This is known as the definitive take on the character, written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by . It covers issues 1 through 22 of Hawkeye and issue 6 of Young Avengers. It features both Hawkeyes, the original in Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, who took up the name later on. It covers a few months in the life of Barton and Bishop as they bond while taking on various baddies from Madam Masque to Tracksuit Mafia, who we saw in the Disney+ Hawkeye series. There’s also a story within the story about gentrification in New York City as Barton tries to save the last remaining apartment building from being bought out and demolished to make room for upscale development.

Before we go any further, be forewarned that if your only exposure to Clint Barton is in the MCU then you are in for a surprise as this version is nothing like the one played by Jeremy Renner. MCU Hawkeye is a devoted family man and loving husband, whereas the comic version is separated from his wife, fellow superhero Mockingbird, in a relationship with Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman), has previously been with Black Widow, and hooks up with another woman during the story. Barton in the comics is a relationship self saboteur of the highest order, the total opposite from his onscreen counterpart.

Barton’s relationship with Bishop is also different here than in the TV series, where it is entirely platonic and borderline father/daughter-ish. In the early going of this series Bishop isn’t necessarily interested in Barton for anything romantic but does get caught staring as he changes clothes a few times and gets miffed when she sees just how haphazardly he deals with the various women he’s been with. It’s not as creepy as you may think it is because here the age difference is nowhere as pronounced as it is onscreen but it’s still a bit of a shock going from the TV series to the comic here.

There are some other big differences. Here Kate is already a working superhero as part of the Young Avengers and not a civilian who gets caught up in a bunch of stuff, and that gets punctuated when she goes on a side mission halfway through. She and Barton also interact with lots of other Marvel heroes here whereas on film there’s only Yelena, sister of the late Black Widow Natasha Romanov. And lastly the mission of this story is different from the TV series where Barton is just trying to keep Kate safe and help her find out who’s after her, not save an entire apartment building from rich landlords.

So how did I like it? I thought it was great. By the time the story was done you know everything you possibly need to know about Clint Barton – his personality, his foibles, his relationships, everything. We also get a lot of insight into Kate Bishop, what makes her tick, and her own heroic traits. But this wasn’t just a big character study. The story of Barton deciding to help people in the neighborhood, getting in over his head, but pulling it out with help from a few friends, is fun and enthralling from start to finish. Bishop’s side mission that takes place about two thirds of the way through is a nice detour if you’re reading this all as one thing and not monthly; had I been reading this in real time as it was released I’d probably have gotten a little impatient with them getting away from the main story for several months.

The artwork wasn’t my cup of tea; I prefer brighter colors and more vibrant images than what David Aja did here. That’s not a dis it’s just my own preference. But it wasn’t such a stark contrast to my own likes to take me out of the story.

Final Verdict

Highly recommend. If you want to take a D list character and make them more cool and interesting and relevant than ever than this is the way to go. And it works whether your experience is with the MCU version of the character or the comic version. It’s a credit to both creative teams that two so different versions of the same character hit so well in their respective mediums. Whether you want to buy the Omnibus in physical form or just read it online, you won’t be sorry.


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