It’s no trouble at all. I have a general list of recommendations here, and you can also check that tag for other recs.
Generally, the easiest place to start pre-Fraction is McCann’s work with Hawkeye— New Avengers: the Reunion, Hawkeye & Mockingbird, and Hawkeye: Blindspot. The first two are among my favorite arcs for Clint.
Jen Van Meter’s Avengers Solo is also relatively new and accessible. If you’re interested in more classic stories, I’d recommend looking into Hawkeye volume 1 and the West Coast Avengers omnibi that were recently re-released.
Clint’s time with the Thunderbolts is harder to track down but worth the read, and you can also track his time through the Avengers if you’re interested in him more in a team setting.
Preview for Hawkeye #18, by Matt Fraction and Annie Wu. On sale this Wednesday!
JONATHAN HICKMAN (W) • LEINIL FRANCIS YU (A/C)
ORIGINAL SIN tie-in!
• Propelled fifty years into the future, the Avengers come face-to-face with the legacy of their actions!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
SECRET AVENGERS #4
ALES KOT (W)
MICHAEL WALSH (A)
Cover by TRADD MOORE
VARIANT COVER BY MICHAEL WALSH
• The Fury reappears inside the Kowloon Walled City — which is deep inside the Chinese territory. Who you gonna call?
• No-one, but Nick Fury, Hawkeye and a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents come anyway. Problems? You bet. The Kowloon gangs want The Fury as well.
• On the Helicarrier, someone dies. The ground is not steady. Things escalate.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
MATT FRACTION (W)
ANNIE WU (A)
Cover by DAVID AJA
The Finale, Part 1:
• David. Clint. Barney. The Building. The Tracksuit Draculas. The Clown.
• Ever seen “Rio Bravo?” Check it out, it’s pretty good.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99
Solicited for June— Part I of “The Finale.” Hmm…
That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighboorhood—
I got news for you, she is!
Hawkeye, my favorite babe.
SAVE THE EMPIRE, Part One
The all-new Secret Avengers are ready to get started. Are they going to be the world’s most effective secret squad? Or will their personal issues tear them apart? U-DECIDE! Three missions kick off at the same time: one in the space, one on the ground…and one in the air. And no one’s ready. Except for the attackers. Russian spa. Helicarrier. Space station. Falling satellites. A hired hitman with nothing to lose. The Fury. WAIT. Yes. THE FURY. Why is Hawkeye still around? And why are these people chasing him? Why are Black Widow and Spider Woman in a Russian spa? Do questions in teasers excite you? RUN THE MISSION, DON’T GET SEEN, SAVE THE WORLD. NOW!
Also on sale next Wednesday: Secret Avengers #1, by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh.
• Who could forget that time when Clint Barton let his neighbor’s kids watched a holiday cartoon at his place?
• At long last THIS ISSUE is pretty much the cartoon they all watch. YOU’RE WELCOME.
• A very special holiday HAWKGUY that at long last lets legendary letterer CHRIS ELIOPOLOUS flex his astounding cartooning muscles in our pages. Matt and Matt do their regular jobs though. Maybe David will letter it? Probably not.
Hawkeye #17, on sale this Wednesday!
New Secret Avengers writer Ales Kot and artist Michael Walsh have been doing daily breakdowns of each character in his upcoming relaunch of the series. Here’s what they had to say about Clint:
"Hawkeye’s easy to relate to because of his complexity; I believe people see themselves in that," writer Ales Kot says. "Matt Fraction and David Aja get this and that’s a big part of why the character is undergoing such a renaissance. He’s a mess. He’s very human. He doesn’t shower every evening. He forgets things. He’s incredibly talented at something. He sometimes wastes his gifts. He’s really kind. He’s sort of a big child. He wants to do better. He’s honest. He’s dishonest."
We’ve already seen, from previews and art, that Kot and Walsh are taking a lot of cues from Fraction and Aja. After all, the first issue of Secret Avengers looks to repeat the “hawkblocking” joke we all know so well.
"Hawkeye’s [look] is a little more casual than he was in some of his previous, suited incarnations," Walsh says of the hero’s costume. "He’s got a new rig for carrying his arrows and a fresh set of boots, but his actual uniform consists of an old t-shirt and that’s just how he likes it. This is the new Hawkeye that you’ve seen in Fraction and Aja’s acclaimed run, busted nose and all."
The idea of Hawkeye as the t-shirt hero is an appealing one— it’s the perfect summation of his current solo series, and sums up his general attitude of the past two years or so.
"He’s not in the group at the beginning of the first issue,” Kot notes. “In fact, he’s being chased by one of the A.I.M. factions—and he doesn’t know why. There are definite wheels within wheels here.”
Clint has now walked away from a Secret Avengers team twice— so Kot and company will have to make the case for his return particularly compelling. My biggest concern with Hawkeye in the Secret Avengers franchise is justifying is presence.
"It’s certainly amusing to see Hawkeye coexisting with his two ex-girlfriends, Spider-Woman and Black Widow," Kot says.
It’s still funny seeing Natasha being called Clint’s ex-girlfriend, when they haven’t dated in several decades. But I think the way Kot framed the relationships, it was more about those relationships defining Clint and not vice versa. The women in Clint’s life should never be reduced to a string of exes, so hopefully Kot will approach each relationship for what it is and not that label.
"Let’s remember that—spoiler if you haven’t read SECRET AVENGERS #16, which wraps up the previous season—Hill wiped out nearly everyone’s memories at the end of the story,” Kot reminds. “Hawkeye doesn’t remember what happened to Mockingbird.”
And for continuity hounds like myself, this seems like an easy out— Bobbi can now easily be ignored until writers are ready to use her again. Hopefully, the implications of the mind wipe technology won’t be brushed over— even if Clint isn’t being mind wiped every other week, his experiences with the technology should still have an effect.