After what seems like an eternity, Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth are finally back with another installment of their award-winning comic ‘Hawkeye’. When we last left Clint Barton, he and his brother Barney have a run in with more track-suited villains and a clown-faced assassin looking to eliminate the Avenging Archer. Unfortunately, one of the tenants in Clint’s building became a casualty of this war. While dealing with this loss, Hawkguy and his Dark Avenger sibling bring the fight to these bros, but the aftermath sees Barney shot and Clint deaf. Now, both sides are rallying their troops for battle, despite our hero being a bit down on himself.
While the premise of this issue is interesting, the most intriguing part of ‘Hawkeye’ #19 is the use of American Sign Language. Through a flashback, we learned that Clint Barton had been rendered deaf as a child. When he finds himself in that position again, his brother attempts to use signs to communicate with him even though Clint isn’t in a very talkative mood. That’s when Fraction and Aja creatively insert panels featuring the signs that Barney uses. Of course, the average reader probably doesn’t know sign language, but based on context and the emotions on the characters’ faces, you kind of get what’s going on. For example, it’s easy to tell that Barney is telling Clint that he needs to change his shirt because he’s starting to smell. Even the empty word bubbles help out as well.
But going even further than that, this was totally a genius idea. I don’t think anyone has ever done something like this before. If it’s been done, I certainly haven’t heard of it, but now that I’ve seen it here, it’s a total no-brainer. Comics are a visual medium that can harness the medium like educational pamphlets. So for the creative team to utilize it in this way that adds more gravity to this situation, it just goes to show why everyone involved in this series deserves that awards that it has received since this idea is so out of the box AND it works.
One thing that doesn’t work is how infrequently we’re getting these issues. I’m not fully up to date on the news surrounding ‘Hawkeye’ and its production schedule, but it is a bit jarring when an issue comes out and you can’t recall things happening even after reading the recap page. I’m not a fan of picking up a new issue so far after the last one that I forget what happens. Luckily, ‘Hawkeye’ is consistently amazing, so having to go into the short box to dig up the past few issues as a refresher is always forgiven.
Overall, this series continues its streak of amazing issues. As always, the art is solid, the colors are fantastic, and the writing is like nothing I’ve read before. It’s too bad that this series is coming to an end some time sooner rather than later, but at least it has been one hell of a ride.
Written by Matt Fraction & David Aja
Art by David Aja & Matt Hollingsworth