You had to see this coming, right? As announced yesterday at C2E2 2012, Marvel is launching a brand new ongoing Hawkeye series, sending the archer to the mean streets of New York, and taking the Young Avengers own Hawkeye – Kate Bishop – under his wing. The best part? The series reunites writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, from the fan favorite The Immortal Iron Fist series. We chatted with Fraction about the announcement, what it’s like to write the opposite of Iron Man, and how many issues he and Aja are committed to (hint: it’s a LOT):
MTV Geek: I’m curious about the tone of the book, as it almost seems to be taking Hawkeye in the opposite direction of where he is in both Secret Avengers and Avengers Assemble… Humanizing him, rather than making him into a leader or over-the-top superhero.
Matt Fraction: Could not BE more opposite, yeah. This is… what, like, HAWKEYE as Stephen J. Cannell show. Street level in a very real way. I want to tell stories about a guy that does good not because it's his job, but because it's what he has to do to get to sleep at night. And he's very excellently covered elsewhere in the Marvel U… These kinds of stories aren't, especially for Clint Barton.
Geek: You and David Aja are, of course, known for Immortal Iron Fist – and one of the fan-favorite aspects of that series was how you guys really expanded the mythology behind his powers. With Iron Man, you also opened up his world, adding new tech, new villains, and pushing him to the bleeding edge. Hawkeye, on the other hand, is just a guy. So how do you approach that, widening and expanding his world? Or is it more about a razor sharp focus on one dude with a bunch of arrows?
MF: Well, that's the book -- his history, his absolutely unique batch of experiences, his seedy upbringing and familiarity with the small-scale world of crime, evil, and wickedness that the big-budget blockbuster world of AVENGERS/etc. don't have the bandwidth for… So we'll be digging into what being raised by a bunch of carny thieves and criminals does to a guy. What Clint knows about Seedy would fill a phonebook. And we're going to be meeting a Clint that can weaponize anything -- he's more than just the arrow guy.
The bow-and-arrow is a lot like how Stark used to be with his ever-present suitcase full of armor. A bit impractical day-to-day...
Geek: I’m pretty excited Kate Bishop is in this book, but she and Clint haven’t really always seen eye to eye. What prompts the team-up, and what’s their relationship going to be like?
MF: I loved writing her, and her-and-Clint, in a YOUNG AVENGERS special I did with Alan Davis a while back; this extends their relationship from there. They're mentor-student, master-apprentice. It's very AVENGERS-- Steed and Peel-- to me. She calls him on all of his crap, and he does the same for her. The tension between them is borne of respect; between the two of them they make a whole person. We could've called the book HAWKEYES.
Geek: For this, I see you’ve moved over to the Wacker office, which is, of course, run by “Street-Savvy” Steve and “Two-Fisted” Tom Brennan… Are we going to see Hawkeye operating in the same part of the Marvel U as Punisher, Daredevil, and Spider-Man? And will there be any interaction between them, if so?
MF: We still publish Spider-Man?
Geek: Ha! Okay, let’s talk villains here… Hawkeye doesn’t really have too much of a rogues gallery, other than his brother. In fact, I looked up a wiki entry on “Hawkeye Villains,” and all it said was, “There is no text on this page.” So… Are we going to see a development of a rogues gallery here? Or is he just shooting arrows at generic drug dealers?
MF: We're growing a whole world with which Clint is familiar, as well as finding the right guys with which to clash. Keep your eyes peeled early; hints abound. Nobody's just generic in this book.
Geek: On the other hand, ol’ Clint has a pretty long roster of lovely ladies he’s wined and dined… Are we going to see Mockingbird, or maybe current flame Jessica Drew turning up at all?
MF: Eventually. And we'll be figuring out how tenable a friends-with-benefits relationship with Jessica will go.
Geek: I probably should have asked this up top, but: why Hawkeye? What draws you to him as a character?
MF: I saw stories I've never done before, with a character I'd barely written but love, in a world we don't explore often, and it was with David Aja. In other words: almost everything that brought me to IRON FIST, too.
Geek: Are you and David on this for the long haul? Or is there a definitive arc you have planned here… And if so, what does this mean for your other titles?
MF: David and I are committed to 1,000 issues. How many are YOU committed to?
Geek: Oh boy… Just to wrap up, what’s cool, exciting, or different about this book that’s going to get fans hooked on Hawkeye?
MF: "Just to wrap up," listen to you.
The coolest guy on the Avengers, the coolest guy in THE AVENGERS, gets his own series that's got David Aja doing the work of his career, exploring seedy, grungy, crime-riddled pockets of the Marvel U. His parter is young, incredibly gifted, rich, and beautiful. He's driven, relentless, and capable of turning anything around him into a weapon, compelled to make the world a better place because it's just so damn awful otherwise. Also he gets a dog.