You don’t want to be the one who replaces the legend, you want to be the one who comes after that.
I realize now that I wasted $4 on Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez’ take on Hawkeye. Not because the book is bad or because Lemire and Perez aren’t talented, but because I’m just not ready for Clint and Kate to have an all-new adventure. Especially since Matt Fraction and David Aja haven’t yet concluded the old one.
What I’m saying is, I wish that Marvel had waited until the body was cold, but I do understand why they did not.
Lemire is, much like Fraction, a gifted and independent-minded storyteller with a long track record of brilliance in and out of the comic hero realm. He also brings his own fan base along with him.
Though Perez lacks the next-level design prowess of David Aja, the mix of watercolor-laden flashbacks and his flat color/basic line take on the present day (with Ian Herring‘s help on colors) works nicely. As does Lemire’s lightly humorous banter between Clint and Kate as they do a bit of field work and take on Hydra for Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D. In addition to that, there’s also weight given to the back story with young Barney and Clint that is unmistakably Lemire in tone. But while these are strong building blocks, something is off. The look of the characters and their humor feels similar to what we were getting before, but not quite. I don’t want to say off-brand, but a bit more distance would have made that feel like a less appropriate term.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have the “mission” that Clint and Kate are on. I don’t care about Clint Barton’s costume-clad heroing. Not even a little. I want to see the apartment building and Clint’s dysfunctional life. The shelves are full of heroes who crack wise while jumping through the air to slay bad guys and save innocent people. Fraction and Aja’s book stood out not just because of the quality that was on the page (and the cover), but because of its independent spirit. The book didn’t look or read like any other Marvel tale. Take “Pizza Dog” and the Hurricane Sandy arc as evidence of that. Lemire’s version feels more like a Daredevil clone — a title that is unique and enjoyable, but not an entirely separate entity.
In conclusion, All-New Hawkeye is both too much and not enough like Hawkeye and I am not ready to love another Clint Barton tale. If you love Fraction and Aja’s book with all of your heart like I do, then you might benefit from buying Lemire and Perez’ book and putting it someplace safe for a couple of months before reading it. Objectively speaking, it’s not a bad comic book. Just one with awful timing,