Wait, Hawkeye is a dude, right? Not on this go round. Kate Bishop assumed the mantle of Hawkeye during her time with the Young Avengers and she now gets her own series. Reminiscent of the successful Matt Fraction Hawkeye run and Brian Michael Bendis’s Alias comic featuring Jessica Jones, writer Kelly Thompson brings humor and action to her take on Kate Bishop. Kate has relocated to Los Angeles and has started her own private investigation business, much like Jessica Jones. Kate ends up taking missing person cases and uses her keen eye to pick out clues as she “reads every room” she investigates. This is shown in the comic by large pink or fuschia targets accompanied by text like “delicious sandwich”, “frat boy 1”, “hot professional guy”, and more.

In the first volume, Anchor Points, we follow Kate as she looks for a missing college student. Each chapter finds Kate in a more dire situation as she escapes frat boys, mindless cult followers, and eventually a dragon. Jessica Jones even stops by to show Kate how to mix private investigating with superhero-ing. Much comedy and action ensue.

In the second volume, Masks, we learn more about Kate’s Mom and Dad (hint: it’s not good). Madame Masque shows up and impersonates Kate after imprisoning her and Kate gets roughed up. A LOT. (Band-aids play a big role in many scenes). In the final chapter, the new female Wolverine stops by for a fun adventure. We have more comedy and cool fighting scenes.

In the third volume, Family Reunion, Kate joins forces with the original Hawkeye, Clint Barton as they seek to help one another solve two separate mysteries—what happened to Kate’s dead mother and who is trying to kill Clint Barton?

Writer Kelly Thompson has a good feel for Kate and she brings humor to practically every page. Much like Fraction’s Hawkeye, Kelly Thompson creates a unique comic experience with Kate’s smart-aleck wit and some marvelous fights scenes. Much as David Aja was a perfect fit for Fraction’s Hawkeye, Leonardo Romero is the right artist for this book. Kate is often shown in multiple poses in one panel to show how quick she moves and every position she moves through as she battles villains. Romero’s lines are clean and, while they almost cross into a more cartoon-like style, he manages to maintain the realism of the story without compromising his clarity. The colorist, Jordie Bellaire, uses a variety of purple shades to illuminate Kate and her visions. Flashbacks are also almost entirely in purple hues, to nice effect.

The one drawback to this book might be the story. I was frequently unsure where it was going and Kate seemed to get captured and beat up a lot. Villains escaped and ultimately didn’t suffer consequences for their actions, thus setting up the next battle in the next book. Yet that’s a small price to pay for a fun romp with a great female superhero lead. It’s sad that Marvel could only get three volumes in this run. Publishers need to develop more diverse and female-led superhero characters but canceling the books before they get a following makes it hard to get people invested in them. Still, this is a great book for any teen collection. Readers who like Lumberjanes and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl will likely enjoy Kate Bishop’s adventures. Here’s hoping Kate shows up in another book soon.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, vols. 1-3
by Kelly Thompson
Art by Leonardo Romero
vol 1: Anchor Points
ISBN: 9781302905149
vol 2: Masks
ISBN: 9781302905156
vol 3: Family Reunion
ISBN: 9781302910976
Marvel, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: T+

  • Mark

    | He/Him Young Adult Librarian, Cedar Mill Library

    Reviewer

    Mark Richardson is the Young Adult Librarian at the Cedar Mill Library in Portland Oregon where he selects adult and young adult graphic novels, YA fiction & nonfiction, video games and adult music for the library. He also plans lots of activities for local teens ranging from art contests to teen trivia to Pokemon parties. If this sounds like a dream job, it is. Sometimes he has to pinch himself to make sure he really gets to do all of this. He’s been reading comics for as long as he can remember and has been known to present an occasional conference sessions on graphic novels at the Oregon Library Association’s annual conference.

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