The conclusion of Hawkeye’s crossover with Jessica Jones carries on a strong run of issues, striking a comfortable balance between action and characterization.
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Michael Walsh
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Like the previous issue, this one begins with an iconic splash page before backtracking in the chronology. Kate Bishop faces off with the dragon she encountered at the end of the previous installment. It’s a powerful image, as rendered by artist Michael Walsh and colorist Jordie Bellaire, that succinctly sums up what this series is all about. Kate stands against the skyline of Los Angeles with her bow drawn, clearly physically outmatched but undaunted while her narration delivers her smartass commentary.
Writer Kelly Thompson wraps up the missing person case that brought Jessica to the West Coast with Kate once again in a battle against an overpowering force that reflects her own challenges and insecurities as a young woman. Kate’s relationship to the world around her is becoming clearer as we reach the end of the second storyline in her solo series. The seemingly realistic LA in which she lives proves to be infested by a steady supply of short-tempered, super-powered individuals who provide both action and opportunities for insight into the protagonist herself. The parallels with Buffy and Veronica Mars have been unmistakable throughout these early issues, but Kate is well-drawn enough as an individual that the series doesn’t suffer from the comparisons.
Another thing that’s been consistent thus far is the way the narrative perspective remains squarely with our hero. We learn considerably more about the opponent behind the dragon’s background and motivations than we did for the villain in the first arc, but Thompson is still primarily interested in portraying how this knowledge affects Kate and drives her strategy. The tight focus means we continue to see a lot of what makes this character worthwhile. However, much like in the previous issue, the Scooby gang of supporting characters hardly get a word in, which makes it hard to judge whether Kate’s new friends will have anything compelling to offer down the line.
On the other hand, the connection between Kate and Jessica is again admirably handled.
This issue finds the younger hero a little less worshipful of her mentor at times, but still eager to learn from and engage with her. It’s a kind of relationship we’ve seen many times in genre fiction, but not necessarily from two women superheroes turned private eyes. Walsh nicely captures the range of emotions that goes into these exchanges, bringing some much needed dynamism to the dialogue-heavy breathers between giant dragon encounters. In fact, the characters often seem relatively stiff when they’re actually flying through the air to trade blows, but that’s not too much of a drawback for this particular series.
The visit from Jessica Jones has been an entertaining diversion from the larger plot Thompson has hinted at, and it’s found room for further insight into this highly likable take on Kate. Now, I’m eager to see the return of Leonardo Romero on pencils next issue and discover what the creators have in store for the long game on Hawkeye.