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REVIEW – Marvel Comics’ ‘Hawkeye: Kate Bishop’ #1

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Kate Bishop is one of my all-time favourite characters from Marvel. Ever since I read Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye series back in 2014, which I highly recommend (!!), I always cheer for Kate. I love and admire how she called Clint out on his BS in that run, and I love how she came more into her own confidence and skills as Hawkeye in Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s series. Her character arc and growth is one I’ve really enjoyed reading and following. So yes, not only am I looking forward to the Disney+ show, I’m thrilled to see that she’s back in her own comic run too!

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1 is available now at your local comic book shop! Spoiler Review! 

Marvel Comics Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1 Cover by Jahnoy Lindsay
Marvel Comics Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1 Cover by Jahnoy Lindsay

Writer: Marieke Nijkamp
Penciler: Enid Balám
Cover Artist: Jahnoy Lindsay
Kate’s heading home! Or at least, back to New York. And as much as she wants to go back to where her friends – her chosen family – are, she’s changed since she was last on the East Coast. So she’s picked up a pit stop case first. A confidence-booster, to prove to herself she’s making the right decision and not going to backslide into her past just by changing time zones. Besides, the case is perfect: Swanky resort? Check. Jewel heist? Check. Almost definitely 100% a trap? Check. Don’t miss this exciting new miniseries from New York Times bestselling writer Marieke Nijkamp and artist Enid Balám!

REVIEWThe Best Hawkeye is Headed back to NYC, but Not Before One More Adventure 

In Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1, we see Kate, aka the BEST Hawkeye, mustering up the morale to return to New York City. After spending time on the west coast, and running her own Private Investigator firm, it looks like she’s done avoiding her friends. I love how text messages were incorporated into this issue to demonstrate how there was an on-going conversation between Kate and her friends running in the background, whilst she was tackling bad guys. This really highlighted Kate Bishop’s personality. 

Marieke Nijkamp’s writing really captures Kate’s voice – her sense of humour, snark and confidence, which is further demonstrated by Enid Balám’s artistic style and Brittany Peer’s colour palette.  Kate’s range of motion and emotion, along with Lucky’s energy, were captured really well through Balám’s drawing of facial expressions and dynamic scenes. Peer’s colour palette is bright and rich, which I think adds to a feeling of familiarity. Lastly, Joe Caramagna’s lettering also contributes to the dynamic energy in this issue with illustrative SFX and the lively feel of text message in a group chat. I feel like Nijkamp’s writing introduces and establishes a more confident Kate Bishop, one who is more firm in her instincts. 

I’ve mentioned the text messages used in this issue already, but they’re a really nice way to show how other characters, like America Chavez, Cassie Lang, Jessica Jones and Clint Barton, are still in contact and part of Kate’s life. It sort of adds a touch of nostalgia on how far Kate Bishop’s story has come. And thus, it brings us to the mystery at the heart of this series. The past echoes. 

While Kate does decide to return to New York, it’s not before she takes one more scenic detour! She received a suspicious invitation to Resort Chapiteau in the Hamptons, and upon arrival, Lucky bolts for it. Kate chases Lucky down only to discover the reason for his sudden chase was because of her estranged sister, Susan. The way Balám organizes flashback panels as interspersed between the panels where Susan and Kate reunite effectively conveys how past tensions led to them falling out. But it also shows how each sister differs from one another, and how they’ve changed since last meeting. The use of black gutters similarly reflects how past tensions grew to a tipping point, which contracts to Susan’s need for Kate’s help presently. 

As Susan explains why she needs Kate’s help at the resort (to find an important missing signet ring), resort staff begin to converge on them. Susan grabs a wristband off a staff member and quickly  slips it onto Kate, which helps to deter being caught. And just when things begin to go awry, a scream cuts through the air, and a kid goes missing at the busy crowded pool area. The increasing stakes at the resort was kind of foreshadowed by an earlier two page spread of an aerial shot of the resort. It establishes how large the resort is, how busy it is, and potentially, how tight the space Kate and Lucky will be navigating in.The final page cuts to a mysterious hand pointing at security screens monitoring the sisters, confirming for the “experiment” to continue. And it’s here that I can’t help but get those eerie feelings akin to when I read things like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, or even Stuart Turton’s The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. In other words, what is going on?! What is up with Susan’s request for help? And what’s behind those doors within the resort? 

Overall, this issue was a lot of fun! I loved how Nijkamp and Balám had Kate in a few different outfits to show different sides of her personality. Her superhero costume in this series is athletic and practical, the outfit she wears when she’s leaving LA is comfy athleisure, and the outfit at the resort is a nice combination of the first two. This new adventure and mystery are intriguing, and what makes Kate Bishop the best Hawkeye is her problem/mystery solving skills. Once she’s on the case, she’s not going to give up. 

RATING – 5/5 Pocky

Pocky Rating 5
Erika Chung Profile pic min

Erika Chung is a fan of comics, pop culture and genre media. She’s also a grad student and her research interests are in comics, fan culture and the intersectionality of race and gender.

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