HAWKEYE VOL. 1: MY LIFE AS A WEAPON originally released back in March of 2013. Yet it’s still a comic stuck in the minds (and hearts) of many. Myself included. It simultaneously was and was not like many other comics I’ve read.
Hawkeye is not a series afraid of humor. In fact, Hawkeye rather shines in that element. So it’s really no surprise that his entire series launches on a moment of tension and surprising humor. “Okay–This looks bad…”
Yet that isn’t the reason this series carried so much import and impact. Clint Barton is a superhero. He’s one of the Avengers for crying out loud. Yet he’s human. Very, very human. He has no powers to speak of. He’s flawed. He makes mistakes (sometimes a lot of them).
He’s also deaf. Now, this is an element that could easily have been thrown into the mix and then mostly left alone. But that is not what Hawkeye: Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon did. No, it embraced everything about his deafness, from Clint learning ASL and lipreading to every other little detail you might think of.
It’s the first time I can recall seeing a hero that was anything truly outside of the ‘standard hero mold,’ so to speak. It was a moment, or series of moments, so flawlessly woven into the narrative. There was no major deal made about Clint’s deafness. He merely was. It was part of him.
Since then, I’ve seen many heroes who deviated from that ‘standard hero mold.’ It’s been beautiful to see it happen. To see new heroes pop out, with new styles and new messages. Yet Clint Barton will always hold a special place in my heart, for being so perfectly who he is. No shame, no regrets. Just a man trying to save the day.
More to the point though, Hawkeye Vol. 1 (as well as the rest of the series) brought about one of my favorite variations of Hawkeye. A version I desperately keep hoping to see in the MCU, be it in the movies or his Disney+ series. Realistically, there are many fans out there rooting for this very thing as well.
Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon had a pretty stellar team behind the scenes. Maybe that was why it carried with it so much confidence. Matt Fraction was the writer for the project, with artists such as David Aja, Javier Pulido, Matt Hollingsworth, Annie Wu, Alan Davis, Francesco Francavilla, and Chris Eliopoulos all working alongside him.
Together they created something unique, and dare I say, fun. One of the best things about Clint Barton is that, as I’ve stated above; he’s human. He’s free to make mistakes. Sometimes major ones. He’s also perfectly capable of getting himself in messes that are way over his head – and yet somehow surviving it all.
Despite all of that and all of the other crap that life tends to dump on him, Clint has a fairly healthy outlook on life. Sure, he gets down sometimes (who doesn’t?). But he always gets back up. Best of all, he’ll almost always have a line or two to make his readers smile. Sometimes that alone can mean the world.
Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon has one more reason for me to hold it near and dear to my heart. Kate Bishop. That amazing, sassy, and snarky girl. I adore her and everything about her. Including (especially) all of the ways in which she calls Clint out. Her inclusion in this series was absolute perfection, at least partially due to the important conversation(s) it started.
The fact that she’s able to keep up with Barton’s messed, and save the day a time or two herself is certainly another highlight of the volume. As is her constant snark and sass – she’s more like Barton than either of them realize.
All of these elements, and more, are the reason why Hawkeye Vol. 1: My Life As A Weapon will always be one of my top favorites. It’s a series I fall back into reading whenever I need a laugh or a bit of encouragement. Okay, sometimes I read it as a reminder that things can always be worse; after all, just look at the messes Barton gets into.