Hawkeye Top Ten Graphic Novels
'If I miss, it means I'm just another dude with a bow.. And that's why I never miss..'
Hawkeye or Green Arrow, who is the best? my 10 year old mind worked itself up into a frenzy over that one! I ended up deciding...a draw. Hawkeye had the cooler costume and I liked his fly-off-the-handle-at-anything attitude, whereas Green Arrow had the history, and was in the JLA. I always had a soft spot for Hawkeye, he was always one of my favorite 'second-banana' characters, and those trick arrows of his were just cool. In a team of gods, tech geniuses, and super soldiers, Hawkeye still managed to shine.As a secondary character, he has accomplished a lot since he first appeared in Tales Of Suspense #57, created by Stan Lee and Don Heck. He has been a villain, a reluctant Avenger, a proud Avenger, changed identity several times,a founder (and leader) of the West Coast Avengers, leader of the Thunderbolts,leader of the Great Lakes Avengers (God forbid!), a solo hero, even dead (twice)!
I have taken a slightly different approach with this 'Avengers' themed lens (my others are on The Avengers, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America) as Hawkeye has not had enough adventures of his own published, so I have chosen collections where he is prominently featured, where you get a lot of Hawkeye for your money. Top Ten Hawkeye coming up, arrows away!!
. Images are used under Fair Use (Comic Single Panels)
10. Hawkeye & Mockingbird: Ghosts
Writer: Jim McCann Artist: David Lopez
This collects together the first 6 issue arc from the (sadly too soon cancelled) Hawkeye and Mockingbird series , plus an 8 page short from Enter the Heroic Age. The collection is very good value, as Marvel also throw in an introduction by Jim McCann, a nice sketchbook, the obligatory variant covers, and a quick recount of the pair's history
The reviews were a little mixed on this book, but I liked it.
Jim McCann has done a lot to rehabilitate modern Hawkeye, and I enjoyed this a lot. He sees Hawkeye and Mockingbird as the Mr and Mrs Smith of the Marvel Universe (or, as they have been around as a couple since the 80s, Jonathan & Jennifer Hart!), and has fun with that. Obviously conscious of trying to make a splash with the title, this is packed with a bit of everything - old fashioned cliffhangers, good use of veteran characters (Dominic Fortune), and of classic villains (Night Rider, Crossfire), and a revelation or two. McCann does a good job of playing up the pair's differences (SHIELD-trained Mockingbird will stop at nothing, Hawkeye a bit more of the traditional hero)
I'll be upfront though. I thought the art could be better, and although I like what McCann is trying to do, I kind of miss the 'old' wise-cracking Hawkeye.. All that aside, it's a solid read, makes Hawkeye an interesting character again,and is a good value collection.
Aim Here.... - ...for the best prices!
Classic Hawkeye Covers: Avengers 189 - Artist: John Byrne
9. Avengers:Hawkeye Solo
Writer: Jen Van Meter Artist: Roger Robinson
This was an unexpectedly good collection, collecting together the Avengers Solo 5 issue min, plus an Avengers Academy backup.
Hawkeye gets tangled up in a conspiracy after saving a man's life one night only to find him dead shortly afterwards.The man had been searching for his sister who disappeared after taking part in a medical study endorsed , supposedly, by Captain America himself. This is a clever plot hook, because when Hawkeye finds other study subjects, now on the run from the medical company , they agree to his help as long as its just him, as they distrust Captain America and the other Avengers. So no back-up.
The story has been called 'tech-noir', which I like, as its as much about Hawkeye's detective skills as his fighting ones.The reader is rewarded with plenty of twists and turns along the way, and the moody art is perfect for the story. Van Meter's writing combines the best of all Hawkeye's - we get brash, cocky, impulsive, but we also get an intelligent, logical, planner. We get nice cameos at the end from Iron Man and Cap too.
The Avengers Academy backup is nicely done, written excellently as always by Jim McCann, and features Hank Pym, and Tigra taking 2 students to the Academy and being attacked on the way. Not essential, but well done and a nice bonus.
