It’s been a while since Kate Bishop has starred in her own solo series, and Hawkeye: Kate Bishop‘s new creative team wastes no time in reminding fans of Kelly Thompson’s Hawkeye and West Coast Avengers (both of which I’ve reviewed in the past for AIPT) just why those books were so damn fun. We join Kate in the middle of an action sequence, which is excellently choreographed and illustrated by Enid Balam. It’s super easy to follow, but it also shows off just how creative Kate can be in the middle of a tussle. She’s firing off arrows and disarming guys, she’s using their momentum against them and straight-up clobbering them, and she’s doing all of this with the requisite amount of sass we’ve come to expect from the self-professed best Hawkeye ever.
Every scene is filled with fun visual gags, but the highlight for me would have to be Kate’s realization that her phone is becoming a distraction, and so she switches it over to “Superhero Mode” to keep it silent. Little touches like this go a long way toward establishing the playful tone that this miniseries will have. Add in some slapstick and a few other neat nods to previous storylines, and you have a book that I will be re-reading just to find all the little secrets it has tucked away. Brittany Peer’s colors pop right off the page, which is a must when you’re dealing with a purple-clad superhero and a sinister circus. Yes, this issue gets to some strange places right away, and it looks fantastic doing it.
Writer Marieke Nijkamp — who also wrote the excellent graphic novel The Oracle Code for DC Comics — catches readers up on Kate’s status quo in a quirky and exciting way, with the archer talking out her issues out loud as she fends off a group of thugs. Kate has always approached crimefighting as being a bit therapeutic, and this intro takes this to the next level. There are a few bits that feel like information overload — particularly when it comes to a couple of pages that feature spoken dialogue, narration boxes, and editor’s note captions all at once — but it’s still pretty digestible and fun.
In many ways, Hawkeye: Kate Bishop treads a fine line of being a new jumping-on point for the character and being deeply indebted to the character’s history. There are some lovely moments featuring Kate’s old supporting cast that I very much appreciated, but those are done in ways that don’t distract much from the new mission or the pacing of the story.
There are a few elements of Kate’s new case that are bit confusing, but that’s detective work for you! It’s likely that these bits will be filled in as Kate gets deeper into the case, and I’m already hooked. I’m just so happy see my favorite Hawkeye back in action and in the hands of a very talented team.
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