After moving into an apartment in NYC and giving up all the space I had at my parents house, I’ve been trying my hardest to read comics in trade since I get more story at once, they look wonderful on my bookshelf, and it takes up less space overall! I have been loving Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye series for Marvel so when the third trade was released it immediately moved to the top of my list of things to buy at Midtown Comics.
The third volume of Hawkeye includes the Hawkeye Annual #1, and issues #14, #16, #18, and #20. The reason it’s divided as such is because it focuses on Kate Bishop (and Pizza Dog) leaving NYC and Clint Barton behind after he screws up (surprise, surprise) and heading to Los Angeles. Annie Wu took over as the artist for Kate’s issues and it’s a smooth transition from Aja’s earlier work. The odd numbered issues focus on Clint so they’ll be collected in the next and final (*cries*) edition.
Kate’s solo story as a self proclaimed West Coast Avenger totally works! Her adventures and hiccups are really entertaining (such as opening up a private detective agency, finding missing orchids, clashing with the chief of the LAPD, getting involved in a risqué sushi eating club, etc), but Kate really shines when she’s trying to overcome Madame Masque (who you may remember from volume 1). I truly adore Kate’s every-shade-of-lilac-wardrobe which manages to convey a convincing modern teen as well as her optimism.
I’ve always had a weakness for Young Avengers so seeing Kate perform on her own in a completely new city without any guidance from other Hawkeye is really satisfying as a fan of Marvel’s teen heroes. I would love to see more solo stories for each character on the team. If you’re interested in reading Marvel NOW’s Hawkeye incarnation (the most fascinating incarnation IMO), you should definitely start from issue #1. You can read this trade as a solo Kate Bishop series but there are little things you’ll miss along the way.