Avengers Solo: Hawkeye Art
Classic Hawkeye Covers: Avengers 223 - Artist: Ed Hannigan
8. New Avengers: The Reunion
Writer: Jim McCann Artist: David Lopez
This volume collects New Avengers: The Reunion issues 1-4 and material from Dark Reign: New Nation.
This was the mini-series where Jim McCann 'rebooted' the Hawkeye/ Mockingbird team/ relationship, and given the convoluted history of the pair, he does a very good job. At mini-series start, the thought-dead Hawkeye is currently Ronin, Mockingbird, long thought dead, has just returned from being held prisoner on the Skrull homeworld, having been replaced by a fake Mockingbird who was the one that actually died... Lets just say there's a lot of baggage!
Although there is a lot of action, at heart this is a character piece, looking at the relationship of the two, and McCann writes some sparkling dialogue. Again, the art is that manga/ western hybrid that is ok, but not my favorite style out there.
There is some sadness here - Mockingbird is not too pleased at the state of the world she has returned to, and Hawkeye realises he had been living a lie loving a skrull imposter,then mourning its death, but by books end there has been a cautious reconciliation, and the team of Hawkeye/ Mockingbird is back in action. A definite must for Hawkeye fans.
to see some pages from the mini, click here
7.Thunderbolts Classic - Vol. 3
Writer: Kurt Busiek Artist: Mark Bagley, George Perez
This collects together Thunderbolts issues 15-22, 0; Captain America & Citizen V Annual 1998; Avengers vol 2, issue 12 , but Its only Thunderbolts issue 20 onwards that include Hawkeye as leader, and they are the ones I am recommending. As his taking over of the team begins in this collection, this is the one I'll spotlight, but Volumes 4 onwards will contain a lot more Hawkeye, when published. (he led the team issues 21-75, seek them out if you can, especially the Busiek written issues)
I liked this series because it was well written early on by Busiek, and it was a genuine surprise when Hawkeye took over as leader, and it made perfect sense; Hawkeye himself is a rehabilitated villain, so leading a group of reformed villains was a no-brainer. What he doesn't tell them , is that the government have told him they will regard him as a criminal if he joins the group, so he did anyway!
I liked the fact that we have an Avengers:Under Siege epilogue of sorts in this first arc (check out that graphic novel on my Avengers lens), where Hercules comes after the Thunderbolts (some of the former Masters of Evil, who left him in a coma) and its Hawkeye that has to take him on. Its a good spotlight for Hawkeye, and shows us his loyalties are most definitely with his new team
Seek out the individual issues if possible, as many are not yet collected, but look for Thunderbolts Classic Volumes 3 and 4 when published.
Hawkeye in Thunderbolts action..
Classic Hawkeye Cover: West Coast Avengers 14 - Artist: Al Milgrom
6. Hawkeye: Blindspot
Writer: Jim McCann Artist: Paco Diaz Luque
Collects together Hawkeye: Blindspot 4 issue mini-series, and Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman One-Shot
This is a great book for fans of Hawkeye, or people wanting to become fans, as we get a retrospective of his life...but not for good reasons.
Hawkeye is going blind, none too good a thing for an archer. We see flashbacks of his past career, a nice trip down memory lane, before an enemy from his past decided now is the time to strike. A mentor dies, a brother returns, a powerful enemy wants him dead. Its great fun, well written (again!) by McCann, and nicely drawn. How can a blind Hawkeye come out on top....wait and (groan )see!
The One-Shot is a classic tale from the mid-90's, as Hawkeye faces off against Batroc, Oddball and Taskmaster. Nothing groundbreaking, but a nice extra. Recommended collection for new and old alike.
Target,aim... - ....Spend!
Hawkeye vs Zemo and Trickshot
Classic Hawkeye Covers: Avengers 109 - Artist: Sal Buscema
Battle of the Bows
Who is Your Favorite Comic Book Archer?
