Occupy Avengers is one of Marvel’s best written books. Some people have disliked the politicization of comics, but it can be done well. If you’re interested in how, check out this review.
Occupy Avengers #1-2: Wet Willy
Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Rafael Fonteriz
Colorist: Sonia Oback
Letterer: Clayton Cowles (1) & Travis Lanham (2)
Cover Artist: Agustin Alessio
Editors: Tom Brevoort & Darren Shan & Alanna Smith
Editor-In-Chief: Axel Alonso
I Prefer Idealistically Misinformed: Occupy Avengers boasts a fictional story that is heavily steeped in real life occurrences. Walker chooses to focus on something that effects us all; water pollution. North America has a serious water crisis going on and the attention it deserves is just not there yet. While no secret water reservoir has been discovered on any Indigenous reserves, the cover story is all too real. Flint, Michigan is probably the most notorious case but it is the situation facing the Navajo that serves as the inspiration here. The extraction of uranium through mining has devastated water sources for communities in Arizona and New Mexico as far back as the 1950s and as recent as 2015 for Colorado. Water pollution goes much deeper than this, but Walker chooses to keep the focus simple for a two issue story (as to avoid beating the reader over the head with it.)
Water pollution is an issue that we all face and Walker uses a fictional tool to bring attention to it. It almost concludes idealistically, except for the fact that it centers around superheroes in a fictional universe.
Walker’s script is super tight. Few people can wax poetic in comics quite like Jonathan Hickman, but there is an elegance to Walker’s writing. His script has a lot to say and it does so without hijacking the story or abandoning characterization. Two characters who only appear for a couple sequences are well characterized, largely in part to the ideological views Walker gives them. Red Wolf is especially well characterized and given a view on life we do not often see in comics. He is yet another man out of time with whom Clint butts heads, but their dynamic is informal and humorous. The contrast between what the characters are is interesting, especially how each justifies their reason for going on. Walker also employs the perfect villain for this opening story about water pollution: Hydro-Man.
It Is A Hand Letter Written In The Age Of Text Messages: Hawkeye is the perfect character to use in this series. Hawkeye represents the idealist, the character who never had to struggle in the ways others have and that makes him a great stand-in for a large demographic of North Americans. He is lost, but his eyes are open to things he has not always noticed. This brings him to many communities under systemic attack, which is the hook of this comic. Despite a new outlook on things, Clint is still willing to get himself killed to make things better for others. It is an arrogant but admirable trait. And this is who Clint Barton has always been.
The Avengers Solo mini, Solo Avengers series, and most of Avengers Spotlight, featured Clint and a bevy of other heroes working together, so to see him paired up again is great. Occupy Avengers is most reminiscent of the Solo Avengers series where each issue told two stories; one about Hawkeye and one about the guest star. Each issue here is told from a different character’s perspective, almost making it two stories in one.
Sadly, the art has a generally unrefined look that does not match the quality of Walker’s script. Pancheco’s greatest strength is his ability to condense his figures, since this is a very packed story.
Verdict: This story has a purpose. It ends ideally for everyone and how often do we get wins like that in our modern global world? Occupy Avengers is a political comic, but it isn’t a comic targeting one demographic, it is bridging the divides between them. Clint Barton is an ideal choice for this journey, as it fits both who the character is and envisions a new future for him.