Clint Barton (Hawkeye), the man who killed the Hulk, was acquitted of all charges. Most of the public sees him as a hero—their savior. The superhero community sees him as a pariah. How does Barton see himself?
In the premiere issue of Occupy Avengers, Barton makes his way to the Sweet Medicine Indian Reservation in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. On the reservation, the water supply is being contaminated. Barton and the local deputy make their way out there to see what’s going on. What they find is more detrimental—and violent—than they thought.
I want to talk about the “elephant in the room” (on the screen?) before moving on to anything else. This issue is so clearly fueled and inspired by the Dakota Access Pipeline. For anyone who is still a little confused about the matter, what you need to know is that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe hired someone who found that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to fully take pipeline safety into account. As it turns out, the pipeline puts Lake Oahe (where the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe gets their drinking water) at risk for contamination, which could lead to infection, disease, death, you name it.
I don’t want to talk about the pipeline per se, but the fact that writer David F. Walker based this story around that real world event, those protests, the issues we face today. When a writer draws such strong inspiration from the real world, their stories read with so much more conviction. We get to thinking about not only the danger of oil spills, but the Native American population in America, environmentalism, violence, oppression, and tons more. Comics that make us think beyond the storyline are the best kind, so kudos to you, Walker.
Walker also walks us through this issue with narration from Hawkeye himself. He talks to us about how he doesn’t think he’s a hero, the people that are chasing after him, and the fact that if there is a fight to be fought, you don’t shy away. For people who need protection, Barton wants to be the hero that everyone thinks he is.
The dialogue in this issue is smooth and natural, keeping up a pretty fast pace. The action sequences push the issue along beautifully, with elegance and ease. This is in large part due to Carlos Pacheco’s artwork. It’s emotional, shows versatility (in panel layouts and character design), and is fluid in movement. Sonia Oback’s colors help give the issue depth and a theatrical tone. They are also realistic, which helps give the story character and make us all the more sympathetic towards the people afflicted by poisoned water.
This is a sociologically and politically-driven story centered on a character with a lot of recent hype. With a new perspective on the Barton vs Banner situation, this series provides a novel and entertaining storyline to follow. It is for a bit more mature readers, but isn’t at all inappropriate. At the end of the issue, we get a pretty big surprise that puts Barton and the deputy in some serious danger, so keep reading to see what happens!
Written by: David F. Walker
Illustrated by: Carlos Pacheco