Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon (Vol. 1)
by Matt Fraction, Daivd Aja, Javier Pulido
Reader Appeal/Publisher Rating: T+ (ages 15 and older)
Genre: Superhero / Action
“Okay, this looks bad.”
Or at least that’s what Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, constantly thinks throughout the graphic novel, My Life As a Weapon. In this collection of several comic book issues, we get an inside view of what it’s like to be the man behind the purple spandex on an average day-to-day basis.
The events of this book are broken up into 5 “action” episodes detailing the lives of Clint Barton and his more-than-capable apprentice, Kate Bishop (plus a 6th “flashback” episode that shows how the two began).
As the collection starts, Clint is shown largely as a regular guy (albeit with serious archery skills) in his day-to-day life as he struggles to work out the problems of life in the big city. The second part take place a couple weeks later, and introduces us to Kate Bishop—and the fact that Hawkeye is working on some sort of larger case that seems to span the whole globe. Sadly, that is the last that this is seen throughout My Life As a Weapon, so whatever the big picture is, it isn’t revealed in this book. The third part is just creative action, as Kate and Clint are at it again, taking on attackers in a car chase, trying to rescue Clint’s romantic interest.
While the first 3 parts go together in what seems to be the span of a month or two, they do not all tell a continuous story as the fourth and fifth parts do. In this story arc, Clint has been caught on tape during a top secret mission for the Avengers. The tape is a security risk and will be auctioned to the highest bidder in the criminal underground to exploit the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the US government. But the Avengers send Clint and Kate to track down the tape and get it before the information is leaked. Can they do it in time?
Throughout all of the stories in this graphic novel, I was pleasantly entertained. I really enjoyed the writing and it was paced very well. There were constant bouts of action followed at just the right times with little interjections of emotion or brief parts of character development. What I didn’t particularly enjoy was the artwork. The first 3 parts were drawn by one artist and the second 2 parts by another. The change between the two artistic styles was really annoying to me because just as I had gotten used to how things “should” look, it switched. But even if the whole book were drawn by one or the other of the artists, the art still would’ve been my least favorite part. Neither artist succeeded in wowing me with how things looked. But all the images did convey the right emotions and actions going on, so while the art is only OK, when paired with the story, it makes up a solid whole.
This comic is rated T+, and does include some sexual references, the occasional swear word, and some stylized violence with a little bit of blood. If it were a movie I would rate it at PG-13, so parents may want to look it over and be the final judge before letting younger teens read it.
Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.