Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Otto Schmidt
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: January 1st, 2020
Review by: Fanboy Clay
As most heroes fly or jump into action when evil is afoot, Rosenberg had a better idea for old Clint Barton, as he free falls into one loss after the other. Hawkeye is a man that looks after the little guy in a giant city full of big-time heroes that vow to do the same thing. Rosenberg successfully writes Hawkeye Freefall for those who are fans of the purple archer, and for those who are new. A smooth opening, great art, compelling story, and cheesy yet sound comedic relief.
Hawkeye Freefall begins with your old run of the mill “sketchy” (it even says so in the setting caption) bad guy warehouse meetings. We get some internal dialogue from the Clint of course talking some smack about the criminals in said meeting, and gives background on the one who arranged the meeting in the first place, Parker Robbins, aka The Hood. Now Clint explains how The Hood used to be a relatively small criminal until he obtained his magical cloak, slowly going up the ranks, and of course, like any villain that gains power, gains a bigger head.
The Hood mid-speech spots Clint, and before he can do anything Hawkeye jumps into action, now this bothered me a little. Clint Barton is an Avenger, or at least he was, or still is, technically? I’m not sure if these guys have to resubscribe to membership or something. Either way, at some point in his hero career he was a big shot. And I get it, Marvel is always or at least in my recent and limited reading of Marvel, ready to diminish or get rid of heroes secret Identity, but Clint’s “hiding in plain sight” looks weird, especially when The Hood can spot him just by looking at his purple sunglasses.
Hawkeye is able to single-handedly stop The Hood, along with his ten plus henchmen, now this of course in any hero book is a simple feat. You see multiple Avengers do it all the time, but as of late, I’ve seen a lot of bashing of Hawkeye as a character, and I think that’s what I like most about this book, it’s subtle, but Rosenberg writes Clint as a strategic individual, someone to not take lightly, it may not seem that way as seen near the end of this book, but just in the internal captions alone, you can clearly see Clint Barton is not a joke, he can read the room and know the situation at hand. But let’s move forward.
The courtroom scene and the second confrontation with The Hood clearly set up a future story plot that Rosenberg hopes to get into if this title gets enough support to continue on. Which did raise an eyebrow with a subtle tease at The Kingpin being in league with The Hood. And of course, what would any comic book series be without it’s supporting cast? Enter Linda Carter, now as I said before, I am not too familiar with Marvel comics yet, but I do know this name from Marvel’s Netflix as Linda was a big part of almost every series. Having her in this issue didn’t do much for the story as a whole (and trust me Clint didn’t really do himself any favors in this scene either).
As I see as the main selling point of this series, for now, is the return of Ronin, the badass armored ninja, and of course the more interesting notion that Ronin is not Cint, as seen in older Marvel series. Rosenberg does an excellent job in telling a brief history of the Ronin character as three separate individuals have also been Ronin (which I did not know myself). With the destruction and bodies Ronin leaves in his path Falcon & The Winter Soldier are there to figure out who he is, and mainly confirm Clint Barton is not the one going around killing people. Which in all honesty, Clint has always been a good guy (as far as I know), why on earth would they assume a fellow/retired/membership pending Avenger be a mass murderer?
This leaves us to the final scene as Hawkeye, The Winter Soldier & The Falcon team up to confront this new Ronin and find out what he/she is after. This is where I was talking about, when Clint really shows how good of a hero he really is. Although he jumps the gun on confronting Ronin, he sees the situation, he knows why they are losing. It’s simple, it’s subtle, but in my mind, it really shows that Hawkeye is a hero that is worth something.
As much as this story may seem very stereotypical ( Who is the man behind the mask?). I anticipate the reveal of who Ronin might be. As long as Matthew Rosenberg sticks the landing, it could throw readers off in a positive and successful way like Arkham Knight’s reveal in DC’s Detective Comics or fall flat like Bendis’ Leviathan reveal. Freefall has a vast cast of characters but I think Rosenberg can pull it off. The support of fellow heroes is a great way to remind readers of the mass universe these characters are in, I just hope Rosenberg does not lean too heavily on other characters and really let Hawkeye shine in his own series.
As for art, Otto Shmidt just loves his archers, I’m partially joking when I say this but as I was reading, I was waiting for Clint to grow a mustache and wondered why Dick Grayson had a metal arm. Putting Clint Barton in a green jacket felt a little on the nose for Otto to do, maybe as a small tip of his hat to the emerald archer? Otto’s action scenes, as well as character shots, are always great to look at.
Bits and Pieces:
This book is a great reader-friendly story that gives you some laughs as well as raises a few eyebrows for what’s to come. If you are a fan of Matthew Rosenberg, Otto Schmidt, or Hawkeye this is a book to pick up