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Hawkeye Volume 4: Rio Bravo (Marvel Now) Paperback – August 18, 2015
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Volume #4 collects issues #17, #12-13, #15, #19 and #21-22, and in that order. While this sounds confusing, it reads easily enough when read as collected. The split between this volume and the third (L.A. Woman) is responsible for most of the non-standard order, and it may help to re-read L.A. Woman to remind yourself of what happened to Lady Hawkguy after she went out west.
I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that the volume lives up to the standard set by the previous three. The story, while ending in a way that keeps things open for the All-New Hawkeye run, wraps up beautifully. Fraction's writing is at its best when he's working with characters like Hawkeye, and this may be his best yet. David Aja's art is on-point as well, and he remains one of the best artists working in comics today. Issue #19 in particular is absolutely brilliant and is much like issue #11 of volume two.
There really is no reason not to purchase this if you have already read the first three volumes. Got it bro?
Now, I guess I should address the question: Was it worth the wait? Yes, of course. It is still the great series that Fraction and Aja had created, and fits in perfectly with the rest of series. The writing and artwork are still up to the same standard, and overall it is a fitting conclusion to their run on Hawkeye.
The book has issues #12-13,15,17,19,21 and 22 (if you want the rest, read Volume 3) and puts issue #17 in front....which links back to the issue #6 story that took place around Christmas. It's a rather thinly veiled re-cap of the series, or at least a good description of it in the form of a children's special. However, after that, the book jumps ahead with the plot lines that have been dropped since Volumes 2 and 3, and they mostly tie everything up. The Track-suit mafia is coming, and Clint and the rest of the tenets have to defend themselves. No police, and no Avengers will really be there to stop them.
One interesting twist that happens early on is that Clint brings in Barney, his older brother. A side complaint is that I'm not quite sure when they made up as siblings, since they get along fine for most of the book. Not that I'm complaining about siblings getting along, it's just....that wasn't their history as I'm aware of it, so I would've appreciated a recap of their history or a reference to something recent that caused this change. They also bring up the fact that Clint is actually deaf, and it's rather interesting to see how they weave in signing and lip reading into the narrative. There are hints of that before in the Fraction/Aja run, but nothing as blatant as it is now.
Overall, if you are a fan of Hawkeye (either one or both), then this is for you, but only if you've read Volumes One, Two, and Three. It really builds on plotlines starting from issue one, and Volume Three is ABSOLUTELY necessary to get what is going on or why certain panels are in there. I do feel like it could've been ended stronger, and doesn't pack the same punch, but all in all a fantastic story.
To avoid spoilers I'm keeping this review short. Here's what you most need to know:
This volume is the most serious of all of them. It takes the story up a notch and onto a level it hadn't touched before. It also managed to wrap up the current storyline, and borrowing from Kate's adventures in LA, sets up the next one.
Clint's relationship with his brother and the women in his life is expanded upon, and our hero finally realizes what it means to really lean on someone, and he finally accepts it, though he still has a lot of work to do in that department. He also discovers what it means to be a hero- at least for him- and rises to the title. There are also flashback scenes that give an in-depth view of his family and history.
While Kate's a bit busy for the majority of this story, she's not around very much. While I did miss her presence, new characters filled the gap nicely.
Overall, this was an amazing end to an amazing series. I can't wait to see where the character goes and plan to pick up volume five sometime in the near future.
Fraction's run is based on a simple idea: what does this Avenger do when he's not being an Avenger? Simple: he's the interim manager/owner guy of his apartment building. Unfortunately, some generic Eastern European bros want his building for some high end development, and Clint Barton finds himself in the middle of a Western-style range war, in the middle of NYC. For background, you owe it to yourself to read the first two volumes (volume 3 is about Kate Bishop's solo adventure in California); this volume brings in Clint's brother, Barney, and cameos from the various superheroines who have factored in Hawkeye's love life (and an unwelcome cameo from the non-superheroine who appeared in volume 1).
Great story, making this Avenger a guy we can all relate to. Hawkeye's story is just another example of how you do have to have the most impressive powers to be the fan favorite.