art world. It is my responsibility to share this with the world. I have written two posts on Clint since the blog began and my first was titled, “What’s so special about Clint Barton”. I alluded to the brilliance of the book from a narrative and art perspective, but not from a character focus. I appreciated the human aspect of Hawkeye, but felt it was not fully explored. This issue has completely changed my opinion, but not just because of Clint, but because the artwork and story has been told in a way I have not seen before.
The comic tells a tale of six nights where there is a huge range of activity; from beating A.I.M. soldiers, fixing televisions for tenants, fighting gangsters and having Stark over to fix his television cables. The scene with A.I.M. is incredible because the fallibility of Clint is so apparent as he is knocked out during the fight. The increased responsibility of being a landlord weighs on his mind whilst balancing his role Avengers and the revenge driven mob. One of the nights is spent packing his stuff and talking to Kate about standing up and facing the oncoming Eastern European barrage. His final decision is the ultimate reward of the book, really bringing Clint Barton to the forefront of the superhero world. He is a human doing the superhuman, he does not have the special powers for fighting or recovering to take on the unruly masses, but he has the bravery and the will. His overcoming of vulnerability and fear are paramount to this book.
The pages moves back and forth through the six nights, mixing the continuity of the story. It may appear confusing but because the plot is not the focus of the book, it does not affect the narrative of Clint Barton’s journey. In fact it purposely distracts you from the plot, by having multiple scenes at Clint’s front door, it is a repeating scene! Contrary to that, there is a running joke about a television show called Dog Cops, which he seems to be watching as the narrative ascends. Aja takes this book into directions unknown. He delicately balances the colours of Christmas baubles and the AV sockets, whilst showing the gang fight scene in silhouette. There are over fifty square panels of Hawkeye’s face in this single comic, in various physical and emotional states; despair, joy, bruised with plasters, purple with a shiner, surprised, confused and scared. How David Aja manages this without it becoming tiresome or dull is testament to his left field artistic temperament. Plaudits must be given to Hollingsworth for the colouring, which runs its own theme accompanying the pencilling, especially in the scene where the mafia boss is shaded white amongst the dark shadows of his henchmen. The defining moment of this book is this page:
I struggle to describe its genius, not just in the enormity of the building he protects with his bow and arrow, but in it’s representing the magnitude of the task at hand. Our creativity is essential to the scene, as we can only imagine the opposition in front of him, ready to kill him, guns versus arrows. It is the final battle, the honour of his tenants and his own, against the immoral abusive Russians. The book breaks boundaries and before you think, I am exaggerating its greatness, I will leave you the single feature that blew my mind: In the midst of the six nights, there is no final battle depicted. It is not shown or drawn at all. Not a single page shows the culminating fight of the arc. This is because it is not part of the narrative. The narrative is the development not only of Clint as a hero, but most importantly as a man. He stands facing his destiny, in front of the building of people he guards, armed with his bow and arrow. This is what’s so special about Clint Barton.
“It’s everything about you that sucks” 10/10