Many will enter. Only one will win.  It occurred to me while typing this review that I don’t have any real use for the free digital copy codes, seeing how I don’t have an Android or iDevice.  Be sure to read till the very end to find out how you can win!

Avenging Spider-Man #4

Writer:  Zeb Wells
Artist:  Greg Land
Inker:  Jay Leisten
Color Art:  Wil Quintana
Letterer:  VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Art: Greg Land & Justin Ponsor
Variant Cover Art:  Dale Keown & Peter Steigerwald

Spidey Team-Up:  Hawkeye (Clint Barton)

***WARNING:  SPOILERS AHEAD***

THE PLOT:  Captain America commissions Spidey and Hawkeye to go on patrol.  Hawkeye is not very excited about the prospect and constantly gets in Spidey’s way.  Both heroes discover a sinister plot by the Sidewinder and his Serpent Society and put a stop to it.

THOUGHTS:  Hindsight is 20/20.  When Avenging Spider-Man was first announced, I distinctly recall someone saying that Joe Mad would probably not stay on board for long, given the time it takes him to do his art.  Well, I tip my hat off to you, unknown sir, for he certainly didn’t stick around past the first arc.  That is sad, and what’s even sadder is whom we got stuck with.  It’s a pretty dramatic shift.

I’ve got my eye on you.  I’ll be straight with you here:  I’m not a fan of Greg Land.  Like, at all.  I have nothing against the guy as a person, since I’ve never met him, but he’s certainly made a bad reputation for himself in the comic book community.  Greg Land has been accused several times of photo tracing, recycling art, and just downright swiping other artists’ work.  Now, those are some pretty serious accusations… which are all detailed right on this link:  http://jimsmashextended.blogspot.com/2008/07/greg-land-tracing-swiping-recycling.html (in fact, Goggle’s auto-fill gave me “Greg Land tracing” as a possible search).  I think the evidence speaks for itself.  It goes beyond just photo referencing, which is a perfectly acceptable way to draw.

A blind man could see it.  Let’s pretend for a moment that we don’t know about Land’s record going in.  The issue does actually look very nice, for the most part.  Spider-Man looks pretty great.  In fact, everyone who wears a mask looks pretty good.  The only sore thumb here is Hawkeye.  His facial features seems to change completely from panel to panel.  For instance, in certain panels and even on the cover, the muscles of his forehead and eyebrow are way too pronounced (which obscure his eyes, for some reason), while in others they are hardly noticeable.

Taking the shot.  With the art suffering on this issue, the writing and plot really have to make up for it, and Wells does his best here.  Spider-Man stays true to character, which is very important, considering it’s his book, after all.  He delivers funny quips and though he’s light-hearted he knows how to be responsible and serious when the situation calls for it.

Unfortunately, and in an interesting change of pace, I think Hawkeye gets the shaft to make Spidey look good.  Wells writes Hawkeye as the rookie, pretty much.  Considering his years with the Avengers and the fact that he teaches at the Avengers Academy and even led the West Coast Avengers, it’s a little tough to swallow that he’s not very good at patrolling, but, okay, let’s go with it for this issue.  He then seems to have this ants-in-the-pants problem where he has to always practice his accuracy, even when he is supposed to be on lookout.

Hawkeye being a little impulsive and maybe not so easily accepting Spidey’s commands I can get, but he really does come off as incredibly oblivious here.

Dead-on.  The moment that salvaged the whole issue for me is a point where Hawkeye reveals the reason why he is always practicing.  He admits to a degree of inadequacy, as he is in a team with individuals with actual superpowers, and his constant training allows him to keep up with them (for a moment also, he wishes he had stayed with Mockingbird).  Never missing his target is very important to him.  Spidey understands this, and it comes into play at the end of the issue, when Hawkeye takes a 700-yard shot at Sidewinder… and misses.  I’m very hesitant to spoil the ending, as I thought it was very powerful moment for Spidey, but needless to say it was the highlight of the whole issue.

FAVORITE LINES: [Hawkeye is showing off at an archery practice for kids and makes the instructor mad]
HAWKEYE: Ruined? What are you talking about? I’m an inspiration.
SPIDER-MAN: I think you just inspired that guy’s drinking problem.

VERDICT:  Avenging Spider-Man #4 has some great Spider-Man moments, even if they are at the expense of the guest star.  The “art” is okay but Hawkeye looks weird throughout the issue.  But it’s a done-in-one story, which is very rare nowadays, with some goofy moments and surprising gravitas.  3 Webheads out of 5.

SHAMELESS PLUG:  Follow me on Twitter and check out The Two-Bit Special, my personal blog.

FREE DIGITAL COPY GIVEAWAY: Here’s how you can win a FREE code for this issue:  as a reply to me on Twitter (@2BitSpecialist), send me a side-by-side comparison of a panel found in this issue with something that may look… eerily familiar, and the code is yours.

~My Two Cents

5 Responses to “Avenging Spider-Man #4 Review and FREE CODE GIVEAWAY”

  1. #1 Sarcasmic says:

    I gotta disagree with you on this one….
    I felt like this was a brutally honest and almost tragic look at Hawkeye’s psyche that he tries to keep buried by being a smug ass and the issue goes out of its way to show you that, making the two pivotal scenes all the stronger. It gives way for great moments for Clint & Peter, and I felt Greg Land’s distortion of Hawkeye’s face in moments of anger worked really damn well. Better than Mad would of been able to do for sure.

    Also sad you didn’t mention the introduction page, Hawkeye’s origin had me laughing my ass off.

  2. #2 Sarcasmic says:

    Also great idea…

  3. #3 Hobo-Goblin says:

    Sarcasmic, I assume you aren’t that familiar with Hawkeye. Because Zeb Wells clearly isn’t either.

    The Clint Barton that appears in this issue is the Clint Barton of the 60s and early 70s. Before he led the Avengers and the T-Bolts. Before he bested his mentor Trickshot. Before he got married, lost his wife, and got her back, then lost her again. Before he died and came back.

    Hawkeye got over being “that guy with the arrows” a LONG, LONG time ago. In fact, he related his previous anxieties to both Echo and Girl Hawkeye on separate occasions in recent history and how he got past them.

    The Hawkeye of today is smug and a jerk on occasions, but he’d never be so fragile as to be crushed if he missed a shot.

    This also doesn’t jibe with his recent taking over leadership of the Secret Avengers, where he’s making an honest effort to maintain stealth and subtlety in appropriate situations.

  4. #4 Sarcasmic says:

    Yeah, he kinda addressed it in Blindshot mini awhile back (where His brother came back), but I do rather like this take on the character more, if this hadn’t been so outta the blue or came out when Hawk wasn’t so popular, could be some good mid-life crisis or something.

  5. #5 davê says:

    i always thought hawkeye was ill-fitted and weak, but this issue makes me like him more. glad to have it on ma list.

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