Nick Spencer wraps up an epic event with SECRET EMPIRE OMEGA.

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

Nick Spencer kickstarted an epic tale starting with CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #1 last year and this week, he wrapped it all up with SECRET EMPIRE: OMEGA #1 along with artists Andrea Sorrentino and Joe Bennett. 

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Before getting to the main event, let’s look at a few of the side stories that found their completion in this issue. First, as Clint Barton wept over Black Widow’s casket, Bucky Barnes found himself in Madripoor looking into the upcoming assassination of a general who aligned himself with Hydra. When the guy gets shot, Barnes thinks that the killer had to be Black Widow.

At the same time, Emma Frost and Hank McCoy talked about the dissolution of the mutant nation New Tian. While McCoy said that the efforts to put forth a solid mutant society would mean a lot to younger generations, Frost regretted that they would never know who their actual queen was.

Meanwhile, we also caught up with one of the more surprising members of HydraCap’s crew: The Punisher. Feeling betrayed and used, Frank Castle decided to make it his mission to burn Hydra to the ground. As Punisher continued his crusade, Nick Fury looked on and said to Control, “He’s ready.”

With those mysterious set-ups out of the way, it’s time to talk about the main confrontation in this issue which came between Steve Rogers and his Cosmic Cube-created copy with the octopus tattoo across his chest. To do so, Cap broke into a jail holding just the one captive.

Inside, he faced the man with his face. HydraCap, still convinced that the reality he understood thanks to Red Skull’s essential brainwashing of Kobik, was the correct one and one still worth fighting for. He also brought to Steve’s attention how quickly people seemed to turn on one another and reach for the power he offered them.

Rogers, while concerned with the damage HydraCap did to his image and reputation, still saw some good in the whole situation, hoping that this whole nasty endeavor would stop some people from blindly following anyone, even himself.

Ultimately, though, the true Captain America believes in the goodness of people and the resilience of his homeland. We’ll see him trying to make up for the mistakes a man with his face made over in MARVEL LEGACY #1 and CAPTAIN AMERICA #695.

The Empire Strikes Back

Upon leaving HydraCap’s cell, Steve Rogers warned his double not to leave his cell, letting him know that he’d be able to spot him no matter the face he wore. As the guards rushed in at the very end, though, one of them whispered something in his ear: “Hail Hydra.” So, while the threat of HydraCap seems low at this point, don’t be surprised if we see him again!

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Two archers. One-shot.

Artist Stefano Raffaele really hits the target with his art and designs for GENERATIONS: HAWKEYE #1, a fact you’ll witness for yourself on August 30 and when you see his words and sketches her in this exclusive behind-the-scenes peek. Stefano, we see some Romita Sr. in your take on Kate Bishop—who are your artistic inspirations?

Stefano Raffaele: As a child I grew up reading thousands of classics, and my top favorite artists have always been masters like John Romita Sr., John Buscema, Neal Adams, and Alex Raymond. I try to mix my love for modern and classic together in my drawing style. What kind of a feeling did you want to evoke from your presentation of Hawkeye himself here?

Stefano Raffaele: I tried to give Hawkeye a classic feeling, but also look very powerful at the same time. I wanted the reader to “feel at home.” with Clint. I tried to be very respectful of his classic costume, because I know he’s a character that every Marvel fan loves very much. We love this great series of pages that leads up to the big full-page confrontation splash. How do you get that sense of movement, like in a film?

Stefano Raffaele: Cinematic storytelling is always my first goal when doing comics. The drawings are important, of course, and they must be powerful, but the right shots are always my main concern when approaching a new page. What do you prefer drawing the most: People? Backgrounds? Mechanical?

Stefano Raffaele: People come first, but I give great attention to backgrounds, too, because I think it’s very important to work “around” the characters. I have a lot of fun going into details with backgrounds! And what’s your theory on the balance between lights and darks on a page? You seem to have a great mastery of it—is that a challenge for you?

Stefano Raffaele: I am a big fan of old black-and-white movies, from Hitchcock to Truffaut, so I try to put that into my drawings, always mixing modern and classic.

Kate Bishop, A.K.A. Hawkeye, finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a battle royal between the world’s most skilled sharpshooters — including an inexplicably young Clint Barton, A.K.A. the OTHER Hawkeye with GENERATIONS: HAWKEYE & HAWKEYE from Kelly Thompson & Stefano Raffaele on August 30!

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Before Clint and Natasha go their separate ways, see how they first got together!

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

This week’s installment of SECRET EMPIRE by Nick Spencer and Andrea Sorrentino not only established Captain America’s potentially wavering relationship with Hydra and equipped the heroes with the information they need to find the Cosmic Cube pieces, but also drove an enormous, and possibly permanent, wedge between longtime friends—and more—Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Way back in TALES OF SUSPENSE #57, Hawkeye—who decided to go from expert circus performer to masked hero after seeing Iron Man in action—got wrongfully accused of a crime. Russian spy Black Widow then appeared to save him, filled his quill with fancy arrows, and set him against Shellhead, dangling the potential for love like a carrot before the archer’s nose.

The duo continued to work together in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE #60 and #64, but eventually Hawkeye’s patriotism overcame his lust for the espionage expert and he went straight, joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes along with the rest of Cap’s Kookie Quartet in AVENGERS #16.

