Hawkeye #4 Review: Overcoming The Aggregate With Arrows


The villain of Venice Beach is revealed! His name is Aggregate, and hatred is his weapon! Can Kate and her friends survive?

Hawkeye #4

Writer: Kelly Thompson

Artist: Leonardo Romero

Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

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Beware the Aggregate! Kate Bishop may have relocated to Venice Beach, but her new business has hardly been sunny! What began as a simple quest to locate a surfer has evolved into saving a community from hatred. This leads her face to face with Aggregate, the masted commander of a cult of hatred. He’s utilized cyber-chip technology to literally transform the energy of hate into strength. He’s a frat boy version of a classic Marvel Comics villain, the Hate-Monger!

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Kate’s attempt to rescue her first client as an unlicensed P.I., Mikka Nguyen, has led to her being ambushed. Yet her sass continues to be a sharper weapon than her arrows! Aggregate may have brute strength and enhanced durability, but he lacks impulse control. After managing to escape from the clutches of Aggregate, Kate has to figure out how to overcome his brawn and stop his scheme. Thankfully, her allies Ramone, Quinn, and Johnny are able to help out with that!

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Aggregate and Hulk Buy the Same Pants!

Kate Bishop consequently learns that Aggregate is in fact “Frat Cute Greg” from the previous issue. When he bulks up to the point of being immune to her arrows, Kate has to figure out a way to overcome his hatred. With a little help from the power of music, she manages to get the big guy under wraps. Yet this is hardly the end of her troubles. Detective Rivera is still less than thrilled by her unlicensed exploits. Even worse, Greg connects to an even larger mystery involving her dad.

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Kelly Thompson wraps up her first arc on Hawkeye in spectacular fashion. In a Marvel catalog as clogged as it is now, every series needs its own identity. Hawkeye is more than a spinoff to Young Avengers. It’s a 1980s style pulp crime series set in a superhero universe. Not only has Thompson quickly established a sassy lead and a glamorous location, but she’s also set up a cast. She has wisely assembled a quirky and memorable supporting team around her star to help carry the series.

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In fact, the only hiccup in the proceeding may only be noticeable to those who read a lot of Thompson’s comics. Like every writer, she has certain tropes she favors in some of her stories. One she favors is the power of music to reach the hearts of people over evil or hatred. While that’s an obvious meme for Jem and the Holograms, it also came up in the second arc of A-Force. Seeing Kate use “The Sound of Music” to beat Aggregate was cute, but also from a familiar well.

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A Great Cast Brings Great Soap Opera Drama!

Familiar tropes or not, Kate Bishop remains a sassy force of nature. Anyone who considers Spider-Man the master of the quip may need to give Kate a gander. Whatever she lacks in experience or raw power, she makes up for in tenacity and creativity. Kate adapts well to her surroundings and capitalizes on any opportunity. Thompson also wisely realizes a lead is only as good as her cast, and has assembled a strong one here. It will be fun seeing how they interact in the future.

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One potential interaction could be an incredibly diverse love triangle (or quadrangle). Superhero comics have utilized love triangles so long that it can become stale without modern twists. Just in four issues alone, Thompson has assembled enough to keep Tumblr going for months. To recap, Kate and Ramone’s brother Johnny clearly have chemistry, but Quinn admires her from afar. Ramone and Mikka are on and off again, but Mikka may or may not be falling for Kate. And so on.

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This Review Ends with an Archery Pun!

In addition, Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire submit another artistic triumph. It isn’t hyperbole when I compare their art to that of Dave Gibbons and John Higgins from Watchmen. They mix the best of both in an illustrative and a realistic style mixed with classic comic book storytelling. The end result are fight scenes that look amazing, characters that look cool within proportion, and an incredibly detailed background. Everything from Ramone’s fashion to Spider-Ham graffiti shows.

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Next: Kate and Det. Rivera take a dive in #3!

The more I read of Kelly Thompson’s work at Marvel, the more I like. Her creative energy with crafting new villains is ambitious, although I keep waiting to see her take on classic Marvel rogues. Madame Masque lends herself to Hawkeye, even if we may need a break between masked villains for a few issues. Regardless, Hawkeye has quickly evolved into a quirky and unique series starring a sassy lead, a great cast, and presenting some legitimate mystery. Take aim and give it a shot!