Hawkeye's wild ride continues as this issue details the mad schemings of Zemo in his crazed attempt at revenge on Clint Barton for the role Barton played in foiling Zemo's plans surrounding the Thunderbolts. On the surface it appears to be a simple revenge story, but Jim McCann layers in other stories. The apparent return of Hawkeye's brother, Barney Barton (yeah, I know), the death of Hawkeye's mentor, the occipital blindness threatening to steal Hawkeye's sight, and the phantom flashbacks that accompany the occipital blindness – all of these factors layer upon one another to stack up to some highly unfavorable odds.
Hawkeye, however, is one character that always plays well against the odds. A skilled marksman, gifted athlete, and capable thinker, Hawkeye is challenged by what is put before him here. It's a great read, despite the deceptively simple plot. McCann puts us in Hawkeye's thoughts as he tries to balance past and present, wrestling with ghosts that become more and more real as his condition worsens.
This issue showcases a trio of artists to render slices of life from the adventures of everyone's favorite avenging archer. Valentine De Landro opens the book up with a three-page sequence that reveals some secrets of how we got to this point, while Paco Diaz delivers highly-detailed, strongly-framed art for Hawkeye's tussle with his brother, who is now operating under the moniker of Trickshot. Lee Weeks adds some fabulous art for flashback sequences that left me wanting to see much, much more of Weeks and the Avengers. Soon. The mesh of artists works surprisingly well for the different aspects of the storyline. Unfortunately, the different styles and palettes of the trio of colorists didn't blend as well. Each colorist definitely has strengths different from one another, and each clearly was tasked with a specific mood to set, but Tomeu Morey's colors seemed much more harsh and, in some points, quite garish. Added to the top of Diaz's art, it was almost too much.
This third issue of the most recent Hawkeye miniseries offers a great deal of character insight, dramatic action, wonderful art, and a trainload of suspense. McCann has openly professed affection for this character, and it shines through on every page, encouraging his collaborators to submit their best work as well. I am unaware of Hawkeye's next landing spot following the next issue of this series, but for now, I've just excited that there is a next issue and I'm looking forward to that one.