If I’ve had one problem with the past three issues or so of Hawkeye, it’s been that they haven’t really done anything for the plot of the book. The annual certainly doesn’t do anything for the overall plot either, but, it being an annual and all, that’s fine with me. What this book does is take Kate Bishop and does a full character study of who she is, and looks at all the people around her. And, what gets revealed is that, really, her life isn’t any less horrible than Clint’s. Her mentor is a disappointment, her father is a disappointment (I mean, he married someone three years older than Kate), and this really nice lady she meets is actually Madame Masque, so that’s another disappointment.
What’s wonderful about seeing Kate’s life collapse around her is that she handles it in the exact opposite way that Clint handles his life’s collapse. Instead of going int a period of perpetual despair, we instead get a story of how she goes on with her life, and, by the end, it’s an extraordinarily uplifting story. The annual also recaptures some of the magic that’s been lost in Hawkeye recently: the quirkiness of it. Kate’s character is quirky, and Matt Fraction writes her that way, so this book ends up being a lot of fun.
The best part about the book is probably Kate’s inner monologue – we get both the monologue, which is a lot of fun, and her facial expressions in the though box, and it’s great. And, as annoying as it is that this marks the third artist in as many issues, the art is great, and complements the book very well. It’s quirky and fun, and an all around great read,