Published by Marvel Comics
‘The Stuff What Don’t Get Spoke’
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja
Colourist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterers: Chris Eliopoulos and David Aja
Cover Art: David Aja
A review by Jake Morris.
There has been a significant absence in the comics market in recent months. A Hawkguy sized hole that has left people wondering why the book was missing from stands. An announcement as to #19’s premise ended speculation when it was said that the issue would focus on a temporarily deaf Clint Barton working through his personal issues and the troubles of communication when you can’t hear.
The obstacles of crafting such a book meant both David Aja and Matt Fraction had to work out the individual elements that would make up such a unique stylised issue.
Throughout their run, Fraction and Aja have brought comedy to the life of Clint Barton when he isn’t travelling the world as an Avenger. The tracksuit gang brought forth quotable lines and funny confrontations but that has all lead to a dangerous situation for Clint, his brother Barney and the residents of Clint’s apartment building. Fraction and Aja have spoke about the idea behind this special set up with them wanting to leave the reader in a fish out of water situation. What complications and isolation does being deaf bring, but also what aspects does that make a person thankful for.
We are greeted with a contrasting hospital visit with Clint as a child and a now present Clint. Both suffering from temporary deafness and each looking battered and bruised in psychological and physiological ways. The silent layout of the art mixed with implemented sign language makes you traverse the panels in ways you may not have normally. The art must be spot on in order to provide readers with details in which they can cling onto in order to find out what exactly is playing out. Sequential art is often overlooked as a whole in comic books because it is the ‘norm’ but Aja’s use of it here displays how essential it is for telling this specific story.
While also being spot on, the art also maintains a use of snapshot styled panels. The static look and movement from panel to panel is evident and it adds to the search for significant details that you as the reader must identify in order to understand what Clint is thinking and attempting to express. Aja’s art and structure is almost a throwback to silent movies in how posture and characterisation must be overly-expressive.
The switching back to Clint as a child focuses on how he might need Barney more than he originally thought. It is raw brotherly love. Something not unlike movies and stories that have come before it. However an added element that some may catch from these moments is how a similar injury while younger may have added to Clint’s evolution into the sharpshooter he is today. The lack of one sense increasing the strength of others.
Hidden beneath the comedic storytelling and quirky tales, both Fraction and Aja attempt to broadcast messages that either mean a lot to them or messages that perhaps they feel need to be told. The ongoing change in comics is that of leaving the comfort zone of mainstream books and how that deviation is not a negative. Here they focus on that by taking readers away from the comfort of regular comic book structure and showing them a world uncommon to them. Much like their ‘Pizza is My Business’ issue, it is a change of pace while expanding on the world in which they have added depth to.
Issue 19 is another great entry in Hawkguy’s surprisingly entertaining run.
Jake is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @JakeUtd.