Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1 Review

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Posted September 1, 2017 by Luke Miller in Comic Books

Written by: Kelly Thompson

Art by: Stefano Raffaele

Published by: Marvel Comics

I’m going to admit that I don’t think I know why these “Generations” books exist. I mean, I sort of do… but not really. A Hawkeye team-up book? Cool. A time-displaced Hawkeye team-up book? Um… okay? A “we need these two characters, at these two very specific points in their timelines, to meet up, and it doesn’t matter how or why” Hawkeye team-up book? Okay… but can we go back to the “why” for a minute?

I get that this is a contrived, editorially mandated line of books. I get that. Totally. I also get why these aren’t just annuals. (They should be.)  And I even get why they’d do one for a character, like, say, the Hulk. Because, spoiler alert, the “real” Hulk is dead. But why make a special book for two characters who are still around? And who interact, like, all the time? I just imagine this conversation happening:

“Okay, we’ve got seven of these titles nailed down. I want ten. Who else can we do? What about Hawkeye? We’ve got two of those, right?”

“Um, sure. Clint Barton and Kate Bishop.”

“Okay, have them team up.”

“Uh… they do that already. A lot.”

“No, no, no. I want the young one to meet the old one when the old one was the young one. Present-day Hawkeye meets 1967 Hawkeye. Or something. Make it happen! Now who’s next? Iron Man…? Spider-Man…?”

Having said all that, this book was actually pretty fun. Here’s the premise: Kate Bishop shows up/appears/materializes out of thin air on a tropical island. We don’t know how. We don’t know why. Doesn’t matter. All of the world’s greatest marksmen throughout history are there. Well, Robin Hood’s not there, but all of the world’s greatest marksmen that Marvel owns are there, hunting each other for sport. Or competition. Or survival. We don’t really know. Doesn’t matter. Anyway, Kate runs into young Clint Barton, circa real-world 1967–why this version of him is the best possible version to be there is not explained. Doesn’t matter.

Well, it does, in that the whole point of this scenario is to have Kate meet Young Clint, but in terms of the plot, it doesn’t. Following me? Good.

Actually, you know what? Just forget the whole plot. It honestly doesn’t matter. This was all about the characters. Kate meets and gets to know Clint just as his superheroing career is taking off. Her voice is sharp and distinct. There are nice touches that call back to the Silver Age when Clint is the focus, like thought bubbles instead of narration, and a crazy monologue by Taskmaster. The art is crisp, clean, and easy to follow–even if there were a few coloring mistakes where Kate had two sleeves instead of one. (I know, I’m a stickler for costume design.)

And I know it might sound like I’m criticizing the plot and its vagaries, but it makes exactly as much sense as it needs to. If, say, you were a person who knew next to nothing about Hawkeye, either version (*raises hand*), everything is spelled out just enough so you can follow things without feeling lost or like you’re being coddled. That’s quite the achievement right there for any comic or character with 50-plus years of continuity.

Mainly this book accomplished one goal, and it was the only one it needed to do: I now want to read more about Hawkeye. Both versions. The premise is silly, but for an editorially-mandated story, it’s executed extremely well. This book won’t change your life or anything, but you’ll have a good time. Though I still say it would’ve made a fantastic annual.

Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1




Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye #1


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Final Score

7/10

    Pros

    • Makes me want more Hawkeye
    • Fun!

    Cons

    • Gimmicky premise
    • Seriously, why is this not an annual?



    About the Author

    Luke Miller