Back in issue eleven of ‘Hawkeye’, Kate decided to up and leave Clint Barton behind in New York as she and Lucky (aka Pizza Dog) headed out west to California. In her absence, Clint was reunited with his older brother Barney, who also goes by the name of Trick Shot. But with the family reunion and Barney’s backstory taking up the entire twelfth issue, we never really got an answer to why Kate left. Now, in the first annual of the series, we learn what exactly drove Miss Bishop over to the west coast.
‘Hawkeye Annual’ #1 shows us Lady Hawkguy’s first adventure in Los Angeles, where she meets up with former foe Madam Masque from issues four and five. She’s still a little sore about the whole stealing her identity thing, so she’s concocted a plan to get revenge on the Young Avenger by cutting Kate off from everything she’s ever been used to.
Firstly, Javier Pulido returns to the title after a short absence. He brings that pop art style back with him, but this time I feel a little indie comic flare, especially when it comes to the word blocks with Kate’s face in them. It’s a cute, cartoony touch among the cool panels. And before I move on from the art, I have to say that I love the 80s look that Kate is rocking in this issue. Who knew that anyone but Devo could make those hats look cool?
Next, Fraction delivers a cool Kate story here. There are a lot of similarities between her and Clint in terms of luck and stubbornness and ingenuity, but especially when she sports a bandage on her nose after getting into a fight that she probably can’t win. These Hawkeyes are tough cookies, so they can handle it, but it is fun to see that they get into similar trouble when left alone in their own adventures. Although, this time Kate doesn’t have backup to save her.
From what I understand, this series will now alternate between Clint and Kate stories, each with their own artist. I’m completely for this idea, especially now that it’s been established that Kate can function well as a solo hero. Up until this point, we’ve only seen her with Hawkeye or with the Young Avengers (unless I missed something), so this annual really proved that she can hold her own with nothing but the clothes on her back and Lucky by her side. This was a very important issue in the growth of Kate Bishop and it was immensely entertaining.
HAWKEYE ANNUAL # 1
Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Javier Pulido & Matt Hollingsworth