Hawkeye is a really good adaption of the Hawkeye comics, and probably more of a direct adaption of a Marvel comic than any of the other movies or shows. Most MCU properties borrow parts or ideas from source comics while making something new; Iron Man 3 took cues from Extremis and Infinity War took both from the Infinity War event and the older Infinity Gauntlet story. Hawkeye, though, is a direct enough adaptation the credit sequence is done in the style of David Aja’s art. Hawkeye wants to be seen as an adaption of Hawkeye.
And it’s an adaption I’ve been wanting since I found Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, et al’s run back in 2014. Of course, a direct adaption seemed unlikely as the MCU’s Clint (and world!) are quite different from the comics. Age of Ultron showed Clint having a stable family and not living in an apartment in Bed-Stuy, he was more a life-long SHIELD agent than a former circus kid, and the MCU’s history of shenanigans is much much shorter than the Universe-616 of the comics.
So the tv show does what a good adaption does and goes for the heart. Yes, Hawkeye the comic is about an apartment in Bed-Stuy and the Tracksuit Mafia and Lucky the Pizza Dog, but more than that it’s about Hawkeye (Clint) and Hawkeye (Kate). Both are two people who barely have their act together trying to do what’s best and failing as often as they succeed. The comic emphasizes how important their friendship is, as far as helping each other get up again and maybe hopefully see the best in themselves. The show filters that through the MCU’s world, casting Clint as the one Avenger who really doesn’t see himself as (or like the moniker of) the hero and Kate as someone who does. We end up with a familiar dynamic; Kate the eager and Clint the tired; Clint’s self-loathing against Kate’s optimism. You capture that chemistry, throw in a bunch of goons in tracksuits who say bro a lot plus a one-eyed dog who likes pizza, and, yeah, I’d say you’ve got some of the heart of the Hawkeye book.
The book does a lot that you can only do in comics (the sign language issue! the issue from Lucky’s point of view!) and I’m glad the show isn’t trying to match that (because there’s only one adaption I’ve seen pull that off). And as much as I’d like a straight adaption, well, that’s what the comic’s for. So to see a show pull from the source (and know what made it tick!) while integrating it into the General Bigger Narrative. Plus, it’s a lot of fun and, hey, I’m here for it.
But I swear to god, if Kazi does go full The Clown I’m not sure my heart can take it.