After being slammed in the head during the events of Widowmaker, Hawkeye suffers a brain injury leading to blindness. I apologize to Jim McCann and Duane Swierczynski. I thought Hawkeye merely walked off that injury, but it turns out that the plot twist in Widowmaker was part of a plan. In my defense, I’m not used to long-term planning that has the audacity to make sense.
Ostensibly, Blindspot is an average story and somewhat cliché. Lots of heroes end up temporarily blinded. A cowardly attack blinded Xena, and an accident did the same for Batman. Xena’s loss of sight resulted in an entertaining hour of television that defined how the Warrior Princess felt about Gabrielle. Batman’s blindness resulted in a mere animated time-filler that even Bruce Timm and company hated. Blindspot falls somewhere in between the extremes.
The story works as a reader-friendly Avengers tale. In fact it almost serves as a warm-up for a comic book based on Avengers movie continuity. The movie Avengers comprise the cast: Thor, Cap (er…Super-Soldier), Iron Man and, of course, Hawkeye. Iron Man even sports the Arc Generator glowing out of his chest. Unless the Powers at Marvel retailored continuity around the Iron Man movie, that’s a rather blatant incongruity.
Spider-Woman also appears, but I get the impression she’s just a character artist Paco Diaz favors. You’ll get no complaints from me. I’ve always liked Spider-Woman, and her presence stops the Avengers from being an all-boys club. Besides, Paco Diaz draws Spider-Woman better than any modern artist I’ve seen. Diaz and colorist Tomeu Morey, needless to say, do a spectacular job on the rest of the cast.
Black Widow, who will also take part in the Avengers film, enters the story through a flashback. Hawkeye’s circus-rooted origin remains the same. The difference lies in the narrative voice. That’s what puts a spin on the tried and true.
McCann furthermore eschews the chestnut of the hero learning to rely on his other senses to compensate for his dimming eyes. Instead, McCann immerses Hawkeye in the Heroic Age. These are the Avengers. They’re here to help. Dr. Donald Blake promises to keep working on Hawkeye’s inoperable condition. In the mean time, Iron Man’s a genius. He creates gadgetry that will replace Hawkeye’s vision, and Clint adapts to it immediately.
Blindspot is a good take on a dusty plot. McCann makes this tale a unique Hawkeye story while grounding it in the Marvel Universe. Although I miss the Lopezes from Hawkeye & Mockingbird, Paco Diaz and Tomeu Morey bring a strong sense of proportion and scale to the mix and enhance the drama.