Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artists: Stefano Raffaele (p), Scott Hanna (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As Hawkeye heads to the site of the massacre in the jungles of Vietnam that inspired a pact of silence we see he discovers that there are still forces at work that are looking to keep the reason for the mass murder a secret, as he finds the jungles are filled with armed attackers. However, Hawkeye is able to locate, and open the temple that inspired the murder of an entire village, but before the book can reveal what's so important inside this temple, Hawkeye is pulled away to discover the temple is surrounded by hundreds of attackers.
The final page of this issue set up what looks to be a very exciting situation, and as such I'm rather looking forward to this big battle. The issue also manages to nicely detail the big secret that inspired the mysterious behavior that caught Hawkeye's attention, and while I have to openly wonder why they decided to wipe out an entire village, simply to keep them from talking, the idea of what's inside the temple still hasn't been addressed, so perhaps next issue will offer up an eye-opening revelation that will make it clear what it was that inspired such an extreme act of violence. Plus, given the native tribe seem to have little problem telling complete strangers about how the trigger device works and what is required to open the vault, it's easy to understand why they would be reluctant to leave these people alive. Here's hoping whatever is inside the vault is revealed to be valuable enough that it would be easy to understand why they would actively carry out such a reprehensible act to protected it. The issue also manages to offer up a cute little moment where we see Hawkeye is rather annoyed to discover his partners have no idea who he is, in spite of his expertise with a bow and arrow, and the arrival of his trick arrows. There's also a cute little moment where Hawkeye points out that they are being followed, and then proves he's telling the truth by knocking a trio of unseen pursuers out of the trees. I also have to say I enjoyed the interaction between Hawkeye and the decidedly jaded Scully, and I wouldn't mind seeing this character become a regular supporting player in this series.
Stefano Raffaele turns in yet another impressive issue, as while his work has a nice down-to-earth quality to it, this issue manages to show off his ability to deliver some of the more fantastic elements that one encounters in the pages of a comic, as Hawkeye fires off a number of trick arrows in this issue, and the final page manages to nicely sell the idea the overwhelming quality of the threat that Hawkeye has run up against. The art also does a solid job of simple telling the story as the art delivers a wonderfully creepy sequence where Hawkeye and company move through the skeletal remains of a slaughtered village. The art also manages to make the various jumps the plot makes easy to follow, as the establishing shots that tell us we've moved to a new location are well done, and the faded coloring scheme of the flashbacks manages to clearly sell the idea that we've jumped back in time. The panel transitions form the present to the past are also rather cleverly done. I also have to make mention of the cover, as it's a great looking shot of the character by the ever dependable Carlos Pacheco.
I'll accept Hawkeye as a expert marksman, but to ask readers to accept the idea that he would be able to figure out, in his head no less, the positioning of the sun at 4:44 PM, on February 9th, 2007 is a bit much. What's more given Clint has access to the eggheads who could provide him with the answer, and they could use his Avengers ID card as a positioning device, there's no really need for Fabian Nicieza to offer up such an implausible scene. Now I realize that Fabian Nicieza wouldn't want Hawkeye whipping out his Avengers ID card when every he encountered a problem, but if he's going to set up situations like this one than it's silly to impart abilities on the character that he's shown no aptitude for in the past. Now I guess he could argue that Hawkeye's an expert at angles and where one would need to place the arrow if he wanted mimic the angle of the sun in the sky, but I simply don't buy the idea that he would be able to figure out the precise position of the sun in the sky right to the exact minute. One could also argue that the addition of another planet, having the moon destroyed/reformed, and all the other cosmic events that have befallen the planet over the past forty years in the Marvel Universe would have a profound impact on one being able to arrive at such an accurate measurement of when the door would open. In the end I'd have pushed for a elaborate time lock that required Hawkeye to place an arrow in a place inside the temple that no one else would've been able to, as offering up a trigger that is so specific in what is required to activate it, felt a bit silly.
Sunshine, Happiness, Deadly Assassins Up Above:
While I can see I've focused a little too much of my attention of Hawkeye's uncanny mastery of the positioning of the sun in the sky, I will say that if I ignore this section of the issue, this is a pretty entertaining reading experience. I mean there is a certain disposable quality to the killers that Hawkeye spends the issue knocking out of the trees but the final page sets up an exciting moment, that would seem to suggest Hawkeye is going to be in for one heck of a fight in the final chapter of this opening arc. I also have to say I rather enjoy the fact that this issue brings the trick arrows into play, as while his DC counterpart has distanced himself from his trick arrows, I would hate to see Hawkeye shift to plain, old arrows, as his trick arrows are one of the main reasons why I think the character is qualified to play with the big boys in the Avengers. There's also a couple cute little moments, as I rather enjoyed the fact that Hawkeye was annoyed when his partners didn't recognize the obvious clues about who he is, and I also enjoyed the character's claim that the only fight he considers to be fair is one where he's hopelessly outnumbered, as it results in a wonderful final line.
What did you think of this book?
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