Dark Avengers #1Best Shots Extra
Dark Avengers #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Mike Deodato
The new Avengers are here, and they’re DARK! Okay, obviousness of the title aside, the first issue is an okay read. Sure, there are a lot of parallels to the original first issue of Thunderbolts, but Bendis clearly has fun with Norman Osborn. A couple of the background players get some short shrift, so we’ll cover them first.
In that regard, I’m talking about Ares and Sentry. Their decision to remain with Osborn’s team more or less boils each one down to a one-sentence character description: asshole (Ares) and headcase (Sentry). Not that either aspect wasn’t true before, but those qualities now seem to take precedence as their respective definitions. Ares demonstrated that he has no team loyalty, a sad fact considering the humor that he brought to early issues of the Mighty Avengers. Sentry has been basically useless for a while, isolated every time that a major crisis comes up and unleashed only at the close (see: World War Hulk). I would hope that Bendis takes this opportunity to do a lot more with both; otherwise I wouldn’t mind seeing Sentry shuffle off the four-color coil.
The various villain-replaces-hero moves (Moonstone for Ms. Marvel, Bullseye for Hawkeye, Venom for Spidey, Daken for Wolverine) that make up the bulk of the team didn’t really come as much of a surprise if you’ve read any advance press or made logical guesses. The identity of Iron Patriot is almost a surprise, but fits the pattern of ego established for that character. While the conceptual conceit here is basically clever, one wonders how long it will last in the eyes of the mainstream citizen of the Marvel Universe. Clearly, the two teams square off in New Avengers #50. How dumb will the citizens of the 616 look if they show unerring support for Fake Ms. Marvel over Regular Ms. Marvel, who actually did side with the government in Civil War (ostensibly on the side of the public), who led the Mighty Avengers, and who worked in a public service capacity? It’s going to be a hard thing to negotiate for the creators.
Most of the issue is simply made up of gathering the team. That’s a passable, time-honored activity for a first issue. It does present a problem if you read any of Marvel’s other offerings first this week; in Mighty Avengers and other titles, the Dark Avengers were already up, running, and taking on missions.
The inclusion of Deodato as artist is a sensible move, though it does put a spotlight on the T-Bolts thing (as he did draw that book as well). Deodato’s style is well-suited to super-hero action, and he’s already quite comfortable with most of the cast. His Osborn is a smarmy, leering suit, the kind of guy that you immediately want to punch in the face. And it works perfectly here.
Dark Avengers could wind up being a lot of fun, depending on where Bendis and his inclinations take us. I hope that the dead-weight of Sentry is dealt with quickly; he could be a drag on an otherwise interesting party.