(Marvel Comics, 2014)
Written by Gerry Duggan
Artwork by Matteo Lolli
Color Artwork by Cris Peter
What happens when you pair up two of the most irreverent, quick-witted, fan favorite and downright entertaining characters Marvel has to offer? Wait! Before you answer that question let me add that the whole endeavor is being helmed by one of the most irreverent, quick-witted, fan favorite and downright entertaining writers Marvel has to offer; now, What would you say happens? Well don’t hurt your brain trying to figure this one out True Believers because the good people at the House of Ideas aka Marvel Comics have gone and made that exact fantastical conglomerate of fabulousness a reality. That’s right Hawkeye; the sarcastic archer meets Deadpool the malignant Merc with all the mouth in their very own mini-series written by none other than regular Deadpool Scribe who is anything but regular, jovial Gerry Duggan.
Deadpool has certainly had his share of team-ups and then some, in fact he even had a monthly on-going series that saw him paired with a different and sometimes obscure Marvel character every issue. Although it began as a buddy book of sorts featuring the mouthy Merc and Cable as his reluctant roving companion as they frolicked their way through one time traveling misadventure after another, it soon became a showcase for Deadpool’s uncanny ability to share the marquee with just about anyone and make a strong showing of it. Much of the weight was shouldered by DP and his penchant for turning a phrase and often our stomachs by the amount of gruesome damage he would sustain leaving it up to his overworked regenerating healing factor to make him whole by the end of the arc at the very latest. Throughout the 50 issue run, Deadpool shattered his body and the fourth wall with equal glee leaving little doubt that he could be counted on to boast sales as well as body counts.
Issue zero of Hawkeye vs. Deadpool has already left me anxious for number one; everything that we love about both of these extremely popular “heroes” and their respective solo monthlies is present in spades in this opening foray into what could potentially be the most entertaining team-up ever. If that sounds like high praise it’s because it is meant to, Gerry Duggan does a spot on perfect job of channeling Matt Fraction and his brilliant portrayal of Hawkeye, but it’s far more than a respectful homage to a fellow creative genius in this case. Duggan’s tip of the hat to Fraction includes cleverly using specific elements from his groundbreaking run such as Clint’s pet, the scrappy and loyal Pizza Dog as well as attention to character details like the loss of hearing Clint suffered in a recent issue of Hawkeye; these are the kinds of idiosyncratic subtleties that Duggan seamlessly works into his narrative to bridge both of the titular characters’ solo books thus creating an inclusive sense of these events happening in a single overarching universe. Of course Marvel knows a little something about successfully creating a single inclusive universe and that is exactly what makes this book so satisfying; it believably exists within the borders of an instituted, accepted and esteemed world. Duggan very astutely blends two books, their settings, supporting characters and nuances to craft a story that feels familiar while exciting because we have never seen these characters interact on such a personal and deep level before. There are equal parts Deadpool and Hawkeye at work in this issue, the elements that have endeared these characters and their solo series to us come together in a way that is thoroughly entertaining.
The premise and motivation of the narrative may seem deceptively simple but by the final page bombshell you will see that is not the case at all. There are some major players at work here and before all is said and done we are sure to see some very interesting appearances by some of Marvels’ bigger big baddies.
Visually, Matteo Lolli also does a fantastic job of melding the styles of both books. Lolli utilizes the heavy graphic design influence of David Aja to wonderful effect, particularly in one sequence where Lolli foregoes the use of traditional panels in favor of an Aja-like series of graphic images and icons. Christiane Peter’s bold use of dynamic colors that would not usually be called “vibrant” really works to punch up the already kinetic energy of the narrative. The electrified earth tones are bright yet somehow muted which is a perfect fit for the imagery of this book.
There is an underlying tension just barely contained beneath the surface of this tumultuous twosome, a kind of cantankerous contention that is sure to blow sooner rather than later and I for one cannot wait for the euphoric eruption of chaotic costumed conflict that is sure to ensue. This issue is a no brainer for fans of either or both of these crusading cut-ups. I loved every panel and page of this rollicking exercise in super hero shenanigans. So if you enjoy an exciting fun-filled escape this is without a doubt the way to go. (4.75/5)
Shawn is an aspiring writer/ artist who has been reading, collecting and living comic books for over 30 years. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, their son, lots of cats, dogs and other various finned and furry friends.