Even though she too intended to defect to the States, Natasha found herself brainwashed and battling her former beau and his new allies in AVENGERS #29 and #30. However, she admitted that her love for Hawkeye helped break her from the mind control. The pair tried to make it work for a while, but ultimately, they went their separate ways.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #57

Tales of Suspense (1959) #57

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Natasha eventually became a full-fledged member of the Avengers herself and even led the team for a while. She also co-headlined the DAREDEVIL series for a time. Hawkeye moved on with Mockingbird, but still showed up in DAREDEVIL #99 to try and win the Widow back!

After enough time passed, Hawkeye and Black Widow figured out how to work together as friends and teammates. Most recently, Hawkeye came under fire during CIVIL WAR II for killing Bruce Banner at the doctor’s own orders. He then moved on to OCCUPY AVENGERS. Black Widow herself starred in her own acclaimed eponymous series.

So, what could cause such a rift between these two? A very clear split in ideology. Black Widow wants to assassinate Captain America for all he’s done, especially after the resistance lost so much ground trying to figure out if he was a clone or a Skrull or something else. Hawkeye, however, wants to wait and see if this Cosmic Cube plan can come together and fix his friend. In SECRET EMPIRE #2, Natasha made her position clear as she cold-clocked Clint and made off with her own agenda.

The Empire Strikes Back

If any two characters could understand the possibilities of a second chance, it’s Clint and Natasha. As you can tell from the above history lesson, both characters worked on either side of the law before becoming Avengers. A major reason they both got accepted into that organization’s hallowed halls lies with Captain America having faith in them. As Avengers and even agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., both have been able to at least try and make up for the bad they’ve done, which makes Natasha’s stance all the more troubling.

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Two new versions of the Avenging Archer make their mark!

Need more Hawkeye in your life? What kind of question is that? Of course you do, and the team at D3 Go! has you covered with new Hawkeye variations ready to put the bullseye on bad guys in “Marvel Puzzle Quest.”

We talked to Senior Producer Josh Austin about the couple of new Clints hitting the game this week and all their arrow-y awesomeness. Like Thanos and Dr. Strange before him, Clint Barton’s getting a 3 and a 5-Star variation this week. What can you tell us about the all-new Hawkeye hitting “MPQ”?

Josh Austin: This was the first character I’ve worked on while managing “Marvel Puzzle Quest” that actually made me laugh! The 3-Star Hawkguy variation and his No Good News power, which we’ll get to later, was an awkward thing to submit to Marvel. I’m glad they laughed when they saw it and I hope players do too. Overall the team has done a great job with both 5-Star Hawkeye (Clint Barton) and 3-Star Hawkeye (Hawkguy) to make him stand out from the ones already in the game. No doubt players are quivering at the chance to poke holes in their foes, but where in Marvel history did you pull this Hawkeye from?

Josh Austin: 5-Star Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and we made sure to use his latest look as reference. For the 3-Star Hawkeye (Hawkguy) we used his [recent solo series] comic version as inspiration, but made sure to make him still very heroic. As mentioned above, we definitely squeezed in the very funny scene where he’s caught in bed and has to dodge fire… I’d be willing to bet we can expect trick arrows galore from the ace archer. Would you mind telling us how we’re going to be turning baddies into pincushions?

Josh Austin: This going to be a long one…

For 5-Star Hawkeye (Clint Barton), his first power is called Can’t Seem to Miss and it’s a Purple AP Passive, so it costs 0 AP. For this power, Hawkeye stays cool under pressure and hits his targets. Whenever a friendly Countdown tile reaches 0, gain Blue and Red AP and at the start of each turn fortify friendly Countdown tiles.

His second power is called Full Quiver and costs five Blue AP. This power has seven arrows that all do different things:

Bola Arrow: Hawkeye’s arrow bursts in mid-air, deploying bolas which wrap around his target, incapacitating them. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that stuns target for a few turns.

Explosive Arrow: Hawkeye’s arrow hits the target, letting out an ominous beeping before it explodes. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that deals damage to the target.

Electric Arrow: Hawkeye’s arrow hits the battlefield and releases an immense electric charge. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that creates Charged tiles.

Sonic Arrow: Hawkeye’s sonic arrow lets loose an ear-piercing scream as it flies towards its target, disorienting his enemies. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that creates Red Strike tiles.

Ant-Man Arrow: “Okay…I’m good! I’m good, Arrow Guy, let’s go!” Creates a Blue Countdown tile that steals enemy AP of a random color.

Acid Arrow: Hawkeye lets loose an acid arrow, which breaks open at his target, melting metal and burning enemies. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that creates Purple attack tiles.

Smoke Bomb Arrow: Hawkeye’s smoke arrow floods the battlefield with cover for him and his allies. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that grants Hawkeye and his teammates invisibility for two turns.

Shrapnel Arrow: Hawkeye fires his final arrow, which breaks apart in mid-air, firing explosive shrapnel which hits each of his targets. Creates a Blue Countdown tile that deals damage to the enemy team.

Finally, this power becomes Out of Arrows after firing his last arrow, now having used all of his ammo, Hawkeye has to improvise hand-to-hand. This deals damage to the target.

