In the last issue of Hawkeye, everyone’s favorite bow-wielding private eye had just wrapped her first case of the series. When we left Kate Bishop, she was finally ready to start searching for her father—which was what brought her to L.A in the first place—when lo and behold, Jessica Jones has arrived on the scene!
If you are reading the current Jessica Jones by Brian Michael Bendis, you know that Jessica isn’t in a great place right now. While there’s no indication when that story takes place in relation to this one, it was still interesting to read this PI team up right after finishing another bittersweet issue of Jessica Jones.
Kelly Thompson opens the story at its end, with Jessica seemingly drowned in a pool. Now, since this is Hawkeye, you know there’s going to be a comedic twist on this familiar trope. And we can be fairly certain that Jessica isn’t dead. Thompson then takes us back nine hours to Kate and Jessica interrogating a suspect on the disappearance of a young woman Jess has been sent to find. It is a two page, rapid-fire back and forth meant to show us the difference in experience levels between our two super heroic investigators.
“Know your audience,” Jessica warns our suspect, Brad. Thompson certainly knows hers. Kate has been a popular character since her time in the Young Avengers, and it’s not hard to understand why now that she has her moment to shine. While it’s a blast to watch Kate fangirl over the chance to work with Jessica Jones (who wouldn’t) it is important to note that she holds her own throughout the issue. Kate’s observational skills are key to cracking the case. I also appreciate that the presence of a darker hero like Jessica did not dampen Kate’s humor and shine. In the continued aftermath of the Civil War II event, Hawkeye still maintains the light and optimism of a fresh, young superhero.
That is especially true in the art as well. Leonardo Romero never bogs the reader down with too much detail—which is an appropriate look, and one highly reminiscent of David Aja’s work on previous volumes of Hawkeye. When your hero is one as observant as Kate, you don’t want your readers to get lost. It also allows Romero to use exaggerated facial expressions and interject fun background moments without any of it looking unpolished or out of place. Alongside Romero’s lines, Jordie Bellaire’s bright color palette makes all the important moments pop. His continued use of purple and green help Kate stand out in every panel, even when she’s discretely snapping pics in the background.
In terms of paneling, most of the issue is standard rectangles with not a lot of playing around. It works to keep the exposition easy to follow as Kate and Jess track Brad through the city. Once the action begins to ramp up in the second half, however, the pages start to become much more visually interesting. I won’t spoil the climax (or how Jess ended up in that pool) but it’s more than a little unexpected.
Hawkeye may not connect with what is going on in the greater Marvel Universe right now, and that’s perfectly fine with me. It allows Thompson, Romero and Bellaire to deliver a fun book that has yet to be bogged down by any civil wars or alien invasions. I am looking forward to see where the Hawkeye team takes Kate and Jessica next month.
*Images taken from Marvel’s Hawkeye #5