Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hawkeye #12 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

OK, I know that I said that I wanted us to focus on Clint again, but I was wrong.  The last few issues have been disappointing in part because they’ve been a little too experimental, making it difficult to see where Fraction is going with the larger plot.  (In fact, I'd have trouble at this point identifying the larger plot.  Something to do with the clown?  Isn't Clint supposedly working on some master plan?)  Although I certainly acknowledge that Fraction is likely to reveal how they’re all connected in an upcoming issue, retroactively making me appreciate them, it doesn’t mean that they’ve been fun to read in real time.

However, this issue is different.  Although a character study similar to ones dedicated to the clown and Pizza Dog, this issue is all about Clint, even if it technically starred Barney.  (Speaking of Pizza Dog, I do retroactively appreciate the panel from last issue where Pizza Dog associates Barney with Clint.  At the time, it was weird that he’d equate a bum with Clint, but now it all makes sense.  Again, I hope that everything else will make similar sense at some point.)

Barney has always been an enigma, a victim of way too many competing characterizations.  The description of his life on the title page – fake Avenger, carnie, crook, F.B.I. agent, victim, villain – is pretty much everything that you need to know.  Fraction gives us a significantly different Barney than the one we last encountered, in the “Hawkeye:  Blindshot” mini-series, where Barney donated his bone marrow but pledged to kill Clint the next time that they met.  Now, Barney’s a drunk taking money from bros and allowing them to wale on him.  He eventually appears on Clint’s doorstep to hugs, which doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you’d do to someone who pledged to kill, even if he is your brother.

Honestly, though?  I’m willing to accept whichever Barney Fraction wants to give us.  Given that he’s more than earned his right at this point to give us a definitive accounting of Hawkeye, I’m willing to extend that right to Barney.  In fact, Barney is in desperate need of someone like Fraction to give us that definitive portrayal.  As such, let's see what crazy antics the Barton brothers can find, shall we?

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