5-Star Hawkeye’s last ability is called Deep Breath and it costs five Red AP. Hawkeye takes a deep breath and draws his bow, taking careful aim at his prey. Places a fortified blue Countdown tile. When it reaches 0, if you have enough Red AP, spend it and deal damage, otherwise deal a little more than a fifth of the damage. At level three for me, this was 5,657 damage if you have 10 Red AP, otherwise it deals 1,561 damage.

For 3-Star Hawkeye (Hawkguy), Hawkguy’s first ability is called Because…Boomerangs and it costs 10 Purple AP. This power creates Red Strike tiles and a Purple Countdown tile that removes friendly Strike tiles and deals damage.

Full Quiver costs five Blue AP. For this power, the arrows are the same as I mentioned earlier but with a reduction of damage because he’s a 3-Star!

No Good News is Hawkguy’s final power and it costs 10 Black AP. For this power, Hawkeye is caught in bed and dodges an attack rather unexpectedly. This power heals Hawkeye and creates two random enemy protect, strike or attack tiles. It also has a Passive that whenever you match an enemy special tile, your team gains Blue and Purple AP. Ok so I really like the idea of Full Quiver, but what are the chances players will actually be able to fire off the Shrapnel Arrow? Maybe not in PvP but some of the longer PvE nodes?

Josh Austin: Both the 5 and 3-Star versions of Hawkeye have AP generating abilities that feed the Blue needed for Full Quiver, so if the player makes a Countdown tile generating team then they will be feeding the Blue needed. And since the power only costs five AP it’s pretty easy to get enough to exhaust all seven arrows. It may still be hard to get through the full quiver of arrows with 5-Star Hawkeye because enemies in PVE were dying so quickly when I was testing him! And that actually leads me to another question: How much does the team think about character abilities as PvP viable as opposed to PvE? Is that something that factors into ability creation?

Josh Austin: A lot does go into the creation of a character; the designer has to weigh in other character abilities to both find synergy with the new character and what that new character is strong or weak at. Obviously with both Hawkeyes he’s strong when used with characters that play off Countdown tiles and are Red/Blue AP users.

3-Star Hawkguy’s Because…Boomerangs power is actually the same power as Kate Bishop since that is an established moment for them both in their comic together. And of course over time, we end up having to revisit characters from time to time based on player feedback and make appropriate tweaks to make everything fit together. Can I just say, with 5-Star Hawkeye’s passive I can’t wait to team him up with Kingpin or…Sentry? The AP gain would be insane! Who else would you suggest?

Josh Austin: Definitely anyone that creates Countdown tiles and manipulates them, like Agent Coulson (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Star-Lord, and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers). Ok, When can we put Hawkeye and Hawkguy to work?

Josh Austin: Both Hawkeye and Hawkguy are available on March 9 during the Avengers vs. Ultron Event that goes live that day. In addition, Hawkguy will have a Versus Tournament called No Good News that will start on March 16.

Snatch up Hawkeye and Hawkguy here and stay tuned to for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

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The Chicago-based vigilante stands to shake things up for Hawkeye and Red Wolf!

Nighthawk will join Clint Barton and Red Wolf’s efforts in OCCUPY AVENGERS #3 due out on January 11.


Sort of.


To find out exactly what it means for the team and what Nighthawk’s memberships status will be, we caught up with writer David Walker as he crisscrossed America righting wrongs and asked him. First question is what would be good about Nighthawk becoming part of the Occupy Avengers squad?

David Walker: I think the first thing I like to point out to people is that I’m not saying for sure he’s a full-time member or not. He’s definitely making an appearance and he’s going to play a role.

Part of it was I hadn’t even really given him too much consideration and then editorial was like, “Hey, you wanna do something with Nighthawk?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure, why not? There were some storylines that I was thinking about wrapping up.”

I thought what would be cool about it would be to put someone in the book who just absolutely hates Clint. Everybody else, they get annoyed with Clint and I am writing him a very specific way. He’s the sort of loveable rogue. But Nighthawk doesn’t see him that way. So it was a nice fit.

In the beginning when it was first floated across the editorial brainstorming machine, I thought to myself, “Oh, I don’t know.”  Then the more I sat down and thought about it, the more fun I realized it could have. So it is a question of, you know, how often does he appear in the book and how active is he going to be, which I’m not going to answer right now. Fair.

David Walker: But what I also think is really interesting is that one of the things, one of the decisions that I made was that OCCUPY AVENGERS is a team made up of nothing but leaders. That in and of itself creates an interesting dynamic because most teams, they have that natural leader. Clint Barton isn’t necessarily the most natural leader of the team. There’s going to be other people there who are more qualified and so part of it is following that dynamic of “Is this a team of nothing but leaders or is it a team of nothing but—for lack of a better term—misfits who found this place where they can just sort of follow each other. Ok. Well, then I guess we’ll take it from the hypothetical perspective then. What would Nighthawk add to the team? What advantages would he bring?

David Walker: I think, aside from being the tactical very analytical character, he’s very mission driven, very goal oriented, to the point of obsession.

Clint is very much, “hey, I just happened to be driving down the street and saw someone needed rescuing,” whereas Nighthawk is all about picking his target, finding the best strategy to take that target out, and then going for it. He’s very very active. So there’s some of that in play.

