In Hawkeye #19 Clint Barton goes deaf after his encounter with The Clown, and this issue depicts his hearing loss by cutting out almost all the dialogue in scenes where Clint is the focal point. Empty word balloons indicate when people are talking (and occasionally reflect heightened emotion with the shape of the balloon), and panels of sign language show how Clint and his brother Barney are communicating, but they aren’t translated. In an issue where the script doesn’t make the dialogue explicitly clear for readers that don’t know American Sign Language, the visual elements need to do extra work to keep the audience engaged. The most remarkable thing about this issue is how these ideas are conveyed in a challenging way that invites reader interpretation. The script stimulates the imagination by having the reader make connections by following visual cues and drawing conclusions based on their own personal opinions. People that know ASL will get more information from the artwork, but even then, there’s still plenty that is left open for interpretation thanks to the empty word balloons.
I like that the script depicts a hero with a disability as it demonstrates that one does not need to be all powerful in order to save lives as it’s ones unique traits that adds to strengthen their character and add depth. Clint Barton provides a role model for deaf children and teaches hearing children that those with disabilities are not lacking or less then those who fit society’s idea of normal and healthy.