At The Comic Book Shop: Occupy Avengers; Dr. Strange

It’s been a while since we’ve done a Hawkeye update, so let’s get caught up.

occupy_avengers_1_preview_3-1-1When last we checked in on Clint Barton he had finished a successful run by Matt Fraction and David Aja and was starting a new comic by Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez. Lemire’s run was as bad as Fraction’s was good. It ended after two six-issue volumes and I can’t say I was sorry to see it go.

Clint next surfaced in “New Avengers,” a misguided collection of misfit young characters led by a New Mutant who had never shown leadership skills before. Hawkeye was there to spy on the team for S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s not a bad comic but since I don’t care about any of the characters in it but Hawkeye (it had Squirrel Girl, for God’s sake), and since he rarely played a significant role in the book, I wasn’t sad when he was written out of it so I could quit reading it.

ce90ncpukaaqhwuHawkeye next had the unfortunate luck to appear in “Civil War II,” the sequel to the terrible “Civil War” comic that was good for nothing other than inspiring a decent Captain America movie. In the comic Hawkeye kills the HULK, using a special arrow designed by Bruce Banner, because Banner wanted Clint to kill him if he ever hulked out again. Banner starts to hulk out in front of a bunch of assembled heroes and Hawk shoots him in the face. (There’s more to it but I really don’t want to talk about “Civil War II” anymore than I have to).

Clint goes on trial for murder but is acquitted because the people of the Marvel Universe hate the HULK because all they’ve ever see him do is tear up stuff and attack the military and so they now see Hawkeye as a hero who got rid of a monster that the superhero community has been protecting for no good reason for years. The superhero community sees it differently, however, and most of them are pretty unhappy with Clint so Hawkeye is now a man alone.

Which brings us to “Occupy Avengers.”

occupy_avengers_1_cover-jpg-square-true_size-252The first issue came out this week and it’s basically the story of how Hawkeye has decided to travel the flyover states and do good by fighting for the regular guy against whatever PC bad guy writer David Walker can come up with. For the first issue he’s dealing with poisoned drinking water at an Indian reservation. It’s not Ultron, but some bad guys with guns do show up to caused trouble — along with Hydro Man, the man who turns into water. Seriously.

As the story progresses Hawkguy will be joined by a handful of similarly minded do-gooders so we can call it an Avengers book. In the first issue he’s joined by Red Wolf, a new Native American character who has the same name as an old Native American character who hung out for one story with the Avengers back in the ’70s. Marvel has chosen not to unveil who else will be on the team because, why give people valuable information they might help them decide whether or not to buy a new book?

As first issues go, this isn’t bad. I’m not familiar with Walker’s work but he has a good handle on Clint, so he’s definitely a step up from Lemire. The art is by the fabulous Carlos Pacheco. I was pleasantly surprised to see an artist of Pacheco’s talents working on a book like this — hopefully it will help sales. Then again, I have a feeling this is one of those situations where he will do three issues and then leave.

Anyway, it’s good to see Clint back fronting a comic, even if it doesn’t have his name on it. “Occupy Avengers” looks promising, despite the questionable title. Check it out.

Read More About It: Doctor Strange

I was never into “Doctor Strange” comics. I had a Pocket Book that collected a lot of the early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko stories but that was it. I don’t care for magic characters, their powers are too vague. Magicians should be able to beat any villain by “hocus pocus-ing” them to jail. Most of my Dr. Strange experience comes from reading “The Defenders.” I like the guy OK but not enough to buy a solo title.

Last year, to gear up for this week’s movie release, Marvel launched a new “Doctor Strange” comic. A few weeks back, during National Comic Book Day or somesuch fake holiday, Marvel gave away free digital copies of “DS” #1. Since I’ll read practically any comic that’s free, I downloaded it and to my surprise, enjoyed it enough that yesterday I downloaded the next 4 issues during Marvel/Comixology’s big “Doctor Strange” sale. I will probably download the next six issues before the sale ends in a few days.

61gpujfqlzl-_sy344_bo1204203200_“Doctor Strange Vol.1: The Way of the Weird” collects the first 5 issues of the new series. It’s written by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Bachalo. Aaron is probably the best writer working at Marvel these days, having turned in strong work on “Wolverine and the X-Men” and “Thor: God of Thunder.”

Bachalo has a wonderful, surreal style that’s perfect for “Dr. Strange.” Unfortunately, it’s sometimes hard to follow. The good news is, if you read comics on your tablet, with guided viewing, it takes a lot of the confusion out of his offbeat panel layouts. You can also enlarge the panels to make out the fine details.

The series offers a decent introduction to Strange, so new readers should only be confused by the art. The opening story is pretty similar to Aaron’s opening arc on “Thor.” There is some bad dude going throughout the multiverse killing Sorcerers Supreme and eradicating magic. He’s on his way to Earth. It’s up to Strange to stop him.

The first volume ends with Strange discovering this bad dude is coming. In other words, you’re not going to get a satisfactory conclusion by reading this first book. Which is why I will probably download Vol. 2 this afternoon.

Anyway, the art is pretty and the writing is sharp. You can get the whole thing really cheap right now at Comixology.com or Marvel.com.

 

 

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