Want to know what covers caught our attention this week?
Curious what our eyes fell in love with at first sight?
Well, here they are, the most memorable images on the stands this Wednesday . . .
Cosmo feels the heat of . . .
by Matt Fraction & David Aja
“See? I listened. It comes back to you in the end”
“I am right way more than you people give me credit for” Continue reading This Weeks Finest: Hawkeye #22
With word that the final issue of Matt Fraction & David Aja’s Hawkeye will arrive after the series has gone into a state of constant delays over the last year and that its replacement is coming hell or high-water in March of 2015, it’s a possibility we’ve seen the last issue of the series already or, best case scenario, we will see the final issue within the next couple months. Writer Matt Fraction has turned in his final script and appears to have moved on from Marvel for the time being, while artist David Aja has remained relatively quiet save for next issue’s preview going up last month. I’ve gotten over eagerly anticipating each new issue to accepting that it, in one way or another, it will soon be over. And I’m fine with that. Most expectations had Hawkeye lasting under ten issues and originally I had no interest in checking out the book as I had long since soured on Matt Fraction as a writer by the time the series debuted. But persuasion and curiosity got the best of me, and I’m glad it did because Hawkeye would turn out to be the best and most influential superhero comic of the last five years, setting a new bench mark and helping shift the landscape of Marvel & DC comics for the better. It showed a new spin on an old character that was refreshing, modern and universal by focusing squarely on the humanism of its protagonist. Hawkeye was the most extraordinary ordinary comic of its time and it achieved that with a simple elegance that was singular to its creators and the nation of fans who fell in love with the book.
Perhaps one of the most underrated aspects of Matt Fraction & David Aja’s Hawkeye series has been it’s adaptability. While there is a definitive thematic and aesthetic through line for the series it’s also a book that was able to tell it’s story from the perspective of a dog, a Russian assassin, around a funeral or base it around a recent natural disaster and not miss a beat. So while I’m fond of using terms like heart or humor to describe the series issue 21 is something else and that’s pure unadulterated action. It’s not that it’s missing it’s heart because that’s been built up so much in the series prior that it carries over but it’s focus is on literal full scale battle over an apartment building of it’s tenants versus the mafia goons that own it. The issue is a live wire with some of artist David Aja’s best work on the series and it does a great job of cutting between scenes to build up it’s tension. If you’ve listened to the War Rocket Ajax podcast where Fraction talks about Die Hard you know that he’s a film buff and this issue is the most cinematic one yet. It’s similar to Moon Knight #5 but done in the Hawkguy aesthetic and it comes out of a much different premise. I’ve said it enough times that Hawkeye is an amazing series and this feels like the true culmination of everything that happened prior and everything that the series was about. Hawkeye is a truly special comics series and to see it end so perfectly is about as satisfying as it get’s.
The beginning of a new year is often a time for reflecting on connections between past and present, allowing us to recall how we have reached our present point. After all, none of us exist in a vacuum. Whether it is through acceptance, rejection or (more likely) a complex combination of the two, who we are is a reaction to what has already passed. Comic books, with their never-ending narratives, are a good example of this principle. Each new creative team picks up where the previous left off, free to add, subtract or straight-up ignore as much as they (and/or editorial) desire. At the same time, regardless of how much alteration may occur, there remains a sense of continuation with the past, the impression each creator leaves on a character’s history.
Comics, like film, are in their essence a visual medium, and one of the purest examples of this are the covers which grace each issue. They announce to us what expect from a given title, evoking the tone and mood of the story within. They sometimes form our first impression of a series, inspiring us to pick up something from the shelves that we wouldn’t have considered otherwise. In other words, they play a vital part in our experience of comics.
So, for my post today, I have compiled a list of the covers which stood out for me as the best of 2013. I have separated them into two groups: a top tier of ten, followed by a second set of runners-up. Within each grouping the titles are arranged alphabetically. I’ll admit that narrowing down this list was not as easy I thought it would be. Even with 20 entries, it could have easily run longer. At the end of the day, however, having too much outstanding art to pick from is never a problem, but something to be savored.