As I’ve eased my way back into comics, I’ve discovered a few artists I like. One of those is Francesco Francavilla, who I first saw filling in on Hawkeye. His style edges more towards noir and pulp, and it’s never looked better than in his own comic series, The Black Beetle. Taking it’s cues from vintage Batman, the Green Hornet and Indiana Jones, the Black Beetle protects Colt City from all manner of threats, gangsters, supernatural cults, and Nazis. He has guns, he has gadgets, and he has a cool car. In the four part story included in the Trade Paperback, the Beetle is moving in to take out a bunch of mafia members at a meeting…until someone beats him to it. The chase is on to figure out who has the pull to take out two crime families.
This is a fun book! Sometimes the dialogue gets a bit clunky, but considering Francavilla is Italian, I just roll with it and enjoy the ride. The dynamic scenes and essence of motion in Francavilla’s art more than makes up for any other problems. The trade drops on October 29, pre-order your copy now!
I went a long time without reading an actual comic book. I gave up on them when they started to get too expensive. They cost a buck when I did most of my collecting, and individual issues routinely go for $3-4 now. But I really wanted to get into them again thanks to the pure awesome that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Where to begin? Strangely, Hawkeye kept coming up in my twitter feed as being awesome, so I started there. It helped that #1 was free (there have been several chances to get cheap or free #1 issues of Marvel comics recently) so I checked it out. I quickly snapped up the rest that were out at the time, and have been camping the Marvel app on my tablet for the new issues as they come.
So why Hawkeye? For one, it was easy to get into – the new comic was kind of a clean slate for him, after his appearance in The Avengers movie. Yes, his backstory is still there, but you don’t need to know it to enjoy. That’s big for a book with a hero you don’t really know that well. Spider-Man, you can just kind of jump into, and as long as there’s not some big event you are in the middle of, you’re safe. We’ve been learning about Peter Parker and great responsibility for decades. Hawkeye’s been around the block, but not the star. Issue 11 (the one the images are from) just came out, so you don’t have much catching up (the first collection is out, with the second due out in July, if you prefer trades to individual issues). The next thing that grabbed me was the art. The flat coloring, combined with the bold lines really stands out to me. A lot of modern comics turn me off with the advanced shading and ultra-realism. David Aja is your principal artist, with appearances by Francesco Francavilla and Annie Wu. Matt Hollingsworth is your colorist.
What keeps me coming back, though, is the story. Matt Fraction (who had acclaimed runs on The Immortal Iron Fist and Invincible Iron Man) tells some great tales about the ‘normal guy’ Avenger, along with Kate Bishop, who is also Hawkeye. Add in Pizza Dog, the tracksuit-wearing ‘Bro’ mafia, and the cast of characters who live in the building in Bed-Stuy and you’ve got a great cast of real people. Lots of humor, Clint doing dumb things, and a great look at what a mortal, non-armored or invulnerable Avenger’s life might be like. The individual issues can stand alone (other than the two-parter) but that doesn’t mean things don’t change from one to the next. It’s a good balance. I’m having a lot of fun with Hawkguy, and I hope you join me. I need more people to talk about it with!