It all comes down to this! Hawkeye's journey of revenge has been perhaps fatally derailed by Avalanche, who used his mutant powers to shake our hero's retinas completely loose from his eyeballs, leaving him completely blind!
But Hawkeye's hearing still works just fine, and he manages to make quick work of his foe despite his handicap. Elsewhere, Kate Bishop's mission to help the human scientists escape the former Weapon X facility is cut short by Bullseye, who at last has his prey exactly where he wants him...
Interestingly, this issue winds up being as much about Kate Bishop as it does Clint Barton. Though technically working the same mission, they wind up on divergent paths: Clint one of empty vengeance, and Kate one of higher ideals amid an effort to prove there are still heroes in the world. The comparison of the two Hawkeyes is also an end-run toward the old saw “Never meet your heroes.” At one time, Kate idolized Clint enough that she took up his mantle when he was presumed dead. Now, she looks down on him with a mixture of pity and disgust.
Writer Ethan Sacks manages to write a very satisfactory conclusion to the (solo) saga of Old Man Hawkeye. Things may end, but not necessarily with a neat and tidy bow. In fact, they’re morally quite messy, foreshadowing Clint’s continued fall from grace in “Old Man Logan.”
The final confrontation with Bullseye is surprisingly intense, as Sacks and artist Francesco Mobli work wonderfully in tandem to ratchet up the suspense until the scene’s final moment. There’s no stronger creative force in comics than when a writer and artist are completely in sync, and for that sequence at least, Sacks and Mobli are one-hundred percent of one mind.
That said, there’s still only so much you can do with a prequel story since we already know the lead’s eventual fate. But on a pure execution level, Sacks and Mobli do a very satisfactory job with this issue, bringing everything from the previous eleven issues together to a logical conclusion. I was even pleasantly surprised at one character’s survival since it was by no means guaranteed and the more obvious death option would have been more in line with the cynicism of Mark Millar’s original tale. As a final thought, it’s perhaps a bit far-fetched for Clint to so quickly be able to learn to aim using only his hearing, but… he IS the world’s greatest archer, after all.
A well-executed conclusion that overcomes its inherent limitations as a prequel to deliver an exciting yet somber finish.
Old Man Hawkeye #12 (of 12) – End of the Road
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 6/106/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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