Occupy Avengers follows the logic of the expansive property over the last few years by using it as a catch all term for it’s team books. Occupy appears to be stretching that concept even further then we’ve seen before as it focuses on a minimal superhero cast while being centered on real life political issues of inequality. While the comics art is at times uninspired and stiff, writer David Walker continues to be a revelation with one of his strongest Marvel debut’s yet.
There are two things you should know to get the full effect of Occupy Avengers, one of which is a national news story and the other is a relatively recent Marvel series. The first is the controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline and Standing Rock reservation. The NY Times has a pretty comprehensive outline of the disagreement here but to put it in simplest of terms, they are building an oil pipeline through North & South Dakota and the people from Indian Reservations in that area are against it because of the potential effects it can have on it’s water quality. The second is Matt Fraction & David Aja’s Hawkeye series which I wrote about extensively here but to put in the simplest of terms, was a comic series about the Marvel character that was god damn amazing partially because they leveraged so much of the past character’s continuity into a modern context in a way that made him feel fully formed, three dimensional, relatable, endearing and wildly entertaining. Occupy Avengers is using the thinnest of allegories to the Dakota Access/Standing Rock issue’s for the basis of it’s plot in having Clint come to investigate a Native American reservation whose water has been severely tainted. Walker writes Clint through the prism of the Fraction run, he talks and thinks like Hawkguy, even more so then when Jeff Lemire & Ramon Perez had taken over the book from Fraction or Ales Kot & Michael Walsh’s use of the character in Secret Avengers. With that being said; Walker pulls off his Hawkeye writing flawlessly. As much of the story is guided through internal dialogue, David Walker writes Clint with a familiarity to what readers have seen from the character post Fraction, yet he does so in a way that feels firmly within the writers own voice and aesthetic while still accounting for his new status-quo post Civil War II (spoiler: he killed Bruce Banner per the troubled host of the Hulk’s own request. No I don’t read Civil War II either but they tell you in this book) That combined with his deft use of the books allegory, the build up of it’s mystery and the execution of the plot’s big action moment makes for a highly engaging debut issue.
While the book suffers slightly from an art style that is relatively uninspired and not anywhere near the Gabriel Hernandez Walta illustrations that the series was announced with, it’s faults never bring down the comic in any significant way. There’s enough to like about Occupy Avengers to subsist it’s faults and it’s further evidence that writer David Walker is a force to be reckoned with in the medium.