Review by Karl Verhoven
During the events of Dark Reign Norman Osborn controlled American security services, including all sanctioned superheroes, drove the actual Avengers underground and replaced them with villains wearing the recognisable costumes. Masquerading as Hawkeye is Bullseye, the psychotic assassin.
He’s first seen as part of the Dark Avengers dealing with a threat, but killing along the way and ensuring innocent bystanders are harmed, which doesn’t sit well with Osborn’s plans. Neither does his telling reporter Ben Urich “Killing’s an art. And that makes me Picasso”.
The initial gist of Andy Diggle’s plot is the pull between Bullseye’s natural murderous instincts and the need Osborn has for him to at least seem to be acting in the public good. How can that be managed? It’s easier when you’re running a fascist organisation with no compulsion about manipulating news and shutting down whatever you damn well please in the name of national security, but journalists still ask questions, and that’s before someone starts messing with Bullseye’s head.
This is a fast-paced action thriller that keeps moving in a different direction, and it’s drawn with some panache by Tom Raney, who mixes up the viewing angles and supplies plenty of pin-up panels of Hawkeye/Bullseye pulling back that bow with arrow notched. Given the way Bullseye is, violence occurs frequently and repetitively, and Raney doesn’t hold back. Diggle seems to have a thing for people having their eyes injured, and that’s shown several times.
Without explanation Andres Guinaldo draws the final chapter, although smoothly matching Raney’s approach, and Diggle has Antony Johnston collaborating on the writing. That doesn’t make much difference, as the ending is logical, and there’s a good part for a long-forgotten Marvel hero.
If you don’t want your heroes dark and dirty, this isn’t going to be much comfort, but accept Bullseye for what he is and his victims just pencil and ink marks on printed paper (or digital file) and this is dark fun.