Comic: "Dark Avengers 1-2"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Bendis
Artist: Deodato

Reviewer: Max Burbank
Posted: 2/24/2009

Plot: Norman Osborn, a.k.a The Green Goblin, shoots the leader of the Skrull invasion in the head, and so as a natural consequence, is given leadership of SHIELD and The Avengers. SHIELD gets scraped in favor of HAMMER and the Avengers get a new line-up. Two Avengers stay on; Ares and Sentry. They are joined by villains passed off as old avengers. Bullís-eye is Hawkeye, Moonstone is Ms. Marvel, Venom is Spider-Man, Daken is Wolverine. Oh, and for whatever reason, Marvel Boy is Captain Marvel. And Normie puts on Iron Man Armor with Captain America colors asÖ Iron Patriot. Sorry. And on their very first mission, the have to save Dr. Doom from Morgan LaFey.

Review: Okay. I confess. I like it so far. I have no faith in it, I think itís a lousy story line, but if I said I didnít like it Iíd be lying.

The thing is, though, itís been done before. And not just Ďitís been done beforeí as in Ďthereís nothing new under the suní. Itís been done before in the original run of Thunderbolts, the very book Norman is coming from. Moonstone was a founding member, so she ought to have a powerful sense of dejavu. It was a lot of fun, and I loved it, until the premise ran thin as it was bound to. Some of the Villains playing heroes started to like being heroes so much they were forced to reevaluate their lives, they turned on the others, there was a big fight, everybody was exposed and thenÖ then there really wasnít any story left to tell.

ĎDark Avengersí is fun. But itís a retread of an idea that was fun, but had short legs. And Thunderbolts wasnít weighed down by having to drag along the whole damn Marvel Universe.

Add two more huge problems to the mix, Daken and Sentry. Once upon a time, Wolverine was a great character. He still is, if you just go with the basics, but no one at Marvel seems to have been happy with that for a couple of decades now. As an enigma heís awesome, but every hack with a pencil had to add to his back-story, creating a great stinking swamp full of crap like Robot Wolverine, Cyber and now Daken. It wasnít enough that Wolverine had to be everywhere all the time in every aspect of Marvel, now we have to contend