I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed the first volume of the collected Old Man Hawkeye mini-series. I said at the time I would need to get to the rest.
Well, now I have. The second volume, subtitled The Whole World Blind, finishes off the prequel to Old Man Logan.,
Clint Barton’s eyesight is failing. He’s out for one last, personal mission: he wants to kill the former members of the Thunderbolts. The reformed villains didn’t stay reformed when the bad guys rose up in this timeline. They helped kill the Avengers team Clint was with at the time. He’s especially mad at Baron Zemo for both personally murdering Black Widow and leaving Clint alive. At this point in the mini-series, Clint has already killed two of his old teammates, he’s on his way to see the third, and his only back-up as his vision dies is another former hero, Kate Bishop. Oh, and a cybernetic Bullseye is on his trail.
Now, what I really liked about the first volume is how writer Ethan Sacks depicts the former Thunderbolts. They were all miserable, downtrodden, and hating themselves. They actually wanted Clint to take them down. Sacks portrayed the Thunderbolts as characters in an awful situation who made a really bad decision. That made what could have been a rather mundane superhero story a bit more special. Clint, eyesight failing, isn’t getting much from his revenge mission. Will he find what he needs as he goes after the last three targets: Songbird, Moonstone, and Zemo.
And therein lies the problem. Sacks remembered that Songbird was always the most sympathetic and heroic of the Thunderbolts, and that holds here. She took what happened the hardest. But Moonstone and Zemo are another story, Zemo especially. These two are much more, shall we say, traditional supervillain types. Heck, Zemo was a mole in the flashback to the Avengers’ deaths. The thing I more or less didn’t want to see is what more or less happened: Old Man Hawkeye lost whatever promise it had for a more run-of-the-mill superhero story. Yeah, the book still has some creative set pieces, but the best ones were in the first volume.
Ultimately, I found part two a little disappointing since it was the more nuanced look at Clint’s targets that made the book interesting. Volume one was a lot of fun, much different than what I was expecting. Volume two was disappointing because it was exactly what I feared it would be. 7 out of 10 wastes of former sidekicks.