Writer: David Walker
Artist: Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, and Sonia Oback
Cover: Agustin Alessio
Occupy Avengers is not at all what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I expected to really enjoy it as much as I do David Walker’s other work like Power Man & Iron Fist or Shaft, but solicits as usual tend to be very vague as to what the comic is even about, and what was hinted at seemed a bit more oriented towards direct social activism given the Occupy title. Superhero comics can be hit or miss with a premise like this. But Occupy Avengers definitely in this instance, taking one of the less well-received plot points of Civil War II (Bruce Banner being killed by Clint Barton), and twisting the aftermath into what’s essentially a modern-day western. While that takes the shape of Clint wandering America solving problems in downtrodden communities where police and the Avengers don’t bother to look, it changes into something more effecting very quickly, even if it involves motorcycle chases from armed mercenaries.
One of the things that helps the comic considerably is Walker’s habit of writing comics that include nuanced analogues to real-world troubles, but without falling into the trap of making Clint’s story a white savior narrative which ironically is a typical trouble for Westerns in general. He’s just someone looking to make the world a better place, as an extension of the type of stories Matt Fraction and David Aja did with him. The comic falls into a more intersectional form of activism than comics tend to depict. While having a blond white man be the lead in a comic exploring America’s problems can be quite rickety, this isn’t the case here.
The inclusion of the Red Wolf might seem odd without context, this works really well given that the first issue largely takes place in the middle of a Native Reservation. It helps to balance out the “I just wanna help” nature of Hawkeye with someone who actually has to live around the people being harmed. This again also helps to balance out Clint inadvertently transforming the comic into a white savior narrative, which is the last thing this comic needed to be. The show is as much about Red Wolf as it is about Hawkeye, and while he’s bit of an outlier given his origins from a parallel Earth, that last bit doesn’t really play a role here, and it helps to tie together the timelessness of America’s economic and social problems.
That said, if you’re looking maintain your diet of Marvel action, the comic is illustrated by Carlos Pacheco whose style is a pretty meat and potatoes superhero style, it helps to ease the reader into the nature of what’s being explored here, and in effect gives the events of the issue as much gravity as it were if Thanos were the villain. Rafael Fonteriz’s inking also help ground Pachecho’s pencils in the quick-moving action scenes later in the book, while Sonia Oback’s colors give a great amount of shading for the various environments as well as (thankfully) keeping the various skin tones intact.
In the end though, the question boils down to whether the comic is worth buying. In that vein though: yes it is. Superhero comics of this ilk are tricky to get right, and thankfully it’s one coming from the right place. David Walker and Carlos Pacheco have a great comic here, and thankfully there’s plenty to love here. If you like Red Wolf and Hawkeye beating up water-hoarding mercenaries, you’re in for a treat.
4 out of 5 Cheeseburgers