Written by David Walker
Art by Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Sonia Oback, & Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: November 2, 2016

You’ll do anything to wash guilt and blood from your hands.

Clint Barton is getting praise for killing his friend Bruce Banner, the Hulk, and it only intensifies his guilt. He’s gone across the country to right his own wrongs, doing whatever he can to help people that need it most. With Deputy Red Wolf, he travels to a destitute reservation, uncovering the particulars behind a contaminated water supply and finding his own form of aquatic danger.

I have a lot to say about Occupy Avengers and I really don’t think that all of it could fit in a review. I continue to be astounded by David Walker’s work and its political underpinnings. In a series that could easily devolve into white savior narratives, complete with poor and powerless people of color, I get no indication that this is going to happen. In fact, I love that Clint’s reason isn’t white guilt or defensive, feel good action that sometimes come from privileged people. He has decided to do something that benefits people who don’t have everything they need, but without patronizing racial politics. Putting Walker on this series was a great choice. The things that make his work stellar in other series are emerging even when the protagonists don’t look like him, proving that he has the chops to write a story about many different people that are equal parts entertaining and intellectually engaging.

Walker’s dialogue is particularly heavy, leaving a lot to digest. This aspect of storytelling wasn’t a bad choice because the story has to be set up in the context of Civil War II and its impact on Clint. His interactions with minor characters in the story also set the stage for deep and introspective narration. Under Walker, Clint becomes the kind of thoughtful character that could drive this kind of story, while his classic sarcasm and guardedness still permeate each page.

On art, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, and Sonia Oback perfectly convey an Everyman aspect within Clint. Pacheco’s pencils take us away from Clint as an Avenger or superhero. He’s not himself and he’s embarking on a journey that moves him closer to average people and their struggles, a perfect reflection of Walker’s narrative devices. Fonteriz adds an important layer with soft inks. I feel as though deep and bold lines would make the issue too dramatic, so I appreciate that Fonteriz uses a style that evokes a feeling of normalcy, but also the dusty and desolate environment Clint is traversing on this case. Oback’s colors are earthy and light, but also without much vivid color. Such an effect anchors the tone of Occupy Avengers, creating a solemn atmosphere that’s vital to the plot. I love that this team went for more gentle visuals because they add a lightness to the story that keeps it from being one which drives readers through the dregs of grief and regret.

All of the parts of Occupy Avengers #1 mesh to create a story which is emotionally heavy and introspective, but without unnecessary emphasis on dramatic storytelling or visuals. This isn’t a series that needs to rely on over-the-top action or dialog. Its power is in its message and its deliberate nature. I said there’s a lot to think about, to say, and to digest in Occupy Avengers, and I think that’s what makes it incredibly valuable among Marvel’s line.

The Verdict: 10/10


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