Why does Hickman think I know anything about him?
Ultimate Hawkeye nears the end of its first (and possibly only if this is just supposed to be a mini-series) story arc as Hawkeye and one odd assortment of characters close in on their objective only to find that their enemies are more intelligent then they think. More then just an army of power-drunk thugs, the People continue to impress as new villains, coming off as a deadly powerful new breed of superhuman with motivations that are explained in a somewhat cryptic way, but not so much that you don't get what they're saying. And to my happiness, we see more designs of the People, and I must say, I really love how the art team have gone out of their way to make each of these super-powered beings distinct.
This issue opens up with a continuation of the flashback from last issue. Unfortunately, it does not actually bother to explain who Hawkeye was in jail for killing was, or even if Clint was really guilty. We seem to be led to believe that he is, and if this is only a four-issue mini-series then it seems unlikely that we actually will get those details that I would have liked to have gotten. Ah well. On a side-note, I can't tell if the card bit with Clint in the flashback is meant to be a purposeful nod to Bullseye or not, but if it is, its a nice touch.
Back in the present, we get to see some other characters in action, and as mentioned above, its an unusual bunch. I mean I honestly never thought I would see a super-powered Liz Allan, never mind one who's working with both Hawkeye AND The Hulk. And the group is effective too, with even the rank-and-file SHIELD agents managing to contribute to the infiltration of the People's very Asian-themed stronghold. On that note, the art remains spectacular, although bald hulk is really, really ugly looking. I also admit to not being sold on Jean Grey with a black wig.
Honestly the only real problem I have with the issue is the ending. Hulk is left alone against the man who seems to be being played up as the People's leader, but the problem is that this type of cliff-hanger counts on you knowing who the character being revealed at the end is, which is simply not possible here. The design, as awesome as it is, does not point to anyone that most comic fans are going to know about, and even I am at a loss. The site and other reviewers suggest a more minor X-Men related character getting his Ultimate debut, but if that is the case, then that is really having unrealistic expectations to think that we're going to recognize such a minor character, and with such a radical redesign no less. Honestly when I saw the guy I thought it was Dormammu.
Despite that minor complaint, and also my disappointment at not seeing the how and why of Hawkeye's murder charges, Ultimate Hawkeye itself is still an entertaining read, and my second favorite of the Ultimate books, right behind Ultimate Spider-Man. I hope that this isn't in fact just a mini-series, because I would love to see Hawkeye have his own series. If not, well, here's hoping he stays a part of the Ultimates. Either way, Hickman has proved that Ultimate Clint Barton, and the Ultimate Marvel Universe as a whole, is in good hands.