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on 29 June 2013
Amazon Specific Information: This review was originally published on The Founding Fields under the username of Bane of Kings. I am simply uploading this review on Amazon under a relative's account as I lack access to my own.

"The best Marvel title currently on shelves at the moment - if you're a comic fan and you haven't read an issue of Hawkeye, you're doing it wrong." ~The Founding Fields

Writer: Matt Fraction | Art: David Aja | Cover: David Aja | Publisher: Marvel Comics | Collects: Hawkeye #1-5, Young Avengers Presents #6,

"The breakout star of this summer's blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton - aka the self-made hero Hawkeye - fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he's out to prove himself as one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence - before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won't believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe...and the darkest parts of Hawkeye's mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble...and stealing from the rich never looked so good."

For me, I was a bit skeptical about a good Hawkeye book, but it turns out - that all my fears were quelled. I owned the first two issues digitally and the first three in print, but that didn't stop me from buying the Trade Paperback when I saw it in Waterstones. It's pretty much everything you could want from a graphic novel, fun - doesn't end on a cliffhanger, worth your money and something that you'd want to come back to reading again and again. It's been so well received by critics in fact, the only person that I know who doesn't like it is fellow book reviewer, Shadowhawk. And whilst I'll admit the unusual art style had me off balance at first, I soon found myself to be really enjoying Matt Fraction's take on Hawkeye, made even more so interesting by the fact that I'd never picked up a Hawkeye comic before - only have ever seen him in Avengers, and the fact that I felt that he looked like a weaker version of Green Arrow never helped matters either.

However, My Life As A Weapon and the subsequent Hawkeye stories that I've read from #9 onwards have showed that not only how good Matt Fraction is, but also - he's challenging, and even beating, Jeff Lemire's incredible Green Arrow series for a high spot on my favourite comics list. It's just incredible. Whilst there may be no ongoing storyarc or mystery, with three one-shots and one two-part story, it allows for an interesting read that's not like your average superhero comic. In fact, whilst there are lot of similarities between Hawkeye & Green Arrow as characters, their books are almost nothing alike. Lemire opts for Dark Knight levels of grittiness, whilst Fraction's Hawkeye has several humorous moments, and the multiple usage of the word "bro", which shouldn't work as well as it did. Also, did I mention that Hawkeye also introduces one of the, if not the best character to come out of Marvel Now! (although technically this title was launched pre-Marvel now!) within the pages, the awesome Pizza Dog, who gets a full issue with the most recently released #11, which is well worth picking up if you've read this volume.

One of the best thing about Hawkeye is its small, returning cast. Books like Avengers and Wolverine and the X-Men have a lot of heroes (and in the latter's case, villains) to juggle through, but Hawkeye is merely limited to three main characters, the aforementioned Pizza Dog, Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, a former Young Avenger who I haven't encountered before in the comics. I understand that she's getting her own Annual in Hawkeye which is released next week, and I'll certainly be on board for that - as Kate is a very strong character in my book, and a great counterpart to Clint himself, who's structured in a very different way to what he is from Jeremy Renner's portrayal of him in Avengers. Whilst it's fair to say that we didn't get to see much of the real Hawkeye whilst he was possessed by Loki in that film, having read Hawkeye, it's safe to say that the character featured here is a heck of a lot better than anything that Renner could ever do, which is why in my opinion at least, I think Renner is probably the only weak spot in an otherwise incredible Avengers lineup. However, back to My Life As A Weapon.

If I ever get around to making a series of awards for the best Comic of 2013, I think Hawkeye or Scott Snyder's Batman will certainly claim it. (Even though this series, like Batman did start previously). I just love Matt Fraction's writing, and Aja's artwork is incredible. I mean, just look at that cover - it's simple, for sure, but it kicks ass. The artwork is one of the strongest things about this book, made even more awesome by the fact that I haven't encountered anything quite like this before. The story is funny, witty - very enjoyable to read, and with the fact that Volume 2 comes out soon, if you're one of the few people yet to read this series, I highly suggest that you jump on board, as it's the best to come out of Marvel Now! as it stands.

It's also a great introduction to the Marvel Universe, for it's a great place to start if you don't want to catch up on years of backstory - and has an added bonus of that it's sure to become an absolute classic. Top notch.


HAWKEYE TPBs: Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon (#1-5, Young Avengers Presents #6), Vol. 2: Little Hits (#6-11), Vol. 3: L.A. Woman (unknown)
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on 19 July 2013
Anyone who's read the previous collaboration between Matt Fraction and David Aja (Immortal Iron Fist (Volume 1): The Last Iron Fist Story) will pretty much know what to expect here. It could pretty much be a continuation of the same story, even down to the fact that Clint Barton looks very similar to Danny Rand and has the same "good-hearted sucker" character. The dialogue is funny, the stories are a bit silly, the art in David Aja's issues is, of course, wonderful.

