The story shows us six December days in Hawkeye’s life…out of order. The reader, then, must piece everything together along the way, kind of like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. It’s a book that respects your intelligence enough to ask you to pay attention. Then you read it again and admire the subtleties and subtext.
Appropriately for a holiday issue, the theme is home. Specifically, Clint has recently moved into an apartment—he’s even bought the whole building—and he needs to embrace his new home and resist his usual impulse to run away to the next thing. There’s also the faintest whiff of It’s a Wonderful Life, as Clint learns about his own value, too.
“I know it’s a mess and it’s half-taped together and it’s old and busted—but it’s mine. And you gotta make that work, right? You gotta make your own stuff work,” Clint says late in the chronology but early in book, before we know exactly what he’s talking about.
David Aja’s art is terrific throughout. He’s a master of incorporating tiny panels into his layouts, which I imagine must be a significant challenge for any comic book artist. However, the most memorable image is a full-page splash panel of Hawkeye getting ready to defend his home. Clint appears small in the lower foreground, and a fairly bland apartment building consumes most of the page, with only snow breaking it up. It’s a wonderful image that encapsulates what the issue is all about.
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Hawkeye vol. 2: Little Hits (TPB)
Appropriate For: ages 15 and up