I was getting gas a couple of days ago. While I'm at the pump, this old woman pulls up right behind me and just sits there. None of the other pumps were occupied, but she just sits there and waits until I'm finished. What the heck?
Hawkeye #20, by Matt Fraction and Annie Wu (storytellers), Matt Hollingsworth (color art), Chris Eliopoulos (lettering) - I still can't shake the feeling all these Aja covers with the hexagons are meant to fit together into some big collage. Perhaps I should cut up the covers to find out?
The plot jumps all over the place time wise, as Kate is relating recent events to a pair of people that turn out to be Maria Hill and Agent Coulson. Does SHIELD even have any other agents these days? Kate gets hauled in as a suspect in Harold's death, what with her arrow in his chest and all, but she has a good alibi. Also, Harold isn't dead. Masque has some deal where she provides the wealthy with essentially, LMDs to download their minds into, and Harold's got the same deal. In his case, it's so Masque can kill him when she wants, but still bring him back to torment further later. Anyway, Kate finds out the flower shop guy can give her an inn to Masque's headquarters through some creepy party, and she uses Clint's USB arrow to download a bunch of incriminating files, which unfortunately, also incriminate her father. Then she burns down Masque's house, gets beat up by her goon squad, saved by SHIELD, and then Hill takes the USB arrow for their own purposes. Which I'm pretty sure is theft, but hey, it's OK if BIG INTERNATIONAL ESPIONAGE AGENCY does it, right Marvel?
I really can't decide whether Marvel wants me to like Maria Hill or hate her. I still lean towards "hate", though. Once a lady who orders SHIELD agents to attack Captain America, always a lady who does that thing I wrote.
Anyway, Kate's out of jail, she got the nice gay couple she helped have their orchid for their marriage to front her two grand for a Trans Am, and she's on her way back to New York. Why not just get a damn plane ticket? Surely she could transport Pizza Dog by air. Or if she can find a Trans freaking Am for a couple grand, she ought to have been able to find something less gaudy for less money. Common sense isn't much of a Hawkeye trait, anyway.
As much as Kate irritates the hell out of me, with her (unmerited in my opinion) arrogance, with her stealing Clint's dog, and apparently his trick arrows, I did feel bad for her. She really was just trying to help people, and it went mostly horribly. She let some people down (the old ladies whose trailer was burned down), and Harold snookered her. Let's pause for a moment to admire that spell check does not recognize "Hawkeye", but it does recognize "snookered". Was all this meant to be some lesson for Kate, about not judging Clint so harshly for being mopey after he screwed up? She thought it was so obvious and easy, and now she's finding out how tricky things really are? Her dad's a crook, the victim she thought was working with her just used her, the other good ostensible good guys took all her hard work and put it towards their own purposes without a thought about helping with hers.
Or was it about not running from problems? She bailed on Clint, but not only did that leave him with only his morally questionable brother for backup, it meant she was on her own against Masque. Clint, for all his bullheadedness, has often extolled the virtues of teamwork (he did it a lot during his time with the Thunderbolts), and that you don't have to do things alone (even if he often tries to do things alone).
OK, I decided that we're supposed to hate Hill. If you recall, Clint
sort of pissed off most of these crime bosses when he stole back that
fake tape of him killing a prominent terrorist, along with a lot of
their money (and a boat). That was also when Kate got on Masque's wrong
side, so really, this is all Hill's fault for being incompetent enough
to lose the damn tape in the first place. She really ought to be putting
a little more effort into helping the Hawkeyes. Maria Hill's not the
worst character created in the last 15 years (the Sentry, everyone!),
but she's the worst in terms of being a lousy person, for certain.
So I guess this is it for Annie Wu on Hawkeye, unless Marvel asks her to draw the last two issues just so the damn book can actually finish before all the polar ice melts and drowns humanity. It's a good issue to end on, at any rate. I like that second page, the one with just the two panels of Kate getting her mugshot taken. Don't know why, exactly, there's so much blank space, but it forces me to regard Kate, see just how tore up she is, and the way she can only maintain the cheeky attitude for the first picture. In the second one, she just looks tired. I also like the panels where she's telling the story from whatever room she was in. The way she's nearly enveloped by the shadows, how dark the circles around her eyes are in the panel where we're standing behind Hill and Coulson as Hill holds the arrow (though we don't know that's who they are yet). It plays up the fatigue, the wear and tear, and how completely isolated she is, nothing around that gives a damn about her. Also, I don't know what this meant, but the panel of Masque and Harold looking out the window Kate escaped through. One of Masque's eyes in obscured by a shard of glass, and so it's just shadows, no pupil or anything visible. Don't know if that was supposed to mean anything - maybe the inhumanity of Masque, hiding in some fake body - or if Wu and Hollingsworth just though it looked cool. It's certainly does, at any rate.
I will say I prefer to think the real Masque is hidden somewhere, and these are just bio-duplicates she sends out to do her bidding. That was the direction Busiek and Perez went with her in that Avengers story, and while this Masque doesn't have to be that paranoid, it would make sense to keep her real self well away from exploding arrows and send excellent copies out in her stead. So now we wait for the finale. And wait. And wait.