Old Man Hawkeye #1

by Charles Martin on January 10, 2018

Old Man Hawkeye #1
Writer: Ethan Sacks
Artist: Marco Checchetto
Colourist: Andres Mossa 
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Old Man Hawkeye drops in time for the 10th anniversary of Old Man Logan, Mark Millar's original trip to the Wasteland. That first journey was memorable as a lightning strike, and the Wasteland instantly became one of modern Marvel's best alternate universes. This new series invites us to find out what happened five years before 50 years after the end of the world.

We're introduced to Hawkeye as a grizzled grouch riding shotgun on an MGH shipment and defending it from a gang of rogue Madroxes. Nine Madroxes, nine arrows … eight kills. Clint's even more shocked than the reader when he misses - what will he do as his eyes start to fail him?

But wait, why should we be shocked at all? We've read the original Old Man Logan. We know that Hawkeye is going to wind up blind, none too heroic, and still living in a villains-on-top dystopia five years from now. So this title is already suffering from a bit of prequelitis: Foregone conclusions abound.

This issue shows us lots of cool Wasteland stuff, including Clint's Vegas family and the inevitable Logan cameo, but very little of it is new. Ethan Sacks's script is so busy conducting a "Millar's greatest Wasteland hits" tour and introducing two villains to stalk Hawkeye (one more than we need) that it barely has time to hand Clint some basic motivation for his upcoming heroic journey. When it comes to explaining or even hinting about what his next steps might be, the script comes up empty.

There is a silver lining here, and it's Marco Checchetto's incredible art. It's great to see him edging closer to the main Marvel universe; up to now, he's stuck mainly to Star Wars titles. His sumptuous visuals bring the Wasteland to life and elevate the story significantly. 

He kicks things off by giving the Madrox fight some gorgeous brutality, and while the rest of the issue doesn't call for much action, Mr. Checchetto makes every page fascinating with strong character designs, outstanding anatomy, and realistic, detailed settings. His edition of the Wasteland looks every bit as starkly beautiful and lived-in as Steve McNiven's original, and I hope that comes across as the highest possible praise.

Colourist Andres Mossa provides a creative link to the Lemire & Sorrentino version of OML, but he resists the temptation to replicate that title's intense palette. Mr. Checchetto's lines call for subtler, moodier colours, and that's exactly what they get. Each scene's feeling is enhanced by an understated but perfectly-chosen colour scheme.

The first issue of Old Man Hawkeye doesn't quite fight its way out of the shadow of Millar & McNiven's original Old Man Logan. Unless the storytelling tightens up significantly, the prudent course is going to be re-reading OML rather than following the pre-remix. The compelling post-apocalyptic visuals earn this series a second look, though, and lightning may yet strike twice.

Our Score:


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