World Comic Book Review

19th April 2024

The Marvel Comics / Northrop Grumman Comic Book Cancellation (but why was NGEN named after a US Navy IT project?)

Thus began and ended the tie-up between the world’s fifth largest defence contractor, Northrop Grumman, and US superhero comic book publisher Marvel Comics. The Washington Post and other news sources have reported that multi-part comic, Avengers, Featuring N.G.E.N. – Start Your N.G.E.N.S!, had been cancelled. The title, as demonstrated by the cover, was to feature … Read more

Diversity at Marvel Comics: “Avengers” #6 (Review)

Diversity at Marvel Comics: “Avengers” #6 Marvel Comics, May 2017 Writer: Mark Waid An executive manager of American comic book publisher Marvel Comics was last week reported as blaming the recent shift into gender and ethnic diversity amongst its character properties as the reason for a sharp decline in sales. The observation has been controversial … Read more

Hitting the Mark: Occupy Avengers #1

Occupy Avengers #1
Marvel Comics, October 2016
Writer: David F. Walker

“Occupy Avengers” is a new miniseries from American publisher Marvel Comics that focuses on a character named Clint Barton. This is the alter ego of bow and arrow-wielding superhero Hawkeye. In this story, Barton travels across the U.S. looking for the kind of problems that usually get overlooked by Marvel Comics’ premier superhero group, the Avengers, in favor of sensational and flashy fights against supervillains or otherworldly threats. The title itself implies that the comic will delve into social issues that the post-Global Financial Crisis “Occupy” movement has become synonymous with.

The events in “Occupy Avengers” #1 are set after the events of Marvel Comics’ title “Civil War II: The Accused” (which we have reviewed before), with Clint Barton fresh off an acquittal from a criminal trial involving Barton’s murder of the Incredible Hulk’s alter-ego, Bruce Banner. “Occupy Avengers” hints that Barton is seen by many of his superhero colleagues as a traitor for murdering a friend (not knowing that Banner himself specifically asked Barton to do the deed). On the other hand, the general public sees Barton as a relatable, everyman hero. In some ways, the title is reminiscent of Denny O’Neal’s controversial work on “Green Lantern / Green Arrow” (DC Comics, 1970).

Despite the title of the comic, the first issue seems to be less of a story about the societal ills that the Occupy movement focuses on, and more of a story about Clint Barton finding his place in the grand scheme of things. Readers expecting a layered story where Hawkeye takes on a corrupt corporation or government may end up disappointed. In a mirror of contemporary events, there is apparently an evil corporation and connected to the water supply of a native American settlement being poisoned. But that element of the story is painted in such broad strokes that it comes off as hokey and cartoonish. A hero whose repertoire consists of trick arrows and superior marksmanship is ill-suited for the purpose of taking on greedy capitalists. In our view, topics like these are better handled by characters with a more worldly approach. Marvel Comics’ character property Iron Man would have been a better choice: the character has the resources and experience necessary to beat the enemy at their own game. Instead we get Hawkeye in a shootout with a group of paid mercenaries and a hired thug with water powers.

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REVIEW: Welcome to Pleasant Hill

Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1 (review)
Marvel Comics, April 2016
Writer: Nick Spencer
Review by Neil Raymundo, April 13, 2016

American comic book publisher Marvel Comics, at least within the past few years, has been determined to publish stories that are inaccessible to the average reader due to over-reliance on continuity. Like British science fiction, North American professional wrestling, and television soap operas around the world, a majority of the regular monthly audience is helplessly ensnared by continuity. These colossal, hyper-meticulous plots, sometimes lasting decades, can be a substitute for quality writing: suffering from a form of literary Stockholm Syndrome, that sector of the audience which is devoted to the continuity will not just forgive but will actively defend the injudicious publisher.

This new title, “Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1” is the latest hostage taker, to extend the continuity metaphor. But in this instance the problem – and it is a systemic problem to the North American industry – is exacerbated by the fact that the comic is meant to be a prelude to an upcoming crossover event. Ludicrously, the setup requires its own setup.

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