We Are Hawkeye

hawkeye-03-fraction-ajaRecently I completed a reread of Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja (along with Javier Pulido, Francesco Francavilla, and Annie Wu). A large group of comic readers, including myself, has fallen in love with this series. While I read all thirteen issues and the annual, I think I may have realized why it’s such a popular series: We are Hawkeye.

I’ve seen a lot of people say that Hawkeye feels like an indie comic. I can see where they’re coming from with that, but I disagree. It’s a Big Two Superhero book where the characters are written like actual people instead of superheroes. Say what you will about relatable characters with relatable problems, but the problem with most series like that (the prime example being Peter Parker) is that they don’t sound like real people. Fraction writes Clint Barton to sound like a person that you could meet on the street. That actually goes for both of the Hawkeye’s. Kate Bishop has risen from a character I’ve never heard of to being one of my favorites in comics because she feels real.

Beyond sounding like real people Clint and Kate play two roles that I feel we have all played in our lives. We’re either the car crash or we’re the person watching the car crash.

Clint Barton is the most everyman superhero in comics right now. I mentioned Peter Parker earlier, who I believe used to hold this crown, but Superior Spider-Man has done away with that. Clint has his Avengers adventures, but we don’t see those in this series. This is just Hawkeye doing Hawkeye things and a lot of that is Clint screwing his life up. Clint is the type of person, like myself, who will take on more responsibility than he can handle in an attempt to make other people happy. While I might not deal with the problems that come with buying the building I live in and the Russian mob problems that come with it, I can relate to the motivations that lead to those problems. Clint has to deal with people calling him Hawkguy. My last name is Harrass, so mispronunciations are a regular thing that I deal with. Clint doesn’t always do the right thing, he jumps into things halfcocked, he misspeaks at the worst time, he kisses the wrong girl, his sleep schedule is horrible, and all he wants to do is watch Dog Cops. It’s these human moments that make Clint feel real.

And if you can’t relate to Clint, you can probably relate to Kate. As I said earlier, if you aren’t the car crash, you’re the person watching the car crash. We’ve all had the person in our life that slowly self-destructs and keeps making poor decision after poor decision. That’s who Kate is to Clint. She’s stood by and tried to help him the best that she could, but no matter what Clint continues to screw things up. If you’re up to date on the series, you know that Kate has finally had enough. She left. She could take watching Clint destroy himself anymore and she had to strike out on her own. It wasn’t an easy decision, but she had to do it for her own sanity.

Both Hawkeye’s aren’t the superhero that we want to be, they’re the superhero that we already are. We are Hawkeye. For as flawed as Clint is, he’s trying his best to make it through the day. Clint surrounds himself with the best possible people that make him want to be better. Both Hawkeye’s screw up because they’re people. We all screw up, it’s just human nature. Clint and Kate are both human to a fault, but they can’t help it. None of us can.

 

Or maybe I just like Hawkeye because it finally convinced me to get that pair of custom made, purple Chucks. That could be it too.

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Who ARE these people!?

Kelly Harrass is a comic shop worker and writer from Milwaukee, WI. You may know him as one of the regular hosts of the PoP!-Cast and the co-host of PCW. Find him on Twitter @comicgeekelly and email him at kharrass@panelsonpages.com

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