Meet Clint Barton, otherwise known as Hawkeye, and member of the renowned superhero team ‘The Avengers’. Although the hero has been portrayed on the silver screen in such films as ‘Thor’, and ‘Marvel’s Avengers Assemble’, as well as in such graphic novels as ‘Hawkeye vs. Deadpool’, and ‘Avengers Academy’, the series ‘Little Hits’ written by Matt Fraction is undoubtedly his best appearance to date. The story follows Clint’s life ‘when he’s not being an avenger’, focusing on his relationships with the people in his apartment building, his close friend Kate Bishop, (who is, to make things more complicated, also a superhero called Hawkeye), and his rescue dog, Lucky. The heart-warmingly hilarious tales help convey a message which has always been intrinsic to Marvel comics; A true hero is not measured by their abilities, but instead by their character.
A series of snapshots from the hero’s life are explored throughout the compilation. From helping a man and his father escape the house during a storm, to Clint’s very own Christmas story, to romantic entanglements and a story focused on Lucky the dog, the most critically acclaimed comic of 2013 certainly covers almost every storyline you could ask for. Hawkeye, as a hero, is not given a large amount of depth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film series, which is slightly disappointing, considering his character. Unlike other members of the Avengers, he is nothing extravagantly special. He’s just a talented marksman. He’s also deaf, relying on either lip-reading, or hearing aids, providing not only representation, but also a role model. Although Clint’s depicted with as many flaws as the average human (being occasionally thoughtless, and sometimes selfish), he’s without a doubt, a wonderful hero, and with the second Hawkeye beside him, there’s nothing he can’t do.
‘Little Hits’, as well as the preceding collection of Hawkeye comics ‘My Life as a Weapon’, also include another hero as a protagonist: Kate Bishop. At first a member of the Young Avengers, before beginning a mentor/student relationship with Clint, Kate is portrayed not only as an excellent marksman, but is equally talented at fencing, jujitsu and boxing, her abilities making her a worthy partner-in-crime. As a very headstrong young woman, always rushing to fight, she relies on Clint to keep her grounded, although she occasionally rallies him to intervene when he should. The pair focus on low-level crime, recognising that this is what makes them different from other heroes. They’re just as likely to save the world, as they are to infiltrate a small gang in Brooklyn, demonstrating what true heroes can do.
The short series is certainly one worth reading - full of action and amusement, whilst still containing some truly poignant moments. Although I do have some bias opinions, Clint being my favourite member of the Avengers, the graphic novel compilation is, certainly, one of most enjoyable I’ve ever read. Hopefully, Fraction will one day make the decision to write for Hawkeye once more, and loyal fans will be rewarded with more of this much-loved series.
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