Tilda Johnson, aka Deadly Nightshade, has had a pretty rough slide over the years — from going toe-to-toe with Captain America, to running heists for MODOK, to slumming it with the Villains for Hire, to almost being executed in an alley. In Occupy Avengers #4, she gets the chance to turn it all around. Is it good?
Occupy Avengers #4
It’s okay, Tilda, the first act of any story is slow. You’re right, Act 2 will be much more exciting. Just make sure you get that secret communication sent before the guns start blazing.
Guess there are still a few ’80s era LMDs running around. Wait, wasn’t this book about water or something? Now we’re chasing robots through Chicago?
Is It Good?
After a strong first three issues, it seems that Occupy Avengers #4 has lost sight of the forest for the trees. The mad LMD-dash isn’t a bad story per se, but it is kind of spinning its tires, and it certainly doesn’t rise to meet the book’s lofty mission statement of “taking justice back.” It’s hard to find anything relatable in Reagan-era human replicas, and even if the real-life relation is revealed in time, it’s still unfair to the readers who came for the concept to have to wait that long.
Occupy Avengers #4 does, however, present the beginnings of a nice personality study on also-ran supervillain Deadly Nightshade. The cyberneticist is a natural fit for this tale, and writer David F. Walker continues his exacting work of rehabilitating tarnished characters with her. The reader’s heart sinks when the recently-saved Johnson is put in danger, but quickly returns to homeostasis through the constant, unnecessary repetition of her metaphorical mantra. Just like her fictional life, apparently Nightshade’s portrayal just isn’t ready for Act 3 yet.
Carlos Pacheco’s art is anatomically on-point as always, but still doesn’t fit this story that well. One can imagine Walker might have written Occupy Avengers differently if originally-scheduled artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta hadn’t been delayed until the second arc, making the overall presentation more cohesive. As it is, the whole thing feels too “superheroey” for a book that claimed it would be the exact opposite. Wil Quintana’s colors don’t help matters, as the hues depicted in night scenes tend to be overly vibrant.
While Hawkeye and Red Wolf continue to be distinct, well-written characters, the fleshing out of Deadly Nightshade in Occupy Avengers #4 goes awry, as she becomes a repetitive parody of character growth. It’s increasingly unclear what these Avengers are occupying, and where this title belongs in the grand scheme of the Marvel Universe. Walker’s ground-level series started out well before stumbling, so one can only hope things will get back on track once the more artistically suitable Walta comes on board.