Avengers Solo offers a mix of superhero tale and noir, as Hawkeye finds himself pulled into the middle of a search for a missing woman and a murder investigation. While on patrol, Hawkeye stumbles on a man named Tulio Guzman as he’s being attacked by a villain Hawkeye doesn’t recognize. After saving Tuli, Hawkeye learns that the man’s sister has gone missing, though it’s not until the next day that Tuli reluctantly agrees to allow Hawkeye to help him. However, Hawkeye never gets to learn much from Tuli, as he soon finds him dead in a hotel room, with a note reading “Avenge This!” pinned to the mattress beside his body with an arrow. Reading it as a clear message to him, Hawkeye takes it upon himself to take up Tuli’s quest to find his missing sister.
Hawkeye as detective is a set-up that works well, especially with his recent stint as a part of the World Counterterrorism Agency under his belt. While Hawkeye is often viewed from the point of view of a flashy circus performer turned superhero, he also has a history that includes working in private security and espionage. As Hawkeye states in the comic, he’s more of a “leap-into-the-fray kind of guy,” but his frequent loner nature also allows for him to be just as compelling when he’s without a fray to leap directly into, and Van Meter utilizes that aspect of his personality well here. It definitely allows for the comic to live up to its “solo” name, as Hawkeye investigates a crime that involves enough high-tech weapons and costumed criminals to fall under the jurisdiction of a superhero, but with enough of a real-world crime slant that allows for him to investigate it on his own, without the backup of the rest of the Avengers.
Ultimately, the first issue of Avengers Solo lays out compelling groundwork for a detective story that leaves the reader wanting to discover the next clues. The art deftly adds to the overall noir feel of the comic, with dark colors and well-placed shadows that draw the reader into the atmosphere of the story.
In addition to the main story, the first in a Avengers Academy mini by Jim McCann, which feels like a nice bonus tacked on to an already-enjoyable read. It’s a quick read that leaves you wanting more, and next month promises add another exciting chapter to both these stories.
Sara McDonald started reading comics in the third grade, and now puts her English degree to good use talking about them on the Internet. She currently resides in Western Massachusetts with a roommate, three cats, and an action figure collection and spends the time she isn’t reading comics working for a non-profit. You can visit her blog at Ms. Snarky’s Awesometastic Comics Blog.