Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Sometimes a character can be brought in as a guest star in the hope of boosting sales or for an easy cameo, but what Kelly Thompson has done with Hawkeye #5 is create an effective concoction of both characters’ styles, putting together a case befitting of Jessica Jones but taking place in the world of Kate Bishop.
Jessica’s search for a missing girl has led her to the West Coast, bringing her face-to-face with a person of interest in one of Kate's cases. This obviously leads these two P.I.s down a mutual avenue of investigation, and this is when their two styles of doing business become increasingly mixed together. While this is still clearly Kate’s series, Thompson sprinkles in some flourishes of Jess’s, like her patented (but in this case redacted) swears, the constant Jessica Jones rules Kate rattles off, or the way the two heroines tag-team to get into an ultra-exclusive Los Angeles mansion. There’s one plot beat which seems at odds with both of these women’s worlds, but it would be boring if investigations always went in the direction first expected.
Meanwhile, Thompson's premise is sold tremendously well by artists Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire. Take, for example, the arresting opening splash page of a submerged body, where Kate calls attention to the Sunset Boulevard-ness of it all. The book has made consistent use of the color purple already, but here, looking at Jessica Jones, it’s a darker shade. Murkier might be a more appropriate word – the palm trees aren’t perfectly defined – and that goes for the issue overall as Jess and Kate, and their worlds, come together for a case. It’s a wonderful melding of styles. Immediately after this opening comes a two-page spread in Kate’s office as she and Jess interrogate someone, recalling the pacing of Alias as well as Jessica’s eponymous current series. What better way to show the effect that a new character’s presence can have on the titular one than to utilize a layout synonymous with that character?
Reading Hawkeye #5, it's not hard to imagine a scale with Jess on one side and Kate on the other. When the scale leans more towards Jess, the use of shadow is upped, at one point, resulting in an effect with blinds that may remind you of The Big Heat. Later in the issue the colors feel cooler, with the purple almost seeping in. When the scale tilts in Kate’s direction, Walsh and Bellaire’s panels grow wider, giving them more room to breathe out in the expanses of L.A. One sequence featuring Kate firing off some arrows is particularly impressive, capturing a neighborhood in the throes of the sun setting while also pulling off a great David Aja homage as well.
Jessica Jones and Kate Bishop have some similarities. Obviously, they’re both private investigators and their snark registers on a magnitude that would cause Professor Frink’s sarcasm detector to explode, but they also have different energies. Jess is more unfiltered, while Kate is a little more willing to hold off and get the lay of the land before going in guns a-blazing. So it takes a lot to make those energies meld together, and here it’s a triumph with regards to the writing of Kelly Thompson and the art of Michael Walsh and Jordie Bellaire that they're able to pull it off so well. In short: this issue really is the best of both worlds.