Kate Bishop never had an especially great relationship with her father, and their dynamic has only gotten more strained since she became a superhero private investigator that is trying to take down villains like her dad. Marvel’s current Hawkeye series by writer Kelly Thompson, artist Leonardo Romero, and colorist Jordie Bellaire has done exceptional work establishing Kate’s new status quo as a Los Angeles P.I., building on Kate’s time on the West Coast in Matt Fraction and Annie Wu’s Hawkeye and placing her even deeper in this sunny setting. Thompson has a firm handle on Kate’s distinct voice and creating a compelling supporting cast, and Romero and Bellaire’s artwork is beautifully detailed with strong graphic elements and atmospheric coloring.
A big motivating factor for Kate’s relocation is the role her businessman father plays in the illegal dealings behind the development of Venice Beach, and finally gets to have a much-needed chat with her dad in next week’s Hawkeye #8. This exclusive preview jumps between Kate’s past conversation with Derek Bishop— who is in a mysteriously young body that is not a Life Model Decoy (a robotic surrogate)—and her present meeting with a 15-year-old client that has a much healthier, affectionate relationship with her dad, and the creative team establishes a strong contrast between the two scenarios. The dark lighting in Kate and Derek’s conversation gives the scene a more intense noir feel, and the layouts and coloring shift when the action moves to Kate’s office.
One of the most remarkable things about this excerpt is how Romero uses spatial relationships to create tension (or the lack thereof) between characters, and the widescreen panels in Kate and Derek’s conversation allow him to put more physical distance between father and daughter. The first shot of Anna Donnelly’s introduction is one of the only times there’s any significant distance between her and Kate, and Romero’s tighter layouts for this sequence push the two of them closer together within the panel. Every issue of Hawkeye has featured strong artistic choices, and it’s the best way of carrying on the legacy of the Fraction/Aja/Wu series while creating something that is shaped by Kate’s specific perspective.