UPDATED: Right To Assemble 3: The Dark COSMIC Avengers?

Right To Assemble 3: The Dark Avengers

Troy covers what's just past and what's coming up this week for the Avengers here. For the future of the Avengers, and the rest of Marvel's stable, click right here for the December 2009 solicitations!

Dark Cosmic Avengers?

UPDATE (3:15 pm, Tues Sept 22):  Shortly after we posted this article, we found out the darkness is spreading across the universe into Marvel's cosmic arena. Marvel sent us this image with the simple message "EVIL ASSEMBLE" and some cosmic analogues of your favorite Avengers. Who are all of these dark cosmic avengers?





One-Shot/Rated T+ ...$3.99

FOC—10/15/09, On-Sale—11/4/09

Original Article:

Whether you’ve been enjoying all of the Marvel crossovers of the past few years, there’s one thing that you should probably admit: the coordination and cross-continuity across the various Avengers titles has been fairly impressive.  Granted, there have been rocky moments (like when Mighty was running late in the early days), but the synergistic storytelling in the Avengers titles continues to work in terms of covering multiple sides of one overarching structure.  Case in point: Dark Reign.

Although it does sometimes stretch plausibility to see the Dark Avengers in so many places at once (no more so than Wolverine, one would guess), it’s been interesting.  Let’s take a look at some recent events, and offer some perspective on two issues that hit this week.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus #1:  Said it before, say it again: I love it when Cyclops gets to be the badass.  This was an extremely satisfying issue for me, as it showed the master strategist of the 616 in fine form.  In particular, it pulled the amazing trick of having super-heroes using their powers in tandem and/or in creative ways to overcome a threat.  That was actually pretty refreshing.  Teamwork used to be a staple of team books, and it’s nice to see that Matt Fraction and company remembered that.

Obviously, the book belonged to the X-Men much more than it did to the Dark Avengers (whom, I might reiterate, got their asses handed back to them), but it’s still a crucial chapter in that it’s a rare loss for Norman these days.  The fact that the X-Men eluded his grasp will no doubt drive him nuts.

Dark Reign: The List: Avengers #1:  Following immediately on the heels of Exodus, this “List” installment is the payoff of Ronin/Hawkeye/Sometimes Goliath/Clint’s building rage.  While the issue does have some light moments (such as Spidey noting that killing is in “the top ten of wrong”), the overall mood is lethal, with Clint hitting Avengers Tower with the intent of assassinating Norman.  Seeing Clint get the drop on Venom, Li’l Wolvie and Bullseye is pretty entertaining, but it ends as might expect: with our hero on the receiving end of a beat-down and capture.

And now, for the mostly non-spoilery look ahead . . .

Marvel Preview - NEW AVENGERS #57
Marvel Preview - NEW AVENGERS #57
New Avengers #57:  This happens before “The List”, as Ronin of the Many Names is still out cold in the street with his pals rather than captured.  While much of the issue has to do with the maneuverings of the two prominent villain groups (Hood’s tenuous band of followers and the DA), the titular team does get a few moments to shine.

Avengers: The Initiative #28:  A key book for the week and for “Dark Reign” in general, this issue deals heavily with the former New Warriors/Avengers Resistance, answers some questions about the current relationships between Avengers squads, further establishes Tigra in a leadership role, and has more than a couple of surprises.  Writer Christos Gage and artist Rafa Sandoval both need to be commended: Gage, for writing a dizzying script full action, dialogue, and development, and Sandoval, for drawing what amounts to about four dozen characters by issue’s end.

Dark Reign: The List: X-Men #1:  The first three pages of this demonstrate that Norman, and perhaps Matt Fraction as well, is dangerously insane.  I mean, we already knew that, but this . . . wow.  This is a new level of “Sick and Wrong”.  Frankly, any evil enterprise that involves the word “estrus” is pretty much going to be bats#!+ insane.  I’m also ridiculously delighted by the final panel on page 19, which is Old School Done Right.  I expect that there will be some discontent from some quarters about what’s done to a particular, possibly obscure, character, but it fits the profile of Norman having gone very much around the bend.

It’s continually interesting here to see how all of the various plotlines continue to weave through and around one another.  While there have certainly been stronger or weaker “Dark Reign” issues, I believe that the tight nature of these titles makes the present status quo have more validity.

What do you think, readers?  Have your say, and check back in after you get the new books this week.  After all, it’s your right to assemble.

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