Out this week is the collected edition of Marieke Nijkamp and Enid Balám’s five-issue story Hawkeye: Kate Bishop. It’s a series that came out around when the MCU Hawkeye show was gaining buzz and follows Kelly Thompson’s excellent run. In this new series, Kate is moving from California back to New York but has a pitstop along the way that involves her older sister. Chaos and action ensue as the two unravel a plot to steal something near and dear to the Bishop family.
Balám’s style is immediately noticeable from the very first action scene and is a joy to read throughout. Opening on a small case Kate closes before heading to the airport, the action is clean and the characters are expressive and unique. The style is nothing like you see in superhero books and is all its own. Balám is also very good at doing cross-sectional buildings showing each room and various patrons inside.
Colors by Brittany Peer (with Cris Peter and Rachelle Rosenberg on separate issues) are great too. They’re bright and scream “comics!” at every turn. Hues of blue and green add a soothing element in certain scenes, too.
Kate Bishop’s voice is one of the most important aspects of the character, and Nijkamp nails it. Through texts and fun captions of Kate detailing her surroundings, you will never doubt this is the Kate Bishop we’ve been reading for years.
The general adventure here leaves you wanting, however, setting up a sibling rivalry early that gets clouded with mind control. It’s the kind of series that’s enjoyable as it goes along, but once you finish you’ll realize whole issues could have been skipped and nothing would have been lost.
It’s a zany sort of adventure with Kate taking a case early on to find a missing girl and climbing around on window sills to get some leads. This leads to the management finding out that Kate must not only protect herself but her sister too. All the while you’ll be wondering why any of this is going on until an opportune flashback reveals the McGuffin at work in the narrative. It’s an exceptional McGuffin of great power but serves little purpose. Nijkamp tries to tie this McGuffin to the Bishop’s problematic father, but it rings a bit hollow.
Other problems include the stakes never feeling all that high or how the story was pegged as Kate heading back to New York but actually never getting there. All told, it reads like an adventure that could have been a one-shot. By the time America and Cassie enter the narrative in the final issue, it’s too little too late.
Ultimately, Hawkeye: Kate Bishop is a good action-adventure that is light on purpose. It’s essentially a side adventure that could easily be skipped for casual fans. That said, if you like Kate Bishop, Nijkamp nails the voice of this character while Balám draws the heck out of her too.
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