Sunday, July 24, 2005


The problem with Mark Millar isn't that he spends too much time trying to be Warren Ellis or that he puts out wretched books like The Unfunnies and wonders why we don't fall over ourselves in praise. The problem with Millar is that he comes up with some great storylines and then sabotages them, either from sheer perversity or disinterest. Sometimes, as in the case of Ultimate X-Men, both at once.

I think the diagnosis is the former in this case. And not just because he whacked my favorite character in the series. As with Ult-X, during the second season of The Ultimates Millar has fallen in to the trap of some really exciting plot ideas being driven by some really unlikable characters. You could sort of see this coming last season with his domestic battery subplot, the remnants of which leave me in the awkward position of really wishing someone would beat Janet down after an issue in which she's hanging out with Hank, but it's spreading.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're reading a little too much into Hawkeye, to be honest - just because he doesn't speak out about his political beliefs like Thor doesn't mean that he slots neatly into the opposing viewpoint. I always just thought of him as a nice guy in general rather than one of 'us' or one of 'them', and that scene only pointed up his niceness. He's never really had enough character moments to be typed beyond that. Have you considered that he's the father of a child out of wedlock? Where does that put him on the political spectrum? Maybe he voted Nader.

The only Ultimates I can remember who've ever spoken up about politics are Thor and Tony. (Cap's 'France' gag typifies him but doesn't allow us any deeper than that.) Tony is now moving rightwards on the political spectrum, while Thor is mad and in a cage. Also, the Traitor - who's just shot a kid on-panel, showing us what a bastard he/she is - is a leftie. I don't think you've got anything to worry about regarding Republicans being misrepresented.

Mon Jul 25, 05:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

Actually, I'm working from an interview Millar did before the series began, in which he described Hawkeye as being rather traditionalist military and a Republican and a warhawk.

As for his marital status, which is really no guarantee of politics, that seems to have changed between series. He was definitely unmarried in the first series -- that scene where he's calling his girlfriend before the mission (in the background, as Natasha verbally smacks down Tony in the foreground) was probably the scene that had me falling for Hawkeye in the first place. But Laura's been called his wife by people who should know, so...

Mon Jul 25, 07:31:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apologies - not an interview I'd read. Is it online or in print?

As for the other thing, I guess I'm too used to issues saying 'The WEDDING you will not BELIEVE!!!' whenever superheroes get married...

Mon Jul 25, 09:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

I think it was a Newsarama interview. It was from way back -- maybe right after the first series ended. Millar spoke about how he was bringing Hawkeye and Widow in as main players and he mentioned the conflict that would come up between Janet and Steve (and it sounded seedy and tasteless then, too).

As for the suddenly-married Hawkeye, I simply took that as a continuity glitch. Either Millar forgot they were married or he forgot they weren't.

Mon Jul 25, 10:08:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

It's always good to know there is another fangirl out there suckered in by the same things I am. And how sad was it that Laura only got a name the panel AFTER she got killed?

It's rough being a Comics Spouse. Offspring, too, apparently.

Mon Jul 25, 10:10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which did they call that? Women in Freezers?

Mon Jul 25, 11:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

Women in Fridges. And, yeah, getting killed before you get a name but after you've been referenced several times and had a speaking part probably qualifies.

Mon Jul 25, 12:24:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that interview as well and since then have always considered Hawkeye in that light. But when you think about it, there’s not a whole lot in his actions or words to back up that viewpoint (or perhaps Millar thinks that simply doing the job as asked, without complaining, is enough to solidify Clint’s rightwing credibility), so I can see where some people would have Vic’s reaction to your comments.

Regardless, I thought your review was spot-on. As soon as I saw the red dot on Laura’s forehead I thought, “Jeez Millar, not again…” As a guy with a wife and three kids I liked the idea of a passably normal super-character with a wife and kids (note that I didn’t refer to myself as normal), so of course Millar offs the lot of them. Ugh.

I especially agree with your analysis of what typically happens with a Millar storyline, so I wasn’t entirely surprised at these events. Just a matter of time really. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cap turns out to be the bad guy – it would be stupid, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Mon Jul 25, 08:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

Kurt -- I agree that Hawkeye's politics have been largely kept out of things (except, of course, if loyalty is a red-state thing). Could you see it if you didn't know it was there? I don't know.

Hawkeye was my favorite for pretty much the reasons you described and, in hindsight, I should have realized that that was too good to be true. Has he ever written a normal family? Even for kicks?

Mon Jul 25, 10:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Vaklam said...

I agree with you about, well, everything in your review. I was so disappointed in #6 that I didn't bother picking this one up. A quick read through a friend's copy made me realize I'd made a good move.

Tue Aug 02, 06:33:00 PM EDT  

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