Tyler’s Recommendations: Karnak #1
“He’s not an Inhuman. He never took the mutagenic Terrigen mists like the other Inhumans. He’s a dementedly intense philosopher who can see the flaw in anything — objects, systems, ideas, people — and strike that flaw in order to destroy it.” -Warren Ellis on Karnak “
The first half of Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series ends with Clint Barton in a rather low mood. So low a mood in fact that his partner/protégé/pep talker Kate Bishop (aka also Hawkeye) has had enough. Swearing herself done with all his self-destructive behavior, she packs in her gear, grabs his dog Lucky and drives out to the West Coast. Kate figures that the trip will be the restorative she so desperately needs. After all, she is equally fed up with her rich, lay-about father who recently married one of Kate’s classmates (OK, Heather was three years older, but still). All Kate wants is a clean bungalow, fresh air and bright sun. Once she clears her mind of all this self-involved negative energy, she can determine what the perfect step-forward is for Kate Bishop.
The problem with life is that we so rarely get to choose the perfect next move, having usually to settle for good enough. Even for those of us who aren’t Clint Barton, wallowing in our breakfast cereal, past events have a tendency to circle back around to bite us in rather sensitive spots. During one of her first team-ups with Clint, Kate ran afoul with the criminal Madame Masque. In addition to defeating her, Kate also embarrassed her in the process. Masque does not take such slights lightly. Thus as soon as Kate is in Masque’s home turf of Los Angeles, the wheels of conspiracy start turning. Credit cards are immediately denied, causing her car to be towed, while still containing all of her stuff. Initially a kind stranger offers lodging for Kate, only Kate pieces together that it is Masque herself. Kate is able to slip out from her nemesis’ clutches only to find herself and Lucky pretty much desolate. An agreement to cat-sit lands her a roof over her head in the form of a trailer on the beach. If she truly wants to survive the City of Angels, she is going to need a new source of livelihood ASAP. (And no, caving in and calling either her dad or Clint is not an option).
With word that the final issue of Matt Fraction & David Aja’s Hawkeye will arrive after the series has gone into a state of constant delays over the last year and that its replacement is coming hell or high-water in March of 2015, it’s a possibility we’ve seen the last issue of the series already or, best case scenario, we will see the final issue within the next couple months. Writer Matt Fraction has turned in his final script and appears to have moved on from Marvel for the time being, while artist David Aja has remained relatively quiet save for next issue’s preview going up last month. I’ve gotten over eagerly anticipating each new issue to accepting that it, in one way or another, it will soon be over. And I’m fine with that. Most expectations had Hawkeye lasting under ten issues and originally I had no interest in checking out the book as I had long since soured on Matt Fraction as a writer by the time the series debuted. But persuasion and curiosity got the best of me, and I’m glad it did because Hawkeye would turn out to be the best and most influential superhero comic of the last five years, setting a new bench mark and helping shift the landscape of Marvel & DC comics for the better. It showed a new spin on an old character that was refreshing, modern and universal by focusing squarely on the humanism of its protagonist. Hawkeye was the most extraordinary ordinary comic of its time and it achieved that with a simple elegance that was singular to its creators and the nation of fans who fell in love with the book.