Hawkeye: Anchor Points
It is so cool to have a series starring a butt-kicking superhero woman I can read regularly. It seems (still, unfortunately) that only one or two of that type are allowed to exist concurrently, but at least writer Kelly Thompson can be relied upon to provide funny, action-packed stories that have an undercurrent of emotional meaning.
Hawkeye: Anchor Points (reprinting the first six issues of the currently running series) takes Kate Bishop to Los Angeles, where she wants to be a private investigator and maybe find her criminal father (who plays a greater role starting in issue #7, the arc following this collection).
She stops a bank robbery, finds an online harasser (a great idea for a modern-day vigilante, since it’s a life-threatening issue that authorities often won’t get involved in), and has a team-up with Jessica Jones. When needed, she shoots arrows and does crazy physical stunts, but she’s also capable of relying on the skills of friends or classic PI deception when the situation calls for it, keeping things varied. And how cool is it that she makes friends, helps them, and they help her?
Leonardo Romero (first four issues; Michael Walsh does the last two) does a terrific job giving us a Hawkeye full of attitude and a fundamental optimism. She’s attractive, in the sense that the eye is always drawn to her and what she’s doing. (Thankfully, she’s not portrayed in the old-school “her butt is talking” sexualized fashion — and it’s a shame I still have to call that out when talking female-focused titles.)
Her action scenes always begin with her scoping out the scene, identifying what’s going to be important to her, from bad guys, weapons, and fighting techniques to “mini donuts” and “hot abs”. It’s a fresh way to take on superhero comic genre conventions. A bunch of panels on the page follow, slicing the action into key moments.
It’s all narrated with inner monologue caption boxes, giving us a good idea of Hawkeye’s attitude, which comes with copious amounts of sass but never makes her unlikeable. She struggles with people looking for “the real Hawkeye”, mimicking the challenges any new-school book has in succeeding with old-school fans and their long memories. I hope plenty of readers, old and new, will give this series a try, since it’s a wonderful take that’s distinctly of today without casting aside the history. I never guess what’s going to happen next but I always enjoy it.