Thursday, 26 June 2008

YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS 6: HAWKEYE

Oh boo hiss, here's a missed opportunity. The final issue of this mini series focuses on Kate Bishop, who took up the mantle of Clint Barton when he was temporarily disassembled. Now he's back, and he decides to test her in an archery contest. If he outshoots her, he gets back his name and bow - handed to Kate by Captain America, prior to his go through Death's revolving door.

And he does outshoot her. Yay! No more Ronin. Clint can return as the original and best Hawkeye, freeing Kate up to become her own heroine.

But he doesn't; it turns out he's still testing her, and when she shows the gumption to turn up at Avengers HQ to nick back the bow, Clint pats her on the back, bestows the bow and gives her a photo of Cap's Crazy Quartet.

I repeat; boo hiss. This was the perfect chance to give Clint his real identity back - no one believes he was ever meant to be Ronin, certainly there's no in-story meeting that makes sense.

Oh well, that apart this was a nice comic - not as good as some of the other issues in this series, but a good read. Writer Matt Fraction gave us some nice characterisation. Kate was the same solid young woman created by Allan Heinberg, but more recognisably a teenager - that is, a bit stupid, emotionally. And that's good, because it allows for a bit of soapy romance with Eli the Patriot. It was also good that she wasn't shown to be as skilled as Hawkeye - no one should be as good as Hawkeye at being Hawkeye.

The spotlight also falls on fellow Young Avenger Tommy Shepherd aka Speed, who takes Kate for a spot of underage drinking and comes up with the plan to nick back the bow. I'd actually forgotten he'd spent some time in Juvenile Hall, we've seen him so infrequently, and it was good to be reminded that he's not a straightforward fellow.

The big bonus here is art from Alan Davis and Mark Farmer, one of the most confident teams in comics. Kate is strong yet vulnerable; Clint is buff and caring; Eli is proud and confused, and so on. There's not much in the way of traditonal superhero action, but the figures are so expressive that I barely noticed and when there's emotional drama, Davis and Farmer make it sing.

So, that's Young Avengers Presents over with. When can we have an ongoing series?

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