So far, Matt Fraction’s writing on Hawkeye has been shot through with a rough-and-tumble, devil-may-cay energy, where Clint Barton plows through overwhelming circumstances with little forethought. It’s been a fun read, filled with great banter and amazing minimalist art from David Aja and other contributors.
But this week's issue #9 takes an unexpected turn into emotionally raw territory. Hawkeye gets smacked in the face with the collateral damage left in the wake of all his barreling-through life. And just when you think the worst has happened, something even more terrible punctuates this issue. A shift in tone, sure, but still one of the best superhero books coming out today.
Best-Worst Bait-&-Switch: Batman & Red Robin #19
So, Bruce Wayne sucks at grieving. The whole reason a Batman even exists is because a younger Bruce couldn’t let his parents’ death go. And when it’s his son who’s cruelly taken from him? Let’s just say that Batman’s denial reaches superheroic levels. This issue is part of DC’s WTF? Cover Month promotion and teases readers with a New 52 version of Carrie Kelley, the girl who became Robin in Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns. While the beats with Carrie serve the story, the best parts come from how Batman tries to deal with Damien Wayne’s death in a universe where people come back to life all the time. You might want to snicker at it but writer Peter Tomasi and artists Pat Gleason and Mick Gray strike just the right balance here.
Controversial But Cute, Too: Saga #12
Yes, yes, there was a ton of outrage and confusion following the blockage of Saga #12 from Apple's iDevices this week. The subsequent reversal and explanation didn't clear things up that much either. (Read this great take on that cycle of events by David Brothers.)