I think every team needs a member who’s a little dangerous and who presents a threat to the team itself simply by virtue of the fact that you can have a few people who play by their own rules but even they have lines that they won’t cross. Nighthawk, there’s no such thing as a line Nighthawk won’t cross. At least, at this point, we haven’t found where it is he won’t go yet. You are kind of touching on it already but just to dig in specifically, what would make him not a great teammate? What would make him a disadvantage for a team like the Occupy Avengers?

Occupy Avengers #3 cover by Agustin Alessio

Occupy Avengers #3 cover by Agustin Alessio

David Walker: Oh, you know, something like killing Clint would be a really bad move. [Laughs] And he genuinely, Nighthawk genuinely hates Clint Barton and part of, I guess we’ll say [the] joke, is that Clint can’t quite figure out why and Nighthawk is never gonna come out and say why. He’ll just say, “I hate you.” At some point, they’ll bury the hatchet. The question is will that hatchet be buried in Clint’s head?

Some of the best stories come from that tension between two or three characters; they might not be the best support for one another on a personal level, but they’re the best at what they do. In Sam Peckinpah’s movie “The Wild Bunch” the thing I love—one of the things I love about that movie is Warren Oates and [Ben Johnson], they play the Gorch brothers, and they are like the crazy ones on the team, unstable, unbalanced, and frustrated. But at the same time, if I’m going to go into a gun fight with the entire Mexican Army, these are the guys I want on my side. We’ve talked about the relationship between Clint and Nighthawk, but what’s the dynamic between Nighthawk and Red Wolf and Clint and Red Wolf? What’s their interplay like?

David Walker: In the beginning there’s…I’m worried I’ll spoil stuff.

Let’s just say in a three-way death match, Red Wolf is the one who’s going to win. He’ll be the last to jump into the fight but he’ll also be the last one standing. I think that Nighthawk recognizes how dangerous Red Wolf really can be and he actually respects that.

Red Wolf is also very quiet and doesn’t crack jokes or that sort of thing and that’s part of why Clint is one of those guys that never seems like he’s serious and that’s the way I’m writing him. To Red Wolf, Clint is like, “Where is this guy gonna take me, what kind of adventure is this going to be? I have no idea but I’m gonna go for it.”

There’s definitely some stuff that I am planning out for later in the series. All the pieces aren’t in play yet so I haven’t quite figured it out yet but I think one of those issues, once again, where you have a team full of leaders and the person who is most level headed and probably the one that everyone trusts the most out of the group—we’re going to see there are still more members trickling in—is always going to be Red Wolf. Red Wolf is always going to be the person people turn to and say, “Well, what do you think?” And he’ll say, “Yeah, let’s go beat up Doctor Doom.”

That’s just an example. Doctor Doom is not in the book. Is it safe to assume that the Avengers have come to Chicago on a case when they encounter Nighthawk?

David Walker: No, it’s actually not a; I’m writing the book in a way where the reader is never 100% sure if [the Avengers] have stumbled on or they are actively seeking out something. Whenever possible I like to leave a bit to the imagination of the reader. And sometimes you can’t get away with that much.

But you will find out why they are in Chicago but to say anything more is spoilerish [and] then people will be yelling at me online and we don’t want to go there.

Find out what’s going on with OCCUPY AVENGERS #3 by David Walker and Carlos Pacheco, due out January 11!

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David Walker scouts some prime candidates for Hawkeye’s new team!

While Red Wolf and Hawkeye have proven quite the duo already, a country as large as the United States needs a bigger squad to ferret out all its dark corners. With that in mind, writer David Walker has always intended to slowly expand the OCCUPY AVENGERS ranks, beginning with issue #2 on December 7.

While we begged, pleaded, and bargained, he refused to tell us exactly who might be joining the roster. Walker did, however, agree to let us try to guess.

When Michael Van Patrick first showed up at the Initiative training camp, he seemed a shoo-in. A terrible accident later and he became a dead dirty little secret. However, genetic material that good cannot be ignored so Patrick ended up cloned multiple times. This one would be the last still standing.

“Clint is easy-going, but he has issues with clones, and anyone who is fanatical about what they eat, so that might be a problem,” Walker points out. “Plus, MVP is better looking than Clint, which would be tough on his ego.”

An excellent hand-to-hand combatant and tactician, Mockingbird has had more than enough solo success to demonstrate she would be an asset on any team. Add in the fact that she can be a team player and has worked extensively with Hawkeye and she seems like a great fit.

“Quite possibly the perfect person to team up with Hawkeye to fight crime,” admits the writer. “The big question is this: could she put up with her ex-husband?”

El Aguila
While M Day did rob him of his mutant gifts, El Aguila remains a talented swordsman and open hand combatant. Additionally, he has charisma to spare, a big help when you wander town to town without knowing quite what awaits you.

“Nothing short of a full and equal partnership in Heroes for Hire with Luke Cage and Iron Fist will make this man happy,” asserts Walker. “Plus, Clint would be totally jealous, because this guy is suave and swashbuckling. Clint can barely swash and buckle at the same time.”

Free Spirit
Despite a rather dark origin involving subliminal mind manipulation and misinformed consent to medical experimentation, Cathy Webster remains an optimistic hero who truly believes in doing the right thing. She may well recognize Clint’s mission as a place where she can help others who will not otherwise be seen or heard.

“With a name like that, who wouldn’t want her on their team?” Walker enthuses. “Of course, she might be a little too peppy for a team of misfits with as much existential baggage as Clint and the rest of the [team].”

