Occupy Avengers #1 through 7
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Carlos Pacheco (#1-4): Gabriel Hernandez Walta (#5-7)
Inker: Rafael Fonteriz (#1-4)
Colors: Sonia Oback (#1-3): Wil Quintana (#4): Jordie Bellaire (#5-7)
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowels
Review by PeteR
I had walked away from the Avengers. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Avengers but, by the time Marvel finished the Secret Wars III crossover, the Avengers had become so diffused over so many titles and crossovers, I couldn’t keep up mentally or financially. When Occupy Avengers #1 was solicited I ignored it, but like any addict, it didn’t take much for me start using again. I blame Nick Fury for my weakness.
I have always been a big Nick Fury fan. Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos made perfect sense to a generation of children brought up on TV shows like Hogan’s Heroes and Rat Patrol. When Jim Steranko started putting his stamp on Fury, starting with Strange Tales #151, there was no turning back for me. Bryan Hitch, Samuel L. Jackson and Nick Fury Jr. have all done credible jobs with the character. I am thoroughly enjoying the current James Robinson Nick Fury comic, but it’s the cigar chomping original who gets me every time.
When I walked past the new release rack at my local comic store a few months ago, Mike Deodato’s cover of Occupy Avengers #4 made me stop in my tracks. Even the cover blurb: “Hey! Is that Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Answer inside.” was designed to give a Fury junkie the shakes. Luckily the store still had the first three issues available, so I scooped them up.
Occupy Avengers’ first issue, aside from starring Hawkeye, also brings back one of my favorite underused Marvel characters, Red Wolf. If you’re not familiar with Red Wolf, don’t worry, I’m old and don’t get out much. He first appeared in Avengers #80 back in 1970 but stories starring him began in 1971’s Marvel Spotlight #1 (with a Neal Adam’s cover). He had his own series for nine issues, the first six being set in the old west. There have been a couple of iterations of Red Wolf over the decades, but I have always liked the character.
The first two issues of Occupy Avengers take place on a Native American reservation and center around a variation of the on-going Flint Michigan water crisis. The issues are satisfying, if for no other reason than there are actual bad guys who can be punched, rather than the corrupt, lazy politicians in Michigan who might only do jail time. Issues #3 and 4 star the original Nick Fury, (kinda), Nighthawk and reintroduces Tilda Johnson a.k.a. the Deadly Nightshade back to the Marvel Universe. (Of course, you remember her from Captain America #164 in 1973, written by Steve Englehart and drawn by the extraordinarily talented Alan Weiss). Occupy Avengers issues #5 to 7 bring back everyone’s second least favorite Marvel aliens (Yeah, the Badoon are the worst), the Skrulls.
Writer David F. Walker (Shaft, Nighthawk, Luke Cage) crafts engaging stories and is able to circumvent the usual solutions. I was pleasantly surprised by a number of curve balls thrown in the series. His portrayal of Hawkeye takes the best facets of Matt Fraction’s portrayal but adds some Secret Wars PTSD, adding a level of desperation to Clint Barton that makes for a unique spin on the character. Red Wolf is dignified abet lost in the circumstances surrounding him. Nightshade is frantically seeking redemption. I am still undecided on “Wheels” Wolinski, but I’ll give the character a chance. So far the team comprises these four non-super-powered individuals. Each one of them is trying to find their place in the world and how they can fit in it. I am interested in seeing if Walker adds anyone else to the group.
Carlos Pacheco’s crisp, sharp pencils provide the artwork for Occupy Avengers #1 to 4. Gabriel Hernandez Walta murkier art style is perfect for issues #5 to 7 since they deal with Skrulls and shape-changers always make for tenebrous circumstances.
Why you should buy this book? The rallying cry for Occupy Avengers is “Take Back Justice!” If you equate the title’s name Occupy Avengers with the occupy Wall Street movement, you’re not that far off. There is a definite social justice aspect the series. Occupy Avengers dances around a couple of current social issues, but it does so without being preachy and while providing entertaining and well thought out stories. Oh, and as a bonus, there is plenty of an exasperated Nick Fury Jr in Occupy Avengers as well.
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