If you would have told me Hawkeye having his own solo series and being one of the best comics out on the stands before writer Matt Fraction took over, I think myself and most people would have thought of that as a joke. No offense to Hawkeye because I've always liked the character, but he's never been one to do well on a solo series. But after given this series new spin on Clint Barton, I was blown away at how fun, different, and unique Hawkeye is from most of the competition. And judging from the rest of the comic world, I think readers felt the same way.
Now that the whole comic world knows about Matt Fractions Hawkeye gaining critical success and sales (and I'm sure so has Marvel), it appears the series has even more freedom and experimentation about it then ever before. But does that it mean it has lost it's charm and become overblown from volume 1? Thankfully, no, because volume 2 of Hawk"guy" and his companion Hawk"eye" Kate Bishop is still a must read book.
HAWKEYE VOL.2: LITTLE HITS collects issues #6-11 and continues the life and story of Clint Barton during his down time/off hours from working with the Avengers. After having saved a fellow building attendant during the real life event of Hurricane Sandy, all of the trouble Clint got into from volume 1 is finally catching up to him. The tracksuit Russian mob wants vengeance from Clint driving away from their business, the mysterious red head comes back to Clint for a favor, and all of New York's mob bosses and super villains hire a killer clown to take out Clint--permanently. Oh, and every women Clint's ever been involved with hates his guts, including Kate. Yeah, this looks bad...
Fraction continues to make a stellar offbeat, crazy, and yet emotional comic unlike anything on the market. The freedom Fraction allows for Clint continues here as his usual snarky, witty, and aloof self get put through the wringer trying to save a father and son from Hurricane Sandy flooding and destroying a home, protecting his apartment building from the Bro-sputtering tracksuit Russians during 6 days of Christmas...err Kwanzaa; to helping the mysterious red head rob directly from the Russians; having a bad Valentines Day with Blackwidow, his ex-wife, his friend Girl?, and Kate herself. Every issue is a different piece of story in the life of Clint Barton and it is a pleasure to read.
And where would Clint be without his sidekick Kate Bishop...I mean, he's her sidekick. Kate doesn't quite get the panel time as much as Clint as volume 1, but she still has her moments and she continues to steal the show with her radiance, bold courage, and love-hate relationship with Clint. And getting into some of the same trouble as Clint. If Marvel decides to make another Hawkeye comic starring Kate under Matt Fraction, I'd buy it up in a heart beat.
Special mention goes to issue #10, which is all about a crazy clown killer. It's reasonably graphic, dark, and utterly serious part of the book that will carry over in the next volume.
Which leads us to Lucky, AKA Pizza Dog, gets all of issue #11 about him solving a crime about the clown killer. Utterly unique to see the life of a dog and his adventures that I simply cannot explain to you in written context. You just have to read this issue for yourself to understand.
And art duties continue to shine through David Aja's exceptional minimalist style art. It's a bit cartoony but it matches the tone of the book very well. Aja's unconventional art continues like the writing in that the panels art tiny and make work more like films storyboards then typical box panels in most comics today. And the art palettes are muted colors through out, with the color purple being a consistent tone in selected shots, either on Clint's clothing, foreground placement, or background shots. It is just a marvelous art style that is further enhanced and experimented on then volume 1. The 6 days of Christmas issue looks like a side-scrolling beat-em up video game, the women of Hawkeye has a 60's psychedelic vibe about it, and the Pizza Dog issue you'll be reading that multiple times to see all the detail a dog smells and hears. Utterly brilliant. And Francesco Francavilla does issue #10 on the killer clown in a uber creepy horror way, with Steve Lieber & Jesse Hamm do a great Aja impersonation on issue #7.
I don't have any real complaints about this book other then that this book is very unconventional. Just like volume 1, this series isn't a non-stop action book or have ties to other Marvel titles or anything like that. It is a book that is cut off from the rest of the Marvel Universe. And the change of direction with issue #10 is utterly different from the rest of the series and will go into volume 3. A direction I sort of hope doesn't follow.
HAWKEYE VOL.2: LITTLE HITS is still one of the best books on the comic/graphic novel market. Great characters, great stories, great art, and just an overall great series. If there is ever a series you should be reading, this is up there. I just hope the change in tone and direction doesn't hurt the series in Hawkeye Volume 3: L.A. Woman (Marvel Now). But considering how good this has been, I still believe it will be great...bro.