Occupy Avengers (2016) #2

Occupy Avengers (2016) #2

What is Marvel Unlimited?

They call him the Master of Kung Fu? What other reason do you need?

Ok, here’s one more: he loves to stick up for the disenfranchised and the ignored and that fits perfectly with Clint’s mission statement.

“Let’s be honest, Shang Chi is too cool to be on anyone’s team,” the writer acknowledges. “In a perfect world, everyone would be on his team.”

Night Thrasher
The founder and leader of the New Warriors, Night Thrasher had been off the map due to death for a minute. Back now thanks to cosmic machinations, Dwayne Taylor might be looking to get back down to Earth and back to kicking in bad guy teeth.

“Hawkeye isn’t afraid of much—other than committed relationships—but I suspect Night Thrasher might be a bit intense for him,” muses Walker. “Hawkeye wouldn’t have to do much, just point at the bad guys and say, ‘Don’t break too many bones.’”

U.S. Agent
Who better to take with you on a trip across America than a guy who’s dedicated his life to wearing patriotic costumes and going by patriotic names? And, he’s got all that prior team experience!

“Hawkeye and this guy would get along for about five minutes, and four of those minutes they would be faking it,” the writer jokes.

Colleen Wing
A martial arts master with an undeniable talent for uncovering the truth, Wing offers these Avengers intelligence and physical skill, neither of which they can survive for long without in the field.

“She always seems to be pushed out of the spotlight by Misty Knight, which is a shame, because she can issue a beat-down with the best of them,” laments Walker. “She would provide a strong moral compass to the team, which would probably drive Clint insane.”

Travel the roads of America with OCCUPY AVENGERS #2 by David Walker and Carlos Pacheco, coming December 7!

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Mark Waid and Barry Kitson discuss an Avengers story of epic proportions!

As we see the present-day Avengers – complete with a refreshed line-up – battle Kang once more, the story of a long-past Avengers team also unfolds before us. Captain America leads a trio of reformed criminals – Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver – to take on continued threats to Earth while his fellow founding members break from the team.

Writer Mark Waid teams with penciller Barry Kitson to tell an Avengers story of old that will intertwine with the adventures of the current team. We grabbed the two of them for a chat to see what we could learn about this new and unique series. How did the idea come about to run these parallel stories of an early Avengers team alongside the current team battling Kang?

Mark Waid: I’ve been itching to tell this story for a long time. I love, as I did with Captain America: Man Out of Time, to be able to tell flashback stories within continuity, and I’ve forever been fascinated by whatever untold story lay behind how the world came to accept Cap’s Kookie Quartet as a viable replacement for Iron Man, Giant Man, Wasp and Thor. A still-recently-thawed Captain America is joined by three heroes who have their origins as villains. What prompts this particular group to come together? What threats are they teaming up to face?

Mark Waid: The original Avengers, as per established continuity, were all facing personal issues that demanded a break from the team, so Iron Man put out the call for new members–and these are the ones who showed up…at first. But not the ONLY ones, as we’ll soon see.  As for menaces, the Frightful Four and the Stranger are two–and that’s only the beginning of the list! What about working with the Marvel universe of the past has been most exciting for you? Has working in this time period something you’ve wanted to do for a while, or a wholly new opportunity?

Barry Kitson: For me this encapsulates a childhood dream becoming fully realized. This was the era of Marvel that I first began reading and lead me to fall in love with US comics rather than the very cartoonish British fare I had been used to. I was reading these stories when I was five or six years old and already dreaming of drawing these characters for a living – so for me it is the perfect realization of that dream – despite all the time that has passed I feel like that little kid again getting to work with the characters I most loved in the incarnations that first drew me to them. I’m sure Mark will bear witness that when he approached me about doing this series – I had agreed before he had managed to get beyond saying it would focus on Cap’s cookie quartet… I may also have threatened terrible retribution on him if he let any other artist get anywhere near this particular series!

Not only does the series feature the Avengers line-up that I feel most personally connected to, but also a whole cast of characters from the era that I have always longed to draw – I’m not sure how much I can give away but there are guest stars and villains aplenty that I think anyone who loves this era in Marvel history will thoroughly enjoy! (As you have probably gathered I could ramble on about how excited I am for some time!) You two have worked together on other comics, but this is your first time combining your talents in the Marvel universe. What’s the process like?

Mark Waid: Seamless. We’ve been working together for so long that we bring out the best in one another. Barry gets a plot and as much freedom as he needs to tell the story visually, and then I’ll go back and add dialogue to match his storytelling. We trust one another!

Barry Kitson: It’s pretty much our standard operating procedure, I think. Mark and I have developed a process over the years where we trust each other to bounce ideas back and forth perhaps more than many writer/artist teams – possibly purely because we have done so much work together. We work pretty close to the classic ‘Marvel method’ whereby Mark will provide the plot (although sometimes much more than a plot for certain scenes when it can be almost full script) and I will break the pages down into panels – after that will bounce things back and forth to make sure we’re both happy – then I’ll draw up the pages and Mark will dialogue from the finished pencils – usually added great touches that I sometimes don’t even know about until the comic sees print – which is always one of the most fun parts of working with him for me! Barry, you’ve been away from Marvel for a few years, how has returning to these characters and this world been for you?

