Graphic Novel Review: Hawkeye, Volume 1: My Life as a Weapon

By Matt Fraction, Artists David Aja, Javier Pulido
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Genre: SFF – Superheroes
Goodreads

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Related Reviews

Other Marvel Reviews: The Ultimates, Volume 1 / Volume 2 / Secret Invasion / Deadpool: Dracula’s Gauntlet

Review

There’s just something wonderfully delightfully about Hawkeye, but especially once you go outside the MCU. Reading My Life as a Weapon really shows how much more there is to the character than the Clint Barton we see on screen. With this volume, we also get a fair bit of Kate Bishop, mainly working with Clint through the Hawkeye 1-5, but also how she and Clint met with Young Avengers Presents 6 included at the end.

Of course I am a MCU fan, and I’ve loved Marvel since I can remember, starting with the cartoons, but I’ve been picking up the graphic novels here and there for years, and so far the majority have been absolutely solid. If you’ve seen the Hawkeye TV series, it’s definitely worth checking this out and seeing where a large part of the inspiration came from, though this version of Hawkeye isn’t the family man struggling to get home we know from screen.

Early on we see that this is, however, a man adrift, trying to do right for his community and people when they are threatened by increasing rents (and gentrification) from the Tracksuit Mafia. On the face of it, if you know little about Hawkeye it feels like he might be one of the least interesting characters in Marvel. I promise you, he really isn’t. Clint is more than his bow and arrow, and that comes through really clearly here, as him and Kate team up and get involved in all sorts of adventures.

Things I loved in My Life as a Weapon:

  • Hawkeye has a sex life. He’s not sleazy, but it makes him feel that little bit more human than we usually see with MCU characters, where relationships and dating take a backseat to, you know, world-ending events. At least in the graphic novels we see the heroes dating one another and actually having some kind of life away from the “super” stuff.
  • He loves cars. Like, truly. This guy knows his cars and it’s a really nice bit of character building.
  • His and Kate’s relationship. There’s definitely a mentor/mentee feel to it, they rely on each other, and it’s nice to see it at a more established point. There is the sense that Kate has feelings for him, but not (here, anyway) that it’s reciprocated.
  • We get hints of Hawkeye’s circus background here, slipped in when he comes across someone trained by the same person who trained him. I knew some of this background mainly from catching parts of one of the Spiderman cartoons the bf watches, and it’s nice to see the reference here.
  • Like most Marvel graphic novels, things are less sanitized here than in the MCU.
  • The artwork. OMG the artwork! I was kind of initially hesitant about it but it only took a few short pages to really win me over.

Overall this is a really fun, enjoyable graphic novel with unique artwork and some great storylines, with a fairly underrated character. It works completely on its own, and isn’t hard to pick up on references to wider events outside the run. Whether you’re a new fan to the comics or not, this is a really great one to read.

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