Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is by no means a new character, he was first introduced as a reluctant villain in ‘Tales of Suspense’ #57 in September of 1964. In his next two appearances he was again a villain in ‘Tales of Suspense’ #60 and #64 in December 1964 and April 1965 respectively. Hawkeye wasn’t considered a hero until he joined the ranks of the Avengers in Avengers Vol.1 #16 which came out in May 1965. As a perennial member of the Marvel Super Team he has made numerous appearances in all four volumes (Vol.1 (1963–1996), Vol.2 (1997), Vol.3 (1999–2004), Vol.4 (2010–present) including specials and annuals), he also appeared in The Ultimates. Hawkeye was also part of the Avengers in Marvel’s epic maxi-series Secret Wars #1-12 (1984–1985).

Most recently Hawkeye was seen as the bow and arrow armed S.H.I.E.L.D. sharpshooter Clint Barton in this summer’s Marvel blockbuster film Thor played by Jeremy Renner (‘The Town’ and ‘The Hurt Locker’). You might remember him urging Agent Coulson to make a decision on him taking the shot because after watching Thor in mortal form take apart the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents he was becoming a fan.

Ultimate Hawkeye #1 is penned by Marvel all-star writer Jonathan Hickman and penciled by rising star Rafa Sandoval. Hickman is one of the must followed writers over at The House of Ideas, just look at his amazing run on ‘The Fantastic Four’ and the ‘FF’. Sandoval’s talents can be seen in the ‘Incredible Hercules’ and ‘Avengers: The Initiative’.

‘Ultimate Hawkeye’ #1 features the character’s climactic return to the Ultimate Comics Universe and is the beginning of an all new pulse-pounding series.  The issue starts off with Barton and a team of elite soldiers heading to the Southeast Asian Republic (or SEAR) to help stabilize the Capital as rebels are causing a bit of a ruckus.

What is really happening is much more devious, as the SEAR government is attempting to wipe out mutants on a global scale. Can Barton, S.H.I.E.L.D. figure out how the SEAR government plans to eliminate Mutantkind from the planet forever before it is too late? They are already starting a day late for a race they didn’t even know they were in. Make sure to check back next month for ‘Ultimate Hawkeye’ #2 to find out how the hunt for the mutant-ending serum continues.

There is your recap, now for some review. So, when I finished reading this book, I had to go back and see if there were pages missing. Not because the story didn’t make sense, but because it felt so darn short when reading and the book felt so darn long because of a preview of ‘The New Avengers Fear Itself’ #16. Now this story wasn’t disjointed or unfollowable or even boring. It was just a very fast read that sets up the story for what Clint Barton will be doing for the foreseeable future; trying to save the mutants from yet another extinction threat.

This first issue had plenty of action, as Hawkeye had to fight off a trio of mysterious attackers when the S.H.I.E.L.D. Ops center in Bangkok came under attack. It was light on character development, but it is a first issue so that is forgivable. What this book does really well is set up questions and some drama leading into an all new issue next month. So, Hickman was up to snuff with the scripting.

Now for the art, Sandoval does a decent job. In this issue there are times when things look “flat”, but it is not so noticeable to be completely distracting. What I like, is the difference in Sandoval’s Hawkeye vs. the Kaare Andrews’ (a personal favorite) cover Hawkeye. On the cover, Hawkeye looks like Christen from the WWE, just with sunglasses and a bow; in the book Sandoval’s Hawkeye is much more rugged and seems to look more “battle tested”. I do like his very simple uniform and don’t miss the purple.

Is this a book worth your 4 bucks? Yes. But there are questions, and the questions need to be answered in a decidedly un-LOST fashion so ‘Ultimate Hawkeye’ can keep being worth your 4 bucks. If the story begins to drag or go off on tangents I can see it easily falling off the rails, but I have faith Jonathan Hickman will keep this story interesting and fun.

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Penciller: Rafa Sandoval
Penciller (cover): Kaare Andrews
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: VC – Clayton Cowles
Editor: Axel Alonso, Mark Paniccia
Orig. Published: Aug 31, 2011
Part of: Ultimate Comics Hawkeye (0000 – Present)
Characters in this Issue:
Nick Fury, Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Hawkeye (Ultimate)