Today, we take an unusual sidestep with our review. Not in the fact that we review something in a different way, but in the way that a different person occupies the purple boots of June’s celebrated hero. I found myself shocked and occasionally awed by the sharp contrast.
Dark Reign was a major Marvel crossover in which the entire hierarchy of the Marvel universe got flipped on it’s head. At the end of Secret Invasion (a Marvel event where aliens infiltrated and tried to take over Earth) all seemed as if it was lost. Norman Osborn, formerly the Green Goblin and currently the leader of the Thunderbolts takes one shot that kills the Skrull queen and simultaneously begins Dark Reign. The Government drops all ties to Tony Stark and S.H.E.I.L.D. (the original government super-defense force). They promote Osborn to be the leader of the new government defense force, H.A.M.M.E.R. Obviously the American government just LOVES acronyms. As the leader of global defense, Osborn makes an odd move and sets himself up as the leader of the Avengers. He dons an Iron Man suit with Captain America’s symbol on it, hoping to capture all of the nostalgia that he can muster. As the Iron Patriot, Osborn sets about making his own “Dark Avengers” from the “reformed” criminals on the Thunderbolts. He orders Venom to change his form from the brooding monster we all know and love to more of a black Spiderman look. He gets buy in from various government super heroes who just want to serve their country. However, the most interesting move he makes is who he assigns the Hawkeye moniker to.
Dark Reign: Hawkeye is a mini-series/Dark Reign tie-in written by Andy Diggle. As discussed previously, Hawkeye is an excellent marksman. That is his “power.” He shoots trick arrows and aims well and that puts him in the big leagues with the likes of Captain America, Giant Man, and Thor. You may think that sounds ridiculous, but you may also have never read the stories that I have. I’m recalling a situation where Hawkeye shoots the Hulk in the eye with a sedative arrow to put him to sleep while being pulled out of a helicopter because Hulk’s eye is his only weak spot. That, to me, is super.
Who could wear his costume? What criminal could play the part of Hawkeye correctly? None other than Bullseye! Yes, that Bullseye.
Bullseye is everyone’s favorite homicidal maniac with the perfect aim to make everything and I mean everything a weapon. Why not bows and arrows then? Bullseye can kill you with a mechanical pencil from 10 feet away, so imagine how terrifying he is with a bow. That was kind of my favorite thing about issue 1. Hawkeye was just running around shooting things and looking like a hero and then his morality begins to decline. Clint Barton is notoriously non-lethal and Bullseye is quite the opposite. People drop like flies when a big robot lands on a bus and “Hawkeye” is happy about it! As the issue continues, he kills and kills and kills. It’s not even the body count that gives me pause. It’s that you can visibly see the character calm down in situations where he is able to take lives. Add to the fact he is dressed like our hero of the month and it gets real creepy. Thank God that this creepiness drives the comic book mini-series because the big spy story is boring and the side story with Ben Urich, Daily Bugle reporter extraordinaire, is less than engaging.
I know it is sick to say, but the “Bullseye kills people” moments are really the intrigue to this series. It is only 5 issues long and each stylized kill leaves you wondering what he will do next, but ultimately not worrying about what is going on outside of each battle. Bullseye is a wonderful character, no matter who writes him. His manic style is infectious and you find yourself with your hands up in the roller coaster car with him. Whether Bullseye is a better Hawkeye than Clint Barton remains to be seen, but he makes this book. Diggle’s spot-on character portrayal is the reason you should give Dark Reign: Hawkeye a read. It will certainly give you a look at a “different” Hawkeye than usual.
~ Scott Deaux ~