Graphic Novel Review: Ultimate Comics: Hawkeye

15:40 09 March 2012

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye

Ultimate Comics Hawkeye

Archant

(Panini £10.99)

AS one of the starring characters in the forthcoming Avengers Assemble movie based on the Ultimate interpretations of Marvel’s flagship characters, it’s no surprise that the powers-that-be have taken the opportunity to spin-off the amazing archer Hawkeye into his own solo mini-series.

If you’re unfamiliar with the thinking behind the Ultimate Universe, it’s basically a much more grounded version of the conventional MU, with a very political bent to superheroics, especially in the activities of the military taskforce known as The Ultimates.

Clint Barton was born with heightened visual senses which have basically turned him into the world’s greatest marksman, with the ability to turn even the most ordinary object into a deadly weapon, to perceive the structural flaws in any object, and to never, ever miss. In many ways, he is a less psychotic version of Daredevil’s nemesis Bullseye, although his talents go far beyond those of the latter character.

The simple premise behind this four-part story is that scientists working for the Southeast Asian Republic (the SEAR) have discovered a virus which will de-power the world’s burgeoning mutant population, with a corresponding serum known as The Source which will bestow random superpowers upon normal individuals, thus propelling the global arms race into the stratosphere.

Hawkeye is tasked by his boss, SHIELD director Nick Fury, to seize a sample of The Source, but neither man could have predicted just how difficult this would be, as the newly emerging super-beings set themselves up as a superior race of metahumans known as The Eternals and The Celestials, occupying giant floating cities and challenging the precarious status quo which exists across the world…

Despite the title, this book features extensive guest appearances from the likes of the Ultimate X covert action team, and ends on a cliffhanger which spins into the forthcoming new Ultimates book. I hate it when that happens.

Writer Jonathan Hickman unquestionably “gets” Clint Barton, and the depth he provides to the character is long-overdue. It’s just a shame that he felt the need to introduce various other protagonists instead of just focusing on the archer himself, and the need to set up future storylines leaves the reader without a clear resolution at the book’s conclusion.

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