It’s not every series that could pull off an issue about a dog that eats a lot of pizza; then again, Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye is not just any series. In issue #11, Lucky – aka “Pizza Dog” – investigates the death of Grills in his uniquely doglike way. With the help of a canine femme fatale, Lucky sniffs out the victim and aggressor, some wayward pizza, and his former abusive owners.
Along the way, he indulges in some romance, as well as some violence. Sounds an awful lot like a certain purple-suited Avenger, doesn’t it? He also gives the audience several brief glimpses into the goings-on of the Hawkeyes – glimpses because, as a dog, Lucky only understands one word in five, and is far more interested in Kate’s Chanel No. 5 or Clint’s perpetual coffee smell. Nonetheless, the reader sees Clint questioned by the police (and shamelessly playing the “I’m an Avenger” card), the Hawks getting dressed up for Grills’ funeral, and a final, slightly confusing but heartbreaking scene involving a road trip.
Honestly, words can hardly do such a perfect issue justice. Every single frame is interesting – from the infographic-like displays of scents and sounds and associations Lucky makes, to the blueprint-style action sequences, to the classic noir tropes playing out with dogs. Artist David Aja deserves even more praise than normal as he brings a surprising amount of depth to a one-eyed dog. In just one issue, Lucky displays heartbreak, hope, love (or lust?), fear, rage, loyalty, sadness, and happiness. The humans, though few and far between, also shine – especially Clint’s last appearance in the issue.
Overall, Hawkeye #11 is a must-read that defies explanation. It is at various times tense, hilarious, and heart-wrenching. The visual style is innovative and fresh. The story is an excellent stand-alone issue while still continuing the saga of Clint’s escalating feud with the Tracksuit Mafia and the fallout.