Graphic Novel Review 130/365: Matt Fraction Hawkeye #19

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days!  Or hit up #GN365 on Twitter.

This week I will feature a great variety of comics and graphic novels that contain little to no words.

Title: Hawkeye #19  

Author(s): Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth

Publisher:  Marvel Comics (2014)

Age Rating: 13+

Little known fact, especially if your Marvel knowledge is only from the movies: Hawkeye has hearing loss, up to 80% actually, and as Matt Fraction’s run issue #19 hit the shelves, it’s much higher than that.  Thus, much of the issue is in American Sign Language.

Sample with Tweet commentary from artist David Aja:

As an experiment in what it’s like for a person with a disability, I think it works very well.  In a world where a majority of characters with disabilities are seen as helpless, victims, or villains, it’s rewarding to see a hero as big as Hawkeye deal with his disability for readers.

A word about single issues: I was lucky enough to find this back issue in my comic book store this past weekend in a back-issue box, but if you want the issue, you either have to buy the trade, or search high and low for the single issues (comic shops, eBay, etc.).  This makes teaching this issue very difficult if you do not want to spend the money for a class-set of the trade.

I love this issue.  I think the story-telling is fantastic, and if I could, I’d buy a class-set of #19 as soon as possible.  So, Marvel, why not take some suggestions from teachers as reprint single issues for the classroom if they have substantial value, heck, you could even pair this issue with #11, the one I reviewed a couple of days ago, and put them out together!  That would be a great study in unique, low-dialogue, high-interest story.

I think Aja’s Tweet (above) sums it up quite nicely.  This issue is slightly disorientating.  But the way the issue is constructed allows for contextual information to be built; the make-up of some of these pages is brilliant.  Sign language or not, this issue is a master-class in panel layout and page construction.  This issue hit the shelves after a four-month break from the creative team (back in 2014), and it took readers right back into the originality and sneaky complexity that the series had early on in its publication.

I promise you that this issue is different from any other single-issue that you have read.  I tell you to go all-in on this Hawkeye run all the time, but if you don’t, please try to find issues #11 and #19 to add to your comics collection.  For me, these are must reads and must haves.

Happy reading!

Eric

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