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This Issue Has Harold H. Harold!: "Hawkeye #20"

Matt Fraction is leaving Hawkeye. It's just never gonna be the same.

Comics: Hawkeye
Publisher: Marvel
Price: $2.99
Writer: Matt Fraction, Annie Wu
Publication Date: 2014-11

Matt Fraction is leaving Hawkeye.

Let me explain this to you. You remember Babe Ruth, right? And what happened when he left the Red Sox to play for the Yankees? Well, it's sorta like that. But not quite, because I'm not saying that Marvel is going to be cursed or anything. I mean, have you seen how much money Guardians of the Galaxy is making?

It's more like when Conan O'Brien left The Simpsons. Remember how great The Simpsons used to be and now they kinda suck? Well, that all happened after Conan left. Of course, that's not quite the same either. Conan was never the sole writer for The Simpsons, and a lot of other people wrote a lot of good episodes, too. And things didn’t really hit bottom until Season 10 or 11 and Conan had been gone for a long time by then.

It's more like when Alan Moore left Swamp Thing. Yeah, that's about right. When Alan Moore started writing Swamp Thing stories what he did there caught everybody by surprise. The character wasn't new. He had already been in a couple of movies, for heaven's sake. And he was pretty well liked, just nothing really special. Then Alan Moore, and wow. So that when Moore left, it wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t even the end of the character. It was just never the same again.

So Matt Fraction is leaving Hawkeye and it’s just never gonna be the same.

This month's issue is the third to the last. Apparently, the final two issues are going to wrap up the storyline for Clint Barton -- the real, original, Avenging, movie-star, New York City Hawkeye. This issue stars Kate Bishop -- the real but imitation, wanna-be Avenging, private (will do light housekeeping) detective, Los Angeles Hawkeye. For the past few months, Fraction has been taking time about with these characters, these two Hawkeyes. If you had told me two years ago that Bishop and Barton were going to share space in the book, I would have been outraged. "Who're you kidding?" I would have asked you. Hawkeye is in the movies. They're not going to mess with him like that.

But boy, I'm glad they did.

Now, I've said before that Batman is a character that I always sort of looked up to. I could never be the Batman but I can understand and appreciate what he stands for. Peter Parker, Spider-Man, is another story. I have always identified with him. Bad luck? Overdeveloped sense of responsibility? Got it. So, Batman is the hero I admire. Spider-Man is the hero I identify with. Kate Bishop? She's the hero I would want to have as a friend.

Now, don't get me wrong. She would be a real pain-in-the-ass kind of friend, a more-like-an-annoying-little-sister-than-a-friend kind of friend. The kind that is always asking for favors, always needing to sleep over and borrow your car, and "can you please just help me out this once?"

But that's okay. When she does it, it's charming.

You see what I mean?

She's not the kind of friend you would want to have, but the kind of friend you get. I would go with Batman as the kind of friend I would want. Kate is the kind of friend I deserve. If I was Spider-Man, I would definitely want to hang with her. But just as friends.

So Matt Fraction is leaving Hawkeye. And not just one Hawkeye, but both Hawkeyes. Bart and Kate.

This is a good issue. Funny from page two. (Sushi girls. Trick arrow thumb drive. Zombie bellhops. Prank phone calls from Madam Masque.) Dangerous from page two. (Missing teeth. Family betrayals. Explosions. S.H.I.E.L.D.)

And Annie Wu is really good. She makes me laugh on cue. And feel the pain. Physical and mental.

I'm not so sure about her Harold H. Harold, though. She doesn't quite capture him the way that Gene Colan used to, back in the day, with Marv Wolfman and Dracula. But I'm not complaining. I mean this issue has Harold H. Harold! I've loved him since forever.

Come to think about it, I might have this thing all wrong.

Not-so-loveable loser? Can't be happy even when things go his way? Stumbling from one thing to another? Kind of guy that attracts friends like Kate?

Turns out I'm not Spider-Man after all.

Matt Fraction is leaving Hawkeye. Damn!


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