Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Franscesco Francavilla
After an amazing streak of stories, Hawkeye #10 fails to create that same sense of originality and almost purposely avoids our protagonist entirely, but in a way, that isn’t such a bad thing. #10 instead tells the story of the newly introduced character “The Clown”, who first appeared in #9. “The Clown” is set up to be a some-sort of hitman/psychopath hired by the continuously antagonizing group of “Tracksuits” that have been against our hero since the beginning of this run. Where this starts to fall apart is where the backstory of “The Clown” is so quickly delved into, and that his story is so cliché that the reader can guess it with the first line that he delivers on paper, however it does parallel the history of Hawkeye himself, and it might be interesting to see if these two characters have any further backstory together. But since “Clown’s” history has been made so readily available this early, any connection that will be used between these two will look more like a lazy plot device rather than a satisfying reveal.
This dissolves the entire tension of the character and any sort of imagination that comes from the mystery. This then shifts the tone dramatically from mostly goofy and comical to almost sheer bleakness, which breaks the flow entirely of the series thus far. Not only does “The Clown’s” backstory takes up the bulk of the issue, it doesn’t really push the story any further, and instead brings us right back to where they left off in #9.
With that being said, this is still a quality book. One thing that can be counted on in this series is it’s unique art style that blends in many talents in the industry and who make almost seamless transitions into the issues. However, #10 was the largest jump artistically with the lack of Matt Hollingsworth as the colorist and Francesco Francavilla stepping in to helm the art. This issue tends to lend itself more a darker color scheme with some traces of Hollingsworth’s signature solid color pallet. Here, brighter colors are more defined because of the darker scheme, which really pops off the page.
With the lack of Hawkeye in this issue, it gave a good break from the moping that he’s been doing for the last few issues, which has been more about his lady troubles then actually preparing himself with an all too foreseeable war with the scummy “Tracksuits”. Instead, the Hawkeye that is focused on here is Clint’s ward, Katie, picking up directly where she left off in the last issue. She does not quite do anything spectacular here, but instead strikes up a conversation with the aforementioned villain and almost starts a romantic relationship with him. It might be safe to assume that “The Clown” will use this relationship to get closer to Clint and fulfill his contract with the “Tracksuits”.
However, if that is the case, then why would “Clown” put a bullet in the head of the lovable, yet dim, Gil aka “Grills”? Wouldn’t this set off alarms with both Hawkeye’s and put them on a revenge mission? The motives of “The Clown” aren’t that clear here and since there is so much of his backstory revealed, there is no reason to believe that he would have any personal vendetta’s toward Clint or Katie.
Hopefully the series will redeem itself after it’s little stumble in the last few episodes and finally make sense of what is driving “The Clown” since his backstory is set up all too conventionally with the least amount of creativity that the series has seen thus far.
Cutline: Hawkeye #10 marks first major miss with the introduction of a new bland character.