Ever since I met her as the new Hawkeye in the Young Avengers (when she guest starred in Fraction's male Hawkeye, Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon), Kate Bishop has been one of my favourite women in Marvel comics. Kate Bishop is my Hawkeye, the best Hawkeye – uber skilled in archery and fighting, fun and snarky, impulsive and earnest, defiant and feminist. I was so happy to see her getting a new solo comic, especially one written by none other than the fabulous Kelly Thompson.
This first volume – Anchor Points – collects issues #1-6 and presents two different self-contained story arcs.
The first one (issues #1-4) introduces Kate’s move to LA, setting herself up as a (slightly illegal) P.I. Ostensibly on the lookout for a guy named Brad, Kate gets sidetracked when a young woman hires her to find out who has been stalking her. This investigation leads Kate to find out about a creepy cult and an even creepier villain who feeds off hatred by brainwashing unwitting followers. This arc is excellent in the way that it shows Kate relentlessly defending women, how the story was wrapped up (with a delightful shout-out to the Von Trapp family and The Sound of Music), as well as how it portrays a very specific moment in the US—there is an actual rally about “taking back control” which feels incredibly topical in view of recent events. I do have a criticism for this specific arc: I didn’t think it was clear enough in showing the difference between personal responsibility and the brainwashing going on. I wish it had been totally clear that the brainwashing of certain people was exacerbating existing creepy behaviour. At a point it felt that the “they are all innocent” was too wide a brush, especially considering the behaviour of the stalker that Kate was investigating.
The second, shorter arc (issues #5-6), is an Inhuman storyline about a young girl whose disappearance is being investigated by another superhero-P.I.: Jessica Jones. Jessica shows up in LA and asks for Kate’s help and the two team up to work on the case. And it’s super great, with Jessica working as Kate’s mentor and friend. Their team-up is the stuff of legend.
Although these two arcs are self-contained, there is a connecting tissue between them, which I assume will be the overall arc of the series: Kate’s missing father and her search for him. And then of course we have Kate’s anchor points: her new found Scooby Gang in LA, composed of a ragtag band of misfits she collects along the way; I can’t wait to see more of her found family.
Kelly Thompson’s nails Kate’s voice and the art by Leornard Romero is super cool, bright and perfect.
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop Vol. 1 Anchor Points: kinda like Veronica Mars meets superheroes and it’s really, really good. And if you haven’t read any of Kate’s previous appearances, this is a great place to start.
In Booksmugglerish: 8 out 10.