When I read the first volume of Old Man Hawkeye, I was very impressed. Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa’s art proved a perfect fit for the dystopian future’s barren landscapes and oppressive tone. The series’ mixture of horror and wild west drama also proved to be a unique and entertaining treat. The miniseries’ second half comes out in trade form this week with Old Man Hawkeye Vol. 2: The Whole World Blind. It collects issues #7-12, written by Ethan Sacks, drawn by Marco Checchetto, Ibraim Roberson, and Francesco Mobili, colored by Andres Mossa, and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. Does Old Man Hawkeye end on a high note?
Story-wise, this volume reveals a lot more information about how the series’ hero-less world came to be. The backstory is an interesting change of pace from Marvel’s other post-apocalyptic story lines; it’s not often that you see the Thunderbolts cause the downfall of the Avengers. The most interesting character here is probably Songbird. Sacks depicts a broken version of the character who lies somewhere between redemption and condemnation, and whose arc is more poignant than that of either Hawkeye.
Though Clint’s desire for revenge drives the story forward, it’s not very compelling in and of itself. Though the flashback scenes are interesting from a plot perspective, they don’t convey Clint’s tragedy in a moving way. His most interesting moments in this volume are his back and forths with Kate, but even these lack the strong grounding of the characters’ relationship present in other more memorable Hawkeye series. The villains don’t fare much better, as their plans are rather forgettable and don’t take full advantage of the series’ barren wasteland of a setting. There’s a twist toward the end with Baron Zemo that’s kind of a letdown as well.
Visually, this volume is at its best when Checchetto and Mossa are paired together. Checchetto’s line-work continues to be well-detailed in a manner that matches the gritty, down-to-earth tone of the story. There are several great action moments throughout, as the Hawkeyes face off against Bullseye in battles that make projectile warfare look badass. Mossa’s coloration, meanwhile, makes the series all the better. His hard browns, greens, and blues give the book an earthy feel that truly make this seem like a battle between normal people as opposed to invincible superhumans. Caramagna also does a good job on the lettering; I have no complaints with its aesthetic or legibility.
Unfortunately, the Checchetto/Mossa duo doesn’t extend throughout the whole volume. There are two other line-artists and, while their work isn’t bad, they pale in comparison to Checchetto. Roberson’s segments feature some wonky anatomy that hinder the drama from being as intense as it could be. Mobili, meanwhile, closes the volume out on a disappointing note. Again, their work isn’t terrible, but it lacks the unique stylistic polish that makes Checchetto’s work so engaging. The story’s conclusion ends up just looking like your standard superhero story, which is a far cry from the memorable western horror show that was Vol. 1.
Overall, Old Man Hawkeye’s ending is a bit of a disappointment. On the plus side, there are cool moments throughout and Checchetto and Mossa continue to deliver great work. Nonetheless, the fill-in artists aren’t as impressive of a fit for the story. It’s also worth noting that, despite his vendetta driving the plot forward, Clint is never as interesting as what’s going on around him. If you’re a Hawkeye fan then check this volume out, but it’s skippable otherwise.