Like the Marvel Zombies 4 limited series (which I have just reviewed), Dark Reign: Hawkeye started strongly. Now, at issue 4, I feel it is starting to sag a little, with the reveal of who / what is behind the multiple Bullseye sightings and the whole Bullseye army that faced Hawkeye (aka the real Bullseye) at the end of last issue. Well, it didn’t shake me to the core, to be honest. In fact, it felt a bit limp, but it picked up toward the end. The problem is that, like so many other titles, you never get the feeling in this that Bullseye is in any real danger – and if he was, so what? Are you supposed to care that a cold-blooded Killer, a psychopath, could die at the hands of another?
The whole terrorism / counter-terrorism sub-plot, with Ben Urich investigating, is not really going anywhere, and is not particularly interesting to me. It is a shame, as Diggle is a good writer and he does what he can with the material, but this title is running out of steam, and could easily have been condensed into 3 or 4 issues as opposed to 5.
Overall, I don’t really see the point. What do we learn about Bullseye? Not a lot. About the ‘Dark Reign’ – well maybe there is a little more colour and shade added to that storyline with these issues. I don’t know a lot about the other Dark Reign titles, but I know there are a lot of them, but on this evidence, I am probably not the target market. I look forward to Diggles upcoming work on Daredevil, more so than the final issue of this series.
Steve Diggle has come up with the goods here. Norman Osborn recruits the psychotic hitman Bullseye to be Hawkeye in Osborn’s version of the Avengers (aka Dark Avengers). Mayhem and murder ensues, with Bullseye indiscriminately killing civilians, and finding more perverse ways of doing it as he goes along, and Osborn putting his quasi-paramilitary organisation H.A.M.M.E.R to good use by suppressing any news organisation that tries to publish footage of the carnage. Osborn knows that ‘Hawkeye’ is a potential liability. With a neat section that reveals Osborn to be able to trade in the bland platitudes of corporate management speak, a trap is set for ‘Hawkeye’.
This title is a difficult one as I am not sure who or what Marvel expect the reader to identify with. Maybe the real focus will be Ben Urich and his determination as a journalist to expose the rotten core of the Osborn administration and his dictatorial grip over the Marvel Universe version of America. He only plays a small part in this issue, but the mysterious voice who calls him and urges him on in his crusade suggests that his role in ‘Dark Reign Hawkeye’ will only increase.
As another take on the ‘Dark Reign’, ‘Hawkeye’ is a solid performer, entertaining while giving the wider picture on Osborn’s activities, while showing that Bullseye is one sick individual. I like the way Diggle paces the plot, the dialogue is great, and the art, by Tom Raney, is clean and bold and he really captures action well – especially when there are explosions involved. Perfect mini-series material, this compact tale of coruption and psychosis should sustain its momentum for its limited run.