Last week saw the final issues of two books we’ve covered throughout their run – Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt’s Hawkeye: Freefall and Frank Tieri and Angel Unzueta’s Ravencroft: Institute For The Criminally Insane. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both titles because they managed to tell some great stories that felt slightly off the beaten Marvel path.
For Ravencroft, it was a trip into the recesses of Marvel’s version of Arkham Asylum, where the worst of the criminally insane are locked up, but overseen by both Wilson Fisk (aka the Kingpin, and the current mayor of New York City) and the less-than-sane Norman Osborn (you know him better as the Green Goblin). The book put at its forefront some lesser-known heroes – Misty Knight and John Jameson, who worked along the Punisher to take on the Unknown, a group of abandoned and near-demonic former residents of Ravencroft. The end of the five-issues series tied things up nicely, though with less than a happy ending, as it demonstrated just how deeply the Norman Osborn’s machinations go when it comes to control. Ravencroft also does a good job of tying into the previous Absolute Carnage series and the arrival of the symbiote god Knull.
Hawkeye: Freefall was one of the most enjoyable series I’ve read in some time when it comes to a specific hero, and that comes with Matt Rosenberg’s light touch. A lot happens to Clint Barton throughout the book – we get to see him interact with many Marvel heroes, even though he’s painted to be on the outside of most of them. We also see that his heart is in the right place when it comes to doing good, even if he messes up a time or two (or three or four). Rosenberg managed to incorporate magic and superhero heroics into the final issue of the series, while at the same time having Clint left with multiple losses to deal with. There’s much more to explore with Hawkeye, and I’m hoping the creative team here gets the chance to explore things.
That’s a big question, though. Both Ravencroft: Institute For The Criminally Insane and Hawkeye: Freefall began there runs as physical titles, but with Covid-19 doing a number on every business, a few series were left to conclude their runs digitally, including these two. For me, that’s how I read my comics, so I had no issue with it, but for many, reading their books physically is their tried and true method; switching to digital just may not be their thing. Here’s hoping that they give the format a shot, and that Marvel eventually compiles the books into trade paperbacks for the physical fans out there.