Barry Kitson: I guess most of my long and rambling response to the earlier question applies here also. I really can’t overstate what a joy it is for me to be working on these particular characters especially in this setting and with Mark as writer – I might quite possibly be the happiest penciller in the business right now! The .1 numbering implies that the adventures of this team will be connected in some way to the present-day Avengers. Can you let us in on anything about that? Kang is known for his time-traveling ways, after all.

Mark Waid: And yet, it’s not really Kang-related. What we’ll be seeing is the origin of a menace that will come back to threaten the modern-day Avengers.

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David Walker and Hawkeye take justice on the road beginning in November!

New York City, greatest city on Earth. Big. Sprawling. Filled to the brim with people. But not the whole country, not even in the Marvel Universe.

So, starting this November, writer David Walker and artist Carlos Pacheco will take Hawkeye and more on the highways and bi-way to explore the rest of the United States of the Marvel Universe and bring justice to the places super heroes rarely traipse in the new series OCCUPY AVENGERS. We spoke to Walker for all the details. OCCUPY AVENGERS begins with Hawkeye, Clint Barton. He’s obviously gone through a lot in Civil War II; where’s his head at as the book starts?

David Walker: He’s in a pretty messed up place. I guess the best way to describe where he’s at is he’s in a sort of existential crisis. There’s a lot of people that think he’s done the right thing and a lot of people who think he’s done the wrong thing. And a lot of the people who think he did the wrong thing are his friends, the people he’d normally turn to.

So he’s sort of on this mission to find himself and redeem himself, which is a lot of what drives this story. You’ve made the point elsewhere that lot of the people who think he did the right thing are your sort of everyday non super powered folks. What is about Hawkeye and what he did to the Incredible Hulk that strikes a chord with them?

David Walker: I think the biggest thing that strikes a chord with them is the Hulk has always been this character who represents a force of nature who you can’t control. When he’d go on his rages, he’d level a town. It’s like an earthquake or a tornado or a flash flood except in the embodiment of a living creature. For a lot of people, I think that someone was able to stop him, to put an end to it is a part of the appeal.

And then you throw in the face that Hawkeye, Clint Barton, is just a regular person. I mean, he’s really good with a bow and arrow but he’s not…even in comparison with other “regular” people, he’s not Tony Stark with a suit of armor. He’s a guy with a very modern version of an ancient weapon. I think that allows people to see themselves in him and that’s how he becomes the champion of the everyday common person. It’s so much easier to relate to Clint than it is to say, Steve Rogers. One thing I’ve seen come up a few times when you’ve talked about OCCUPY is you’ve sort of drawn a distinction between Hawkeye and Clint Barton. You’ve said the book is about Clint, it is not so much about Hawkeye. So for you, what is the difference between Barton the man and Hawkeye the man in the costume?

David Walker: That’s a really interesting question. I tend to do that in just about every series I write. In my scripts, I will refer to characters by their actual given names. I’m always referring to Iron Fist as Danny Rand even when he’s in Iron Fist mode.

But I think, as it relates to this story and mirrors the existential crisis he’s going through, the question is “Am I Clint Barton or am I Hawkeye?” Everywhere he goes now, he’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye, lost in that limbo of who’s who or are they one in the same?

I think it is pretty interesting because, you know, over the years, his costume has changed and so he’s become one of those characters that’s really really recognizable on the street. He used to be able to walk down the street in a mask and they would know he’s Hawkeye but they wouldn’t know Hawkeye is Clint Barton.

We are seeing it more and more in comics where the notion of the secret identity is becoming really either inconsequential or really important to others. That’s what I’m playing with: is Hawkeye actually a secret identity, especially when everyone knows he’s Clint Barton?

I think a lot of us go through that uncertainty—at our own levels—because we play many roles. We can be many things all at once, all wrapped up in the same package. OCCUPY AVENGERS is a road book taking place in various locations outside the New York City of the Marvel Universe. How does working with Carlos Pacheco as the artist made the world outside of New York bring it to life for you?

David Walker: Carlos…he’s an amazing artist. The art that I’ve seen so far—you know I don’t want to give away too much about the first story arc but it’s set from a place as far removed from the big city as you can imagine. It is definitely set where someone might call the flyovers. You can see it. There’s no giant tall buildings.

Again, without giving up away too much, you’ll see there’s a fight between Hawkeye and the bad guys and they’re in the middle of the desert. There’s no place to hide. It’s not like a city where you can run into an alley, where you can hide behind a car. There’s this outdoor element to it that Carlos is just capturing perfectly. In a way, it’s otherworldly. So much of comics is set in the big city or in worlds that are completely foreign—some underwater domain or some extraterrestrial planet—but this is set off Highway 8, in New Mexico or Iowa or Montana. This is set in real places that don’t often get seen in comics.

To me, that’s really exciting, that’s really fun seeing that. To expand on that, what attracts you to those locations we don’t usually see?

David Walker: It’s a combination of things. One is there are problems all over this country. You see it on the news, but for whatever reason you don’t see super heroes slugging it out out there. You don’t see super heroes in Flint, Michigan trying to figure out the water crisis that they’ve been having.

For me, that’s the appeal. We’re going places and attempting to address issues—in pretty broad strokes but—issues that really do impact the lives of everyday Americans. If you’re running around New York City—and don’t get me wrong, New York City does have its problems—but if you are running around New York, you are likely to run into Spider-Man or Power Man and Iron Fist or hundreds of other characters. So if you are in a jam, they can show up and help.

