It’s a side-story one-shot and it’s 100% about Kate Bishop. She goes to Cali to get some space, takes Lucky with her, and tries her hand as a girl detective/hero-for-hire. End of review.
No literally, that’s the issue in a nutshell. And on its own, that might be enough to have some of you “meh”ing and skipping this issue. Except that all of us acquainted with the creative team for this series (we’ve all agreed to call ourselves “Team Hawkguy”) know that a simple cut and dry two line premise for an issue, when handed over to this magical blend of people, is somehow transformed into a unique and refreshing reading experience. I’ve always been a fan of simple side-issues. I enjoy series that don’t take themselves too seriously. Sometimes when I sit down I just like to read a comic that’s entertaining, not heavy, and doesn’t require extensive google-time. This issue satisfies all three criteria. It’s hilarious, the one-liners are solid (and frequent!), and Annie Wu (the artist for this issue) manages to make panels that have you laughing without a single printed word. Fraction and Hollingsworth bring the same level of quality (as we know from previous issues) and Wu’s style blends well with Hawkeye’s established visual “style”. It’s nice to have the consistency of Hollingsworth on color for this issue, so the change in art style isn’t severe; we still feel this is definitely Hawkeye, while still granting Kate the opportunity to break-away and have her own artist representing her. On a fun note: I’ve been following Annie Wu for a while on Tumblr, and it completely slipped my mind that she was scheduled to do this issue! I first was introduced to her work, and her name, years ago through her Venture Brothers fanart (perhaps you’ve seen some of her awesome illustrations of various VB characters or our favorite Astrobase Go! duo). Since then she’s been doin’ work in the comics industry, and this is not her first appearance on Team Hawkguy! She was responsible for some of the fantastic mock-pulp romance novel covers in issue #8.
Kate Bishop tries to fund her independent soul-search getaway by helping reclaim some stolen flowers, in a story-premise that channels classic girl-detective Nancy Drew… but with so much more attitude… and also arrows. There are snobby Cali types, a mysterious guardian-angel type, and Kate manages to save the day in a typical Hawkeye way… a blend of bold, careless daring and modern ingenuity (which makes us think she might just be Clint’s spitting image after-all).
I love how Matt Fraction goes ahead and gives Kate an entire issue. She’s a great character, and fantastic in this run, and the fact that we get an entire issue for her and to see more of what makes her a genuine, interesting, enjoyable character is much appreciated. Kate Bishop is a head-strong lady who don’t take no crap, relatable to a lot of ladies, and I’d love to be her friend in real life. Not every series get a chance to delve into characters in this way. But then again, when your three main characters are a guy, a dog, and a girl — you have the space to do issues like this. And please let them keep doing issues like this.
And if that isn’t enough to tempt you to read, there’s a fantastic cliffhanger waiting for you on the last page. A character we haven’t seen in this series for a while makes a rather extravagant appearance. So while this issue may be a side-story, with the final page we are firmly brought back to the mainstream continuity of this run. How is this last page going to echo with our Hawkeyes in future issues?
Sound off in the comments! Did you read this issue? Did you enjoy this chance to get a closer look at just Kate in action without that pesky Barton getting in the way?