I may come to regret this statement, but Satellite Sam really is the bee’s knees. It’s serious, thoughtful, never silly. Fraction doesn’t mess around with it. Every scene is beautifully plotted–who knew Howie Chaykin had this kind of work left in him–and perfectly reasoned. It’s not just a consistently good read, it’s a consistently exceptional read.
This issue might be the series’s best so far. Fraction isn’t continuing the investigation into the old Satellite Sam’s photography habits, he’s starting up a bunch of new story lines (while still continuing directly from the previous issue). It’s comics as TV, with a new season starting here and Fraction and Chaykin deliver the goods.
The issue is full of loud and quiet moments, which is why it needs Chaykin. It needs someone who knows how to make those moments work in a sequential narrative.
It’s relatively uneventful; a muted, outstanding success.
Women in Trouble; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.
How stupid can Clint get? Thanks to Aja’s page layouts, it’s hard to tell. The art’s beautiful, but the way Aja does flashes–rapidly cut comics–it’s unclear if he was really dumb or if the bad guy was just good. Fraction wants the reader to think Clint’s dumb, to make him lovable. That arrangement is strange–it means the reader can’t truly root for the protagonist.
This issue also has a fairly big Big Lebowski vibe thanks to Clint’s brother hanging around. It’s more Lebowksi than “Rockford.” It needs to be the other way around. Fraction’s got three guest stars popping in to tell Clint he’s stupid. Too many.
Otherwise, of course, the issue’s a delightful read. Fraction has a great pace, great twists, great everything. He can’t visualize the story through his protagonist’s perspective. It also could be the incredibly fractured narrative.
Fraction’s hit the ceiling with Clint.
Fun and Games; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Once again, why is Matt Fraction even writing Clint Barton issues of Hawkeye when he’s got the opportunity to write these Kate issues.
It’s a done-in-one, “Rockford” style detective issue. Kate comes across a guy walking down the freeway, discovers he’s got a story (sixties rock legend turned burnout) and tries to help him. Things do not go particularly well, but they go badly in very amusing ways. Plus, Kate develops as a character throughout, between her neighbors, the angry police chief and her supermarket P.I. mentor. It’s all so awesome, one would think Fraction wouldn’t want to write Clint anymore either.
I won’t even get into how movie-ready a nineteen year-old, female superhero would be for Disney.
Nice art from Annie Wu, who gets in some nice psychedelic poster art influences–doing a flashback with a guy’s face as the guide, for example.
Recording Tape; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Fraction and Chaykin go for a rather distinct–and mature audiences–sight gag to repeat through the comic. There’s really some great art from Chaykin, who takes three people through hearing or seeing uncomfortable or unwelcome news and events. The whole thing is in their expressions and he nails every one of them.
It makes up for the second of the visual gags being a little too tacked on. It’s not easy because Fraction and Chaykin go out of their way to make it uncomfortable, but it’s tacked on. With so many subplots, Fraction’s going to have at least one weak one.
As for the main plot, the mystery of Satellite Sam, Fraction isn’t concentrating on it. Oh, sure, there’s investigating this issue, but that investigation has more to do with the investigators than the mystery. It’s fine, just a little drawn-out.
Some beautiful Chaykin cityscapes this issue too.
Jobs; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.
I think it was Ed Brubaker who described “Veronica Mars” as ‘“The Rockford Files” in high school.’ Well, with Kate front and center in L.A., Fraction has turned Hawkeye into ’“The Rockford Files” with a sort of superhero."
The Annie Wu art is a nice fit for Kate’s first case, trying to track down some orchids–Fraction maintains a sense of humor as well as danger. Whether it’s Clint or Kate, Hawkeye always feels like a dangerous book. They might get hurt. Or some cool supporting cast member will get killed.
Fraction manages to tie the odd case into some of the bigger plots going on, all while introducing another subplot for Kate. It’s a nice issue, even if it goes on a little long. There’s also character problem. Fraction writes Kate a lot better than he writes Clint.
Fraction should just give her the book at this point.
L.A. Woman; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat, Devin Lewis and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Once again, it’s very hard to follow a lot of Satellite Sam. Fraction has a cast list at the open, but it’s not enough. He needs to keep the cast blurbs for when the people show up in the action story instead.
For example, the issue opens with the lead actress (I think) meeting her crappy mother-in-law for the first time. Then the story moves to something about the broadcasting network, then to some writer getting fired for an indiscretion, then to the other writers (maybe), then to the series’s ostensible lead.
Fraction’s writing is so good, not remembering people doesn’t matter. It always feels like you’re tuning into a great TV show you haven’t been watching with enough attention, but with Chaykin–even though his art on Sam is good–his faces aren’t distinctive.
I love Sam; though it’s clearly meant to be read in a trade.
Cookiepusher; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.
Yawn. Why yawn? Because Fraction doesn’t have a story. He’s still explaining the Force. Sorry, the Quiet. In Sex Criminals, it’s the Quiet. It’s where our too cool leads go when they orgasm and then they do all sorts of stuff. Like rob banks or hangout at adult bookstores.
Fraction goes on and on with the guy’s life story and only gets up to him being like fifteen. None of it’s particularly interesting, but it’s all supposed to be very funny. And it might have been funny back in 1993 before Clerks, certainly before Superbad.
There’s also the situation with the female protagonist. She’s always making these little asides to the reader, but without forcing her personality on everyone, Fraction doesn’t realize she’s boring.
He’s got a concept, a cast and absolutely nowhere to go with it. Worse, the issue reads way too fast since he’s trying to hide stuff.
Come, World; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Chip Zdarsky; colorists, Christopher Sebela and Zdarsky; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.