The thing about OCCUPY AVENGERS is that it starts with showing Clint in a world where there is no backup. Then he gets backup in the form of Red Wolf who is the first to join up with what will be this ragtag team. But even as a team, every time the Occupy Avengers get into a jam, they are by themselves. There’s no one to run down Broadway or Lexington and turn a corner to help them fight Doctor Doom or Galactus or someone. If you’re in Utah and you’re battling whatever—the meth crimelords in Provo—you might be on your own. There’s always a feeling that they’re on their own and always a question of how do they protect one another. Since you mentioned him, I’ll just jump to Red Wolf now. What made him such an attractive candidate for the book? How does he fit your themes?

David Walker: It’s interesting because Red Wolf was an editorial suggestion. I had asked them specifically for a character named Winona Wingfoot who is Wyatt Wingfoot’s sister and she’s had like three appearances but she was kind of cool. I really wanted a Native American character so I could start [to], hopefully, undo a lot of the negative stereotypes all over areas of pop culture.

I think it was [editor] Tom [Brevoort] who responded right away, “I get what you are trying to do but would you mind doing this with Red Wolf because he just reintroduced him and it would be nice if he had some place to go.” I thought, “Sure.” You know, he is more recognizable at the moment.

I think this is like the fourth version of Red Wolf. It’s this persona that is inherited or adopted so he has a very clean slate besides what we saw in Secret Wars last summer and in what Nathan Edmonson wrote in RED WOLF.

When Tom suggested Red Wolf, the first thought that ran through my head was, “Oh, he’s like Steve Rogers,” because he’s a man out of time. He’s a man of really strong convictions from another time that don’t necessarily fit within the world he’s in so I can play with that and build on that and never have to rely on some of more traditional and stereotypical tropes that are associated with Native Americans. They were old when I was kid and now I’m a grown man and they’re still old.

In a perfect world he and Steve Rogers would become best friends because there is something about Red Wolf—he’s like Rip Van Winkle. He just woke up after 200, 150 years into the future.

I’m not writing him as this sort of inept bumbling character from the 1870’s who is suddenly in 2016 though. He’s incredibly savvy and constantly trying to learn new things. Is Clint using the name Avengers for this as they’re out on these or is that just the name of the book?

David Walker: Right now that’s just the name of the book. It harkens back to the Occupy movement, the movement being associated with the 99% that are underrepresented in terms of wealth and power in this country. Occupy, as you just pointed out, has definite connotations in today’s United States political climate. In the past, you’ve utilized politics in your comics to enhance the storytelling and plots. Assuming this title is not an accident, how do you use them here? How do you balance super hero action and politics?

David Walker: There’s a challenge whenever you write comics to find the balance in action and whatever else you want to do, whether it is building story or characters or some combination. Personally, I think watching a super hero and a bad guy beat each other up for 12 out of 20-something pages can get kind of boring so to me, I’d much prefer character and story development.

In terms of “ripped from the headlines” politics aspects of stories, whatever you want to call it, I look back on the comics of my childhood in the 70’s. I look at the Harry Osborn drug issues of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. And then going back even further. The creation of Captain America even. That was nothing but politics in that. It was a direct response to America’s involvement in World War II, of helping Americans wrap their minds around the concept of what they were being told was good versus evil.

I constantly [try] to find balance but I think a big mistake that can happen in a lot of comics is going for that sort of non-stop roller coaster ride of action and explosions and all that because no one, to this day—with the exception of the time Green Goblin was involved in the death of Gwen Stacy—most people aren’t talking about any one specific fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin or one specific fight between the Fantastic Four and the Mole Man except for the first time they met. What they remember are the character moments.

That’s what I love writing for Marvel especially because it gives me this opportunity to go back and read all this wealth of stuff. I’m constantly on Marvel Unlimited reading this stuff from all different eras and the things that always stand out are these character moments.

It’s really fun and I’m trying to find a good balance. I know there are a lot of readers who are looking for stories driven by character who they find compelling. Whatever action they’re doing, whatever adventure they’re on is important but not as important as the character themselves.

Without character, Clint Baron becomes just a guy with a bow and arrow, Captain America becomes just a guy in a star spangled outfit. They’d be empty vessels. The great thing about the best characters in the Marvel Universe is none of them are empty vessels. They all have things that make them incredibly unique. After Red Wolf joins, how does the team continue to form? Do you see it as a solid, steady roster or a rotation of characters coming and going?

David Walker: Starting in issues #3 and #4 we introduce three new members and then the final member and then the final member of the team is introduced in #5.

We’re still playing around with it. There’s one character I think who will be better served by being a sort of rotating—not a rotating member no, more like someone who is not there for every single issue, every story. The stories will be better served if this particular character shows up for particular cases or adventures.

The way it is being written is like there are two types of adventures. There’s the type where Clint or someone on the team recognizes some sort of injustice so they travel to some region of the country to try to correct it or investigate it. Then there’s the ones they totally stumbled into and had no idea was going on. So they’re sort of caught in the crosshairs of the Hatfields and the McCoys or whatever it might be. It sounds like this is a book that gives you lots of opportunities to create new characters or put characters—ones we perhaps haven’t seen in a while—in new roles. Have you found that to be the case?

