Welcome to MTV Geek's New Comic Book Day Pull-List! Each week, Patrick Reed will look at the best new releases hitting comic shops, and point you at the books you should be reading.
Hawkeye Annual #1
(written by Matt Fraction, art by Javier Pulido, published by Marvel Comics)
Hawkeye just keeps amazing me with every installment, and this extra-length annual might be the best yet. It fits right into the continuity of the regular series, but you don't need to know any of what's gone before to appreciate this issue – you just need to have an open mind, and be looking for a comic that goes beyond your standard fight scenes, and into the world of narrative innovation.
The setup: Kate Bishop (the young, female Hawkeye) has a falling out with Clint Barton (the older, male Hawkeye), and splits for the west coast. There, she gets herself in trouble, gets herself out of trouble, pretends to get herself back into trouble (while actually maintaining control of the situation), and creates a new life for herself. This is the basic plot, and while it may sound simple, the execution is spectacular. Matt Fraction's writing is uncluttered, yet rich and complex; Javier Pulido's art is straightforward and carefully assembled, layout bending and shifting constantly to capture all the layers of the text.
Yes, this is a superhero comic, but it's not like any you've read before. It's a combination of elements that defy expectations by fitting together perfectly: the sequential art equivalent of a peanut butter and Sriracha sandwich. It's a blockbuster that's also a Sundance sensation, a personal story set in a world of spectacle. It features family drama, supervillains, double crosses, intrigue, and a dog. And it fits into the Marvel Universe, while being totally unique.
(written by Andy Diggle, art by Aaron Campbell, published by Dynamite)
The lead character of this comic is possessed with the ability to absorb the memories of whomever he touches. He uses this power, not for good, but to win at cards. This does not make him popular. And when this issue begins, he is in some very deep trouble.
The opening page picks up straight where #1 left off. Without the need to introduce the characters and concepts, Andy Diggle and Aaron Campbell get straight to business of telling their story at maximum speed: gunplay, mystery, sarcasm, and mayhem ensues. By the time I finished reading the first issue, I was hooked; after this one, I'm convinced that it's only going to get better. It's everything I want in a crime/action/superpower thriller – it's moody, boozy, action-packed, and full of unlikeable characters making bad decisions to supremely entertaining effect.