However, it's very much worth noting that, despite this not being widely publicised in the promotional material, David Aja only draws three out of the five issues of Hawkeye collated in this book. Now, Aja is a comic-book genius and although he draws in a more simple style here than in Immortal Iron Fist, he's still capable of capturing an almost photorealistic image in very few lines as his grasp of anatomy and shading are so good. When he steps out for two issues, rather than getting someone with a similar style (Michael Lark, for example) to fill in, they got Javier Pulido who has an old-fashioned, Jack Kirby ish, way of drawing that is jarringly different, and inferior, to Aja. When that makes up two fifths of the issues so far, that's not a good average.

It's also worth mentioning Matt Hollingsworth on colours. He's probably the best colourist in comics today. Rather than going overboard on the digital colour gradients, he produces a watercolour-like, muted palette and uses a masterful eye for colour schemes. The saving grace of Javier Pulido's art in the later issues is that Hollingsworth colours them well, meaning the shift in artists isn't as jarring as it could have been.

As always with Matt Fraction's writing, the dialogue is sharp and people quip a lot and make fun of each other and there's some amusing observational humour (like the Russian mobster/landlord and his overuse of "Bro!"). The stories themselves are nothing special, but the fun is in the execution with unexpected shifts in the order of scenes keeping the reader on their toes and the aforementioned humour and (mostly) great artwork keeping you involved and liking the characters.

In the end this is well worth a read. Fraction writes good characters and good, snappy dialogue, while Aja is a superb artist. However, including the bonus issue of The Young Avengers which appears at the end, there is 50% of this collection which is not drawn by Aja. That loses a star for me.
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on 2 June 2013
This comic is great. The art is done in a fairly classic cel-shaded style, very much going back to Marvel's roots. The story is fast paced and lively, with a good sense of humour, not taking action too seriously. You also don't need to know anything about Marvel history to enjoy this. The three or four stories in this are self contained, which is also very much like the classic comics.

A modern take on the classic style. Recommended for anybody, Marvel fan or not
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The stories from issues #1-5 of Hawkeye's 2012 series are collected, along with Young Avengers Presents #6, as Hawkeye - Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon. Here we see what Hawkeye does on his days off from being an Avenger (thanks, no doubt, to his prominent role in the Avengers Assemble film). They start off small, with him not even appearing in his (old?) Avengers' costume (thanks, no doubt, to his prominent role in the Avengers Assemble film), dealing with his landlord's attempts to clear his building to sell it for a profit to developers (Clint likes the rooftop barbecues); adopting a dog; teaming up with Kate Bishop (Young Avengers' Hawkeye) to rob the Circus of Crime of the loot from their robbing the world's top criminals (that apartment building didn't buy itself); rescuing a mystery woman being hunted by assassins driving Minis and dressed for The (original) Italian Job, which features an almost book length car chase with running jokes about trick arrows (don't knock boomerang-arrows); and a two-parter in which a tape showing Hawkeye killing the world's most wanted terrorist is stolen from SHIELD and is to be auctioned off in Madripoor to a roomful of criminals and secret organisations, which requires Clint Barton to go and buy it back. This is an old-school SHIELD story that Steranko would be proud of, not to mention Robin Hood, Ian Fleming and Stan Lee.

This is a hilarious comic (with serous bits) which is excellently written with suitably supportive artwork.

The Young Avengers Presents story is the one in which Young Hawkeye earns her bow in a story guest-starring Older Hawkeye during his Ronin period.
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on 28 March 2013
A great comic book. Well written and with a distinctive but clear art style.

The book reprints issues 1-5 of the recent Hawkeye series, and rather than telling of his adventures with the avengers this is a down to earth street level book. There is little need to know anything about his previous life but there are points where it will add further flavours to the book.

Hawkeye now living our of an apartment in New York, deals with both super villains, Shield, an important video tape, and more importantly an injured dog.

A similar feeling to the Iron fist series from a few years ago.

This is a must add to your comic collection.
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VINE VOICEon 10 April 2013
in fact most of the time you can forget about Hawkeye's "superhero" tag, with only very brief appearances by other "Supers". this is a fun, funny and exciting collection. I love Matt Fraction's witty, sharp writing style and David Aja's quirky artwork,which perfectly matches the dialogue and situations.
Oh and it's great to see the Ringmaster featured again at one point.

A graphic novel for everyone and you don't need much, or even any, prior knoweldge of the Marvel Universe to enjoy it either.
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on 26 March 2015
After reading the incredibly positive feedback surrounding this comic, I ended up disappointed by the time I had finished the last issue. I cannot honestly remember anything particularly memorable from the trade paperback other than the third issue titled - The Chase. I thought seeing Hawkeye use most of his trick arrows during a hectic chase quite amusing and for me it was the first volume's saving grace. I did, however, appreciate the excellent dynamic and witty dialogue between Clint and Kate Bishop as well as David Aja's phenomenal art but unfortunately he only features on the first three issues. For the remaining two he is replaced by Javier Pulido and the drop in quality at least to me in the visual style of the book was quite noticeable.

