After Jeremy Renner’s good guy Clint Barton was converted to bad guy in the 2012 MCU Avengers movie, it seemed like there was nowhere for the character to go but down. Already merely a Green Arrow knockoff (who, in turn, was inspired by Robin Hood), the least interesting Avenger ultimately was relegated to lawless, one-note assassin status by the Endgame finale. That was the Avenger on the big screen. What the movie studio missed and is at last catching up to is what was happening in the comics pages while Avengers was in theaters. Enter writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, who tapped some of the better elements from DC Comics’ Green Arrow comic book series and suddenly Hawkeye became interesting in the comics.
But what would become a multiple Eisner-winning comic wasn’t just about Clint Barton. The next Disney+ Marvel series is coming this Christmas, and it’s bringing the even better character from Fraction and Aja’s comic book series forward, revealed in a first preview that looks like we may finally get a Disney+ Marvel series as good as the Marvel movies. They even got the logo and Matt Hollingsworth’s color scheme right. Check out the first trailer for Hawkeye below.
Matt Fraction and David Aja’s 2012 Hawkeye series is one of the best Green Arrow stories Marvel has ever come up with. It’s a strange thing, because Green Arrow has been around since the 1930s and Hawkeye the 1960s. What it took was the borrowing–specifically taking Mia Dearden aka the new Speedy, a young woman archer apprentice to Green Arrow who was a creation of Kevin Smith, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks in the ongoing Green Arrow monthly comics, and creating Kate Bishop, archer sidekick to Hawkeye. Clint Barton and Kate Bishop work together with the similar humor and banter as Oliver Queen and Mia in the pages of Hawkeye, and with Jeremy Renner’s run coming to a close with the rest of the Phase 1 Marvel cast members, pulling in Oscar-nominated actor Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, BumbleBee, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Ender’s Game) in the role of Kate couldn’t be a smarter move for the Marvel storyline on the big screen. Young Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Florence Pugh’s Black Widow, and Steinfeld’s Hawkeye make a pretty good restart for the Marvel movies.
Fraction’s introspective look at his urban archer clicked immediately. And the similarities of Hawkeye to Green Arrow are not just a quirk from this reader. Fraction’s Issue #1 took the key story from the arguably best Green Arrow story–his first Silver Age encounter with Hal Jordan aka the Green Lantern, in Green Lantern Issue #76. That story was about Oliver Queen going head to head with a slumlord, who wasn’t necessarily doing anything illegal. In Hawkeye, Clint Barton went head to head with a Bed-Stuy slumlord who also was not doing anything technically illegal. So it’s like an alternate version of Green Arrow, but with more of a Golden Age stubble-faced Green Arrow. The similarities continued in Issue #2, where Barton introduced us to his partner, a much younger sidekick and superb bowman named Kate Bishop.
Fraction’s work on Hawkeye is his best storytelling to date. The dialogue is funny, clever in-jokes throughout, and conversations are jam-packed into each page. This is due in part to Aja’s ability to draw these unthinkably small, one-inch square panels whose simple lines allow the story to speed along while fitting within a lot of detail. The story is more personal than action-packed–something you need for the TV series format. Check out why the Hawkeye comics series made the borg “Best of 2012” list here and our “Best of the Decade” list here.
OK, you waited long enough. Enjoy this first trailer for the Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth-inspired Disney+ series Hawkeye:
Look for Hawkeye′s first episode to land on Disney+ November 24, 2021, giving time for half the series to arrive before year end. And don’t miss out on the books that inspired it all, Hawkeye, available in a full compendium in November that you can pre-order now here, available in digital omnibus format now here, AND the Mia Dearden Speedy stories that began in Green Arrow: Quiver and Green Arrow: Sounds of Violence, available here.
C.J. Bunce / Editor / borg