Why did it take Fraction so long to get to this issue? It’s Grills’s funeral; didn’t Grills die in issue nine or ten? Then there was the brother issue, the dog issue, a Kate issue or two… and Fraction doesn’t acknowledge the time spent reading them. He acknowledges their existence, sure, but he doesn’t take into account the reader having been waiting for this issue.
I’m not sure if it’s because he figures it’ll eventually all be collected or if he really does just want to confound the reader.
Worse, he sells he. Aja does the heavy lifting, of course–for a “simple” book, Aja’s narrative design makes Hawkeye work and it does. It works better than it has in ages.
But a series on its thirteenth issue maybe shouldn’t feel like one I’ve been reading–or waiting to read–for ages. Fraction needs straighten this one out.
The U in Funeral; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Sex Criminals is about a young woman whose orgasms cause her to enter some sort of time-slowed state where, or so the very soft cliffhanger implies, she commits crime with her boyfriend, who has the same power.
I’m more curious if Matt Fraction was implying she doesn’t have a college education. There was a scene with her and the guy talking and it left that impression. She reads all the books an American lit major would read. The literary references are Criminals’s weakest point, Fraction’s trying too hard.
He does a lot of nice moves through the narrative, with the protagonist telling her story and it jumping back, forward, back, forward. It flows nicely. It’s just kind of shallow. So far, Fraction only has the MacGuffin. Who cares if the protagonist wants to save her public library from the evil local bank?
Chip Zdarsky’s art’s a perfect fit though.
Suzie Down in the Quiet; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Chip Zdarsky; colorist, Becka Kinzie; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.
Fraction goes all out. It’s also the loosest Chaykin art so far; still looks good, but there’s definitely a hurried “quality” about it.
But the story? Amazing. Fraction’s bringing all the pieces together. He’s got Michael–Satellite Sam’s son–teaming up with Kara–the former squeeze–talking and finding out a bunch of things, making a mystery story all of a sudden.
He’s also running full power with the TV plot and machinations going on. There are the guys fighting about the FCC coming to power–with some tawdriness thrown in, which actually is the closest the issue comes to humor, even it’s sad at the same time.
One of the studio guys gets transfixed on video feedback; that one might be funnier, though it’s a tad disquieting too.
Plus Fraction’s got a flashback of the titular (dead) guy and the girl’s awful trip back from Mexico.
Full, awesome issue.
Percha; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.
Wait, didn’t the dog go the California? Last time I suggested Fraction should release a guide to understanding his plotting for Hawkeye but at this point I think the word is “needs.” It’s all so confusing.
Clint’s brother shows up and gets into a fight with the gangsters. Now, this fight ties into at least the last issue but maybe one or two before that one.
Most of the issue is just Barney–Clint’s brother–flashing back to their childhood while he tries to get money to get drunk. He also kicks some butt–including in scenes Fraction previously implied were Clint (I think).
It’s a really good issue. Fraction has figured out how to do the Brubaker done-in-one issue with a side character, even if he does try way too hard to tie it in.
Francavilla does quite well on the art, especially on the childhood flashbacks.
Writer, Matt Fraction; artist and colorist, Francesco Francavilla; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Fraction and Aja tell the issue from the dog’s perspective. I’d forgotten Clint even had a dog. Luckily there’s the text recap.
So, there’s a whole visual language for the dog, how he encounters the world–with image memories like street signs and so on–based on smell mostly. I doubt there’s ever been a comic so much about smell.
And it’s really cool. The dog runs into people he doesn’t like, he makes a new friend, it’s really cool. For a while.
But then there’s the narrative. The clown guy is apparently in Clint’s building hiding out with an evil old lady, it’s still unclear if Clint knows Grills is dead, and then Kate moves to California. Also, unclear why clown guy hasn’t attacked Clint as lots of time seems to pass this issue.
It’s really cool, but cool doesn’t make up for Fraction’s insistence on bewildering the reader.
Pizza is My Business; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Are the goods back? They’re on their way, it certainly seems. Francesco Francavilla does the art this issue, which feels like Fraction took a page out of the Brubaker play book. He follows around the clown faced villain, who goes after Kate.
It’s unclear why the villain goes after Kate, except maybe to be an even worse villain who torments the heroes.
The villain’s not a bad choice, he just feels like a Garth Ennis Punisher villain. Eastern European, dead family, not supervillain costume but something disquieting. The bigger issue might be just out of teenage years Kate Bishop being all hot to trot for him.
And then Fraction jumps back to the previous issue and explains a couple things about Clint’s thought process. It’s a shocker… and Fraction’s finally not playing Clint as the heel this issue.
I still don’t know why Fraction’s fracturing the timeline, except for effect.
Writer, Matt Fraction; artist and colorist, Francesco Francavilla; letterers, Chris Eliopoulos and Clayton Cowles; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Apparently Clint isn’t irresistibly attracted to the redhead, he’s just a man slut. It’s also unclear if he’s fired from the Avengers.
His lady friends–Black Widow, Mockingbird, Spider-Woman–are worried about him. Both because he’s a man slut and because he’s in danger, only Fraction skips around to avoid looking at the in trouble part and sticking to the relationship stuff with Spider-Woman.
For the first time with Hawkeye, I don’t get it. I can’t see what Fraction’s trying to do. Aja’s artwork is amazing, but having Clint be this depressed guy who’s a fifth wheel in his own comic? And the redhead doesn’t even hang around. She leaves town–Fraction obviously has an internal logic to how the events occur, but since he–pardon the phrase–fractures the narrative, he’s asking a lot of the reader.
He doesn’t bring the goods this issue. It’s too bad.
Girls; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Tom Brennan, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.