I can understand why it's liked by other readers but within the last month I can think of a few trade paperback's I've enjoyed and stood out to me more (including Marvel's own Ms Marvel).
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on 30 October 2014
The two separate storylines in this volume are basic and easy to follow. This doesn't mean, however, that the story isn't interesting. Far from it. The stories are self contained and are resolved by the end of the volume, so you won't feel pressured into buying the next one just to finish what you started (although I strongly recommend you do buy volume 2).

No knowledge of other Marvel storylines is needed to enjoy this one and it's refreshing to see that a comic can work so well using simple plot devices and character driven dialogue, without having to stir up some massive world threatening danger to make things overly dynamic.

This is one of my favourite comics and it made Hawkeye a cool and more relevant character in my eyes. There's a perfect blend of witty humour and 1970's cop show action in this book.

I rarely give five stars. If you haven't read this, you need to.
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I've never read Hawkeye before but decided to give this a go having seen a lot of positive reviews and comments about this run from Matt Fraction. I've always had a soft spot for the Green Arrow but never really read the Marvel alternative so this seemed a great jumping on point.

What hits me is that this feels quite a bit like the brilliant Grell run on Green Arrow, tough a lot less serious with plenty of humour thrown in; All the super hero stuff and Avengers links are pretty much stripped away and we're left seeing how this highly trained normal man exists and copes working closer to street level. It's good stuff, gritty and pretty gripping.

Overall I wouldn't say I love it but I'm definitely interested in the character now and will be reading more of Fractions Hawkeye series.
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on 3 June 2014
All in all, it must be a good time to be an archer in the world of comics as of now. With DC’s own Green Arrow getting some love because of the ‘Arrow’ hit TV show, as well as the great reboot by Jeff Lemire; it is a pleasure to see a parallel process happen with Marvel’s own Hawkeye – Clint Barton – thanks to the 2012 Avengers film. Particularly because of not having had too much luck with his previous solo runs. So, as a long term fan of the character, though I haven’t been precisely the best person in keeping up to date with his storylines in recent years, it was wonderful to receive this particular comic on mail. I can still remember the moment when I first discovered and fell in love (so to speak) with Hawkeye as a kid, and I can say that this comic did not let me down in the least; and it is good to see him get some well-deserved recognition.

Hawkeye: My life as a weapon (Vol 1), collects issues #1-5 and Young Avengers Presents #6. It simply is about Clint Barton, member of the Avengers, and his adventures during his off-hours from said team (or “normal life”). It is that simple, no crazy end of the world plots or strange team crossovers, and it doesn’t disappoint in the least.

Though perhaps it is more of a ‘buddy’ volume rather than a ‘solo’ one due to the significant presence of Kate Bishop, she doesn’t disappoint either, and her addition just makes the comic all the better. I always have my share of cynicism for these type of team ups in solo comics and have criticised my share of titles for failing to make these works, but I can say that in this particular title it works wonderfully. There is so much chemistry between Kate and Clint and for her own character, that the addition of her to the comic is not strange at all. She complements Clint’s weaknesses perfectly; while Clint himself is slightly lazy and aloof, she is more cautious and ready. This goes on for the whole volume, being perhaps at its heart, and the way it is written is truly wonderful.

The narrative is anachronic, and jumps from present to past in order to tell the story in ways which make you constantly guess at what will happen next. The narration itself is heavily sarcastic, something I immediately appreciated, and relies on original ways of spelling sound effects, foreign languages, and others. These are just a few examples, but so hard to see nowadays that it is particularly beautiful to see them here. The stories are fast and funny, and Clint and Kate are incredibly engaging characters. Their banter alone is a worthy read within the comic. The stories then take a more serious turn later, but this is never truly lost.

The art in the volume is amazing, beautiful no matter how one looks at it. I love Aja’s and Pulido’s art, in a way it coming similar to Mark Waid’s Daredevil, and though a bit cartoonier here and there it matches the tone of the book well. It is unconventional in that the panels art is tiny and make the work akin to storyboards than typical box panels in most comics today, but I have nothing negative to say about it. Alan Davis does the Young Avenger Presents #6 art, and though it is solid, the difference is noticeable compared to the Hawkeye issues.

I don’t have any real complaints about the book at all, and the unconventionality of it is a truly welcome thing. It, rather than making it crash, just makes it all the better. I would truly put this at the same level that some of the other best Marvel NOW! Initiative comics. It is cut off from the rest of the Marvel Universe comics, and though lacks seemingly a purpose, I can hardly see this as a bad thing. If you can handle a book with this particular type of dependency and relation to the rest of the universe, I think you’ll like it.

What would I conclude about this book then? I think it’s the independent feeling it has that makes it so great, as even with some connections here and there they don’t take away from it for new readers of the Marvel Universe or Clint. I truly would recommend this book for anyone, whether a long term fan or someone who just started liking Clint’s character. It is worthy to pick up and see if only to check if all the fuss about it makes it worthy to read. In my opinion, awesometacular. I am more than happy than to have purchased this book.
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