Nick Spencer: props. Props for actually understanding how Hawkeye is supposed to work. He’s on a black ops team. They’ve got specific orders to kill the Scientist Supreme. And Hawkeye just won’t play along. He’ll go on the mission, but the first chance he gets he blows his cover to save Black Widow, just the kind of choice an Avenger should make.
What makes the interaction more fun is the varied response from Hawkeye’s teammates. Black Widow knows Clint and just goes along, figuring it is not a big deal; she’ll take care of it herself. Nick Fury Jr. is insulted that Hawkeye can just consider himself “above” killing. Fury is a soldier, not a super hero, and he has no qualms about taking out the target.
Jim Rhodes is getting a lot of respect in these pages, which is nice to see. He’s a senior hero and the best example of a good soldier/hero in comics, so I liked seeing him take ownership of a role he was meant for. I think Marvel might just be maneuvering him into the Iron Patriot armor, though.
Spencer has some nice interplay between the core team and backup players Mockingbird and Taskmaster, but I still found myself unsatisfied while reading this book. When you’ve got AIM’s super-villain team of bosses that includes the evil Black Widow, Mentallo, Taskmaster, and Graviton, I WANT TO SEE THOSE VILLAINS. Instead, there are an amazing number of pages dedicated to Maria Hill and some random UN dudes talking about who should be in charge of SHIELD.
Honestly, maybe it is just me. Is this what people want from their Avengers comics? Or their SHIELD comics?
Luke Ross’ pencils are as dynamic as ever. I found myself really impressed at his faces for Daisy Johnson and Maria Hill until I realized they were just about the same. I also recognize how well Ross draws the Super Soldier costume on Fury Jr. and Black Widow in her suit. Imagine if he was drawing Hawkeye’s real costume? Or we actually saw those villains in more than a panel each?
This is another comic where I love the cast, I love the villains, and the writing is competent, but the pacing and the actual story on the pages is lacking. It is like the comic book industry is TRYING to spend time on the boring stuff between fights. Any media can do talky and stand around. Only comics can bring an insane level of action on every page.
(I should note that I don’t NEED insane action every page, but I need more than is in this FAIR comic.)