David Walker: Yeah, definitely. There’s a couple of characters that are gonna show up on a regular basis that have not been seen in ages anywhere in the Marvel Universe. And then there’s some new people that show up for that particular story. There’s a few that I am thinking about just off the top of my head that I enjoyed writing so much that they could always come back again, show up again.

One of the notions I’m playing with with Clint is that he’s a guy who part of the way he survives is through favors. He’s very much “hey, I owe you one,” but he’s very quick to say, “hey you owe me” so you are going to see a lot of favors being exchanged and a lot of people that are like, “Barton, I really hate you,” and Barton being like, “Yeah, but you owe me a favor.”

On the reverse side, you are going to see him really stand up for what he believes in and not hesitating to stand up for people in need whether or no they owe him a favor. What would you say to those sitting on the fence, the undecideds, to move them over into pre-orderers and buyers? What would be the pitch?

David Walker: My pitch is that OCCUPY AVENGERS is going to be the most interesting eclectic team of individuals you’ve ever seen doing the best they can to really fight for what is right. And what is going to make the book really entertaining is half the team don’t even really like each other. There’s a lot of arguing. They’ll be more a family than a super hero team.

David Walker and Carlos Pacheco invite you to join the movement with OCCUPY AVENGERS starting in November!

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The time-traveling tyrant terrorizes Thor in a 'Marvel's Avengers: Ultron Revolution' clip, airing Sunday morning!

Everyone’s favorite 30th century warlord Kang comes to the present to destroy the Avengers in a clip from “Marvel’s Avengers: Ultron Revolution”! Watch the clip above and tune in to “Marvel’s Avengers: Ultron Revolution” this Sunday at 8:30 AM ET on Disney XD.

When the Avengers discover that the nefarious A.I.M. has found a way to travel to the future to procure highly advanced weapons, they learn that the evil organization has brought back more than just weapons! With Kang the Conquerer hot on A.I.M.’s heels, the powerful villain realizes his opportunity to destroy the Avengers once and for all. See Thor’s attempts to take down the villain in the clip above!

Catch an all-new “Marvel’s Avengers: Ultron Revolution” this Sunday at 8:30 AM ET on Disney XD! Stay tuned to for all the latest news and updates on your favorite Marvel animated series.

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While trying to track down a fellow Avenger, T'Challa gets caught up in the search for Daredevil!

Read through some of T’Challa’s most thrilling adventures on Marvel Unlimited to mark Black Panther’s 50th anniversary!

One of the reasons Marvel fandom became so dedicated and ravenous in the 60’s and 70’s revolved around the shared nature of the universe, especially in New York City. The Fantastic Four might take off for an adventure in their own series and then be seen flying overhead in an issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Or, while the Avengers search for a missing teammate, one of them would take a brief detour to help save a previously unmet fellow hero.

That’s the case with Black Panther in 1969’s DAREDEVIL #52 by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. At the time, T’Challa served with the Avengers and the group wanted to find the missing Hawkeye, but as the Wakandan searched New York, some police stopped him, mistaking him for Daredevil in the night. They informed him that the Man Without Fear might suffer from a fatal malady, so Black Panther took a detour to scour the city and find the red-clad hero.

Unbeknownst to T’Challa, Matt Murdock intended to give up his Daredevil identity, going so far as to pretend that his non-existent twin brother Mike actually filled out the costume and recently died. However, with Starr Saxon threatening to hurt Karen Page while also revealing the hero’s true identity to her, Matt decided to don the threads once again.

Daredevil (1964) #52

Daredevil (1964) #52

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Before he can do that that, the nearly delirious blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen knocked Black Panther unconscious, assuming his intentions to be less than pure. Undeterred, T’Challa gives chase, following Matt back to his apartment where Saxon holds Karen. Black Panther jumped in to save her life followed soon by Daredevil.

Saxon made a break for it and Daredevil told Panther he had it covered, but the Avenger elected to keep an eye on his new ally. Though DD proved more than capable of handling Saxon on his own, his actions proved T’Challa’s theory that he and Murdock remained one and the same. Our hero also watched as Daredevil lets Saxon go thanks to a lack of proof of any criminal activity. The Panther soon took his own leave vowing not to add to the hero’s baggage by revealing that he too knew the secret of Matt’s other identity.

Black Panther and Daredevil continued to cross paths over the years, but none more so than just a few years back when the latter asked the former to cover Hell’s Kitchen for him after the events of Shadowland.

Secrets of Wakanda

As an on-again, off-again member of the Avengers, T’Challa holds the distinction of being the first person of color to earn the title of team chairman. Back in the mid-60’s the team cycled through leaders, called the chairman, every month as a way to keep the group more well-rounded and not put too much responsibility on any one member. Black Panther acts as chairman in AVENGERS #63 when he orders Hawkeye to stay back at headquarters while the rest of them look for Black Widow. Not one to follow commands, the archer dons one of Hank Pym’s old Goliath suits, downs a new growth serum, and heads out to find the Widow without his teammates knowing. Black Panther searches for him in DAREDEVIL #52, but the heroes return to base in AVENGERS #64. Unperturbed by Clint Barton’s brashness, Black Panther refocuses the team on their next target: a satellite blowing up midwestern towns.

Next, Jack Kirby returns to the character he created by launching the very first BLACK PANTHER series in 1977.

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