While Hailee Steinfeld makes her MCU debut as the “Adorable Archer” this week on Disney+, the character’s 616 counterpart returns to shelves in Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1, sending her on an adventure with one of her most fearsome foes: her sister.
It’s been a little while since Kate last held her own solo title, but she’s been keeping busy as the proprietor of Hawk Investigations and intermittently serving as a member of the West Coast Avengers. It seems her long stay away from NYC has gotten the better of her, though, and a suspiciously convenient invitation to a resort in the Hamptons has Kate contemplating a return to the Big Apple. The plot thickens when she learns it was none other than her estranged sister, Susan, who sent the invite, seeking help with a personal matter that she can’t trust anyone else with. Making matters more complicated is an unseen villain keeping tabs on Kate’s every move, but she’ll just have to cross that bridge when she gets there.
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop marks the Marvel debut of Marieke Nijkamp, who previously wrote last year’s The Oracle Code for DC, and her bonafides as a YA author really come through here. The book feels young but not childish, and she captures Kate’s snappy voice rather well. The plot seems to be on the simpler side at first—Kate helps her sister recover lost jewelry—but as with any mystery story, I’m sure there will be more to it as it moves along. The relative simplicity allows Nijkamp to explore the mostly unseen aspect of Kate’s backstory with her sister, plus there are plenty of fun nods to the broader universe that make this issue well worth checking out for diehard Kate fans as well as anybody who might be interested in the character after watching Hawkeye.
One aspect I really enjoyed about this issue though is the art by Enid Balám, recently of this year’s Reptil. I liked his pencils in that series, but his sketchy—but polished—style really pops here. He draws Kate with a dynamic springiness (seen especially in the opening set piece) that suits the character. The additions of Oren Junior and Brittany Peer to the art team also really illuminate just how much an inker and a color artist can affect the look of a penciler’s linework; his Reptil art looks similar to the visuals here, yet somehow feel very different in tone with Junior’s inks and Peer’s colors. Balám is definitely an artist to watch after his Marvel work this year.