Hawkeye #2 Review: Kate Bishop Takes Back Control


Kate Bishop’s first case at Venice Beach could be her last! What starts as a simple cyberstalking turns into a local conspiracy!

Hawkeye #2

Writer: Kelly Thompson

Artist: Leonardo Romero

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

Cover Artist: Julian Totino Tedeso

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Marvel Comics has two archers named Hawkeye these days, and which is cooler is debatable. The elder (Clint Barton) is the star of Occupy Avengers, dealing with the Civil War II fall out. The other is Kate Bishop, who has branched out on her own from the Young Avengers to Venice Beach, California. Kate may come from old money, but apparently her trust fund is nowhere near that of Tony Stark’s. She’s still without a P.I. license and her office/apartment is fairly modest, at best.

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After meeting her feisty neighbor Ramone and dealing with a bank robbery and a misinformed public, Kate got her first case! Tracking down the cyberstalker of Mikka, a local college student, seemed easy enough. In fact, it was too easy. Kate may have nabbed the creep with the aid of a computer expert named Quinn, but someone else has kidnapped Mikka! Now Kate has to unravel the mystery and find her client, who also is Ramone’s ex-girlfriend! Yet there is even more to it!

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A Web of Bow Strings Is Being Woven!

Without Mikka around, Kate Bishop finds that it’s impossible to press charges on the stalker, whom she’s dubbed “Creepy McGee.” Even worse, local detective Rivera doesn’t take too kindly to New York vigilantes bringing their fights onto Venice Beach turf. Maybe people are still sore that Venom was the hero of San Francisco for years. “McGee” (or Larry) talks about not being in control of his actions. After meeting up with Quinn, Kate learns it may not have been an excuse.

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Before long, Kate runs into a trio of frat boys about to assault a woman in an alley. It seems cut and dry, but it all connects to a poster she’s seen at the college. A group called “Take Back Control” has infiltrated the area, and Larry’s one of them. They seem huddled around a mysterious masked leader, who seems able to bend the wills of others. For the moment, this seems to manifest as men stalking or assaulting women. Before long, Kate Bishop has an entire mob chasing her!

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If the previous issue was a near perfect introductory issue, then Kelly Thompson writes a near perfect second issue. Not only are the supporting characters from the last issue back, but Thompson introduces even more! Detective Rivera seems like an obligatory cop who distrusts the hero while enforcing laws that don’t always help, but I am sure with time she’ll be fleshed out. More potential is in Johnny, a guy who arrives out of nowhere during the frat boy fight.

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Take Back Control? Someone Alert Maxwell Smart!

Kate Bishop herself remains the ever sassy star of her own adventure. Her supporting cast are memorable without being smothering. She gives everyone a nickname, such as “Watson” for Quinn and “Cowboy” for Johnny. Quinn seems tailor-made to be Kate’s technology backup, and Johnny might prove to be a more physical ally. He hasn’t revealed any major combat skills yet, but he was willing to back her in a fight and protect his neighborhood. He can also banter pretty well.

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To a degree, “Take Back Control” is an extremely timely sort of adversary. They’re a collective of outcasts who seem to encourage the worst behavior in each other. In that sense, they’re a metaphor for some current online groups—in particular, their encouraging of the harassment of women. Yet, because this is Marvel Comics, their leader seems to have genuine mind control powers. It could be a new incarnation of Hate-Monger, or a device similar to the “Mad Bomb” (which caused localized riots).

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As she demonstrates in Jem and the Holograms, Thompson is adept at whipping up a supporting cast as well as some potential romantic connections. Quinn clearly has a crush on Kate, but she likely hasn’t noticed. There seemed to be some chemistry between Johnny and Kate. Heck, the last volume of Young Avengers hinted at Kate being bisexual (or at least “curious”), and Ramone is hanging around. However, Ramone’s attention was more on her complicated feelings for Mikka.

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You Don’t Need a Mask to Be a Hero!

Speculation on romantic entanglements for a solo heroine may seem stereotypical. However, a key difference would be that none of Kate’s cast are superheroes, with fewer who are cops or soldiers. Unlike male heroes, super heroines seem to rarely date civilians in mainstream comics. Carol Danvers’ last boyfriend who was neither a cape or a soldier was murdered in the 90s. She-Hulk waxes and wanes between them. The power dynamics usually are why, which is a shame.

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Leonardo Romero’s art with Jordie Bellaire’s colors are outstanding. Romero mixes in some old school panel techniques with some modern age layouts and pacing. The art genuinely reminds me of Dave Gibbons and John Higgins on Watchmen. Strong line work and solid fundamentals mixed with a contemporary view of the environment (like graffiti) or fashion trends. Tedeso’s covers remind me of illustrated posters to grindhouse films from the 70s and 80s, which fits in well.

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Next: See Kate's introduction to Venice Beach from #1!

Private eye superheroes aren’t new, and date back to the Golden Age. What makes Hawkeye stand out are its engaging characters, top-notch art and very topical antagonists. While I wouldn’t mind a super villain or two (like Madame Masque), Thompson has constructed a quick detective series here. The fact that Kate Bishop relies more on skill and gadgets, and far less than the likes of Batman, makes her more relatable. Consequently, this comic hits the bull’s eye for quality dead center.