5. Avengers: Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman
Writer: Chuck Dixon Artist: Scott Kolins
Collects Hawkeye Mini-Series (1994) 1-4; Hawkeye: Earth's Mightiest Marksman One-Shot; Hawkeye tale from Marvel Comics Presents issues 159-161 (sort of an epilogue to the mini-series)
This is 'angst' Hawkeye, as his 1994 mini-series starts with him having resigned from the West Coast Avengers, mourning the death of his wife Mockingbird (now retconned to be a skrull). He's essentially gone 'native', avoiding everyone, until he stumbles across a hidden Secret Empire base. He decides to take them down, enlisting the help of War Machine, and getting a new sky-cycle and costume (obviously a 90's rebranding). Its a decent story, although seen through fresh eyes now we know Hawkeye was mourning for nothing. Decent art by Scott Kolins, but he would get a lot better.
The second story is the Marvel Comics Presents 'epilogue', in which we see an angry U.S Agent going after Hawkeye, angry at him leaving the WC Avengers - they fight, resolve differences. and go their ways. Ok story, ok art.
Rounding out the collection is the One-Shot, again perfectly fine. Its a lot lighter in tone than the previous two, with Tom DeFalco writing, and more of a fun romp. We see Hawkeye training two new Avengers and taking on Taskmaster (one of my fave villains by the way).
Overall, its a decent collection, and for a Hawkeye fan I'd recommend. For the Hawkeye novice, best to start with my No 1 choice first, to get a better 'take' on the character.
Enter Hawkeye, P1 - 1960s Iron Man Cartoon
Classic Hawkeye Covers: Avengers 172 - Artist: George Perez
Weapon of Choice...
4. Avengers: Solo Avengers Classic - Volume 1
Writer: Various Artist: Various
I love this collection, absolute nostalgia blast! It collects together Solo Avengers issues 1 to 10, a book which Hawkeye shared with alternating Avengers in back up stories; I have all the original comics, and know the series well.
DeFalco writes my favorite version of Hawkeye, bravado and bluster aplenty , and it makes for a very entertaining, fun and enjoyable read. DeFalco uses the early issues to make sense of Hawkeye's origin, (sensibly replacing the Swordsman with Trickshot as his mentor), and to retcon in some details. The stories are ongoing, so each issue continues on from the last, rather than being self contained ones, which works nicely. The art by Mark Bright is excellent, and suits the series perfectly. Theres a nice mix of new and old heroes and villains, and its a great read.
If that's not enough, all the back-ups stories are also included, so there are some nice solo tales for lesser Avengers; creative teams vary, so the quality does as well. Mockingbird , Captain Marvel ( Monica Rambeau), Moon Knight, Black Knight, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Black Widow, Dr. Pym, Hellcat and Dr. Druid all feature.
A very nice collection, with 'classic' Hawkeye, and nice backup stories.
Classic Hawkeye Covers: Captain America 317
Enter Hawkeye, P2 - Iron Man 1960's cartoon
3. Avengers: West Coast Avengers Assemble
Writer: Various Artist: Various
Collects West Coast Avengers min-series issues 1-4, Iron Man Annual No. 7, Avengers issue 250 and selections from Avengers 239, 243-244 and 246; and Avengers: West Coast #100.
More great nostalgic fun, the 80's truly were Hawkeye's time! I always loved the early West Coast Avengers, it was as if the main team back in New York cut loose the guys they didn't want - Tigra, Wonder Man, Mockingbird and Iron Man lite (James Rhodes, pre-War Machine) - and said to Hawkeye 'there you go, lead the Avengers'!
Its a great fun read, a reminder of a time when it wasn't all angst and darkness, but superheroes could fight villains and have fun doing so, wisecracking along the way; the team even called itself the Wackos! The book knew it was a second tier book, with second tier characters (heck, Hawkeye was the biggest name in it!) and it had fun with that. The villains in this collection are second tier villains ( Maelstrom, Crossfire, The Blank, new Goliath, Graviton), and even the guest star, The Shroud, is second tier...but it worked.
Hawkeye and his team had some great adventures down the road, and this is a great chance to see how it all began.
Classic Hawkeye Covers:West Coast Avengers 1 - Artist: Bob Hall
2. The Avengers, Vol. 2 (Marvel Masterworks)
Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Don Heck
I could quite easily have filled up my list with graphic novels from the Avengers titles, as Hawkeye has obviously featured prominently in them for many years, but chose not to do that. However, this collection MUST go on the list, as it features the first issue when Hawkeye joined the Avengers, and the first couple of story arcs.
The book collects The Avengers issues 11-20, but it is from 16 ('The Old Order Changeth') onward we are most concerned with. In that issue Captain America, Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver become the Avengers replacing Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man and Wasp, in a move at the time that was pretty brave. I always found it interesting that Hawkeye, quite an individualistic person at the best of times, would even want to join a team, but as the years went on he grew into his role, and forged a relationship with Captain America.
These stories are most definitely of their time, but still very enjoyable (although the title improved in leaps and bounds in a year or two), and no true Hawkeye fan can call themselves that without seeing his first Avengers appearance.
Classic Hawkeye Cover:Tales of Suspense 57 - Artist: Don Heck
1. Avengers: Hawkeye HC (Marvel Premiere Classic)
Writer: Various Artist: Various
Is someone asked me to suggest one collection to showcase Hawkeye, and his relationship with Mockingbird, this is the one I'd recommend. This is the one that collects together the best issues,and you'll come out of it understanding Hawkeye as a character, and the Hawkeye/ Mockingbird dynamic.. There's no filler here!
It collects Hawkeye's first 4 issue mini-series, Tales of Suspense 57 (1st appearance), Marvel Super Action #1, Avengers #189, and Marvel Team-Up issue 95.
Tales of Suspense 57 sees Hawkeye's debut, as a reluctant villain, as he uses his gadget arrows to take on Iron Man. Fun story, with villain Black Widow as well!
The Hawkeye mini, written and drawn by Mark Gruenwald, gave Hawkeye his first solo outing, and its a blast. We get new duds, actual characterization, and a decent story involving his job as head of security, wherein he gets his first bonafide nemesis, Crossfire. Oh, and Hawkeye meets Mockingbird for the first time..what happened to her I wonder?! really enjoyable mini.
Marvel Super Action 1 ,( waaay back in 1976) is a 20 pg b &w story featuring a pre-Mockingbird Bobbi Morse. Its ok, not an essential story but gives a little context to the Hawkeye/ Mockingbird relationship.
Avengers issue 189 sees a low point for Hawkeye, kicked out of the Avengers by the government. In this issue, Hawkeye has a beatdown with Deathbird (way out of his league) and finds a job as security chief with Cross Technological Enterprises (which leads directly into his mini-series)
Marvel Team-Up 95 sees Mockingbird team up with Spider-Man to expose traitors in SHIELD.
Enjoyable entertainment through the whole book
Classic Hawkeye Covers: Hawkeye 1
'Go out, fight hard, screw up. Save the world a few times...Just keep taking the shots, okay?'
Near Misses....Worth A Shot...
There were one or two other collections I considered, but just failed the cut, so in the interests of completeness, I thought I'd mention them seeing as Hawkeye collections are a little thin on the ground!
1. Ultimate Comics Hawkeye : (collects the 4 issue Ultimate Hawkeye mini-series). Its pretty good, but not 'our' Clint Barton so I omitted it.
2. Dark Reign: Hawkeye: (collects the 5 issue min) - this is actually a very good read, but its not 'our' Hawkeye in the costume ,its Bullseye, so I omitted it. Worth picking up though.
3.. Hawkeye & Mockingbird/Black Widow: Widowmaker : I found this to be more of a Black Widow story, so will cover it on that lens, but for the Hawkeye completist, I've listed it.
4. Avengers: The Contest (Marvel Premiere Classic): I love this collection because its great fun, and Hawkeye defeats an Elder of the Universe by gambling with him, and winning by cheating. Now that takes major...you know what I mean!
Obviously read as many as you can from the collections of The Avengers, West Coast Avengers, and the Thunderbolts, as Hawkeye features a lot in quite a few of those, but there's too many to list here! You can't really go wrong.