There’s a lot of great things about Hawkeye: Clint & Kate are both pretty lovable, Matt Fraction has found the balance between everyday life and superhero adventure, David Aja combines intricate formalism with dynamism and feeling, Matt Hollingsworth creates a distinctive pallet that instantly sets the tone of the comic (even when guest artists turn up), they even did an issue from the dog’s point of view - without anthropomorphising it.
But I’m going to focus on one page. From issue 5, drawn by Javier Pulido:
The combination of storytelling and pure design works beautifully. The information “Clint fires an arrow” could have been presented in a single panel, and I’m sure it could have been very dynamic: but the pacing here is something different and something that could only work in comics.
Hawkeye (the comic) pays a lot of attention to the details and the first row of panels is a great example of the almost-fetishistic appreciation of the archer’s technique in this comic. The colouring and framing here are moody, serious, even without context it’s clear this shot is significant.
But Clint’s still a light-hearted guy. There’s only one word on the page, and it’s such a flippant response, but it’s enough to add extra character depth.
Javier Pulido seems to like silhouettes. Who can blame him? They look great and his use of body language is strong enough that it’s always clear exactly who is doing what and how they feel about it. This particular silhouette stands as a concrete design element in front of a cityscape impressionistically rendered in simple, flat colour.
We then have the final row, the flight of the arrow: comics’ unique pacing putting Zeno’s paradox on the page, closer and closer, until…
That final panel, the breathing space, the imminent kiss of arrow and glass, the timeless moment of anticipation: abstracted into ultimate simplicity. It’s a panel that would be meaningless out of context, but here becomes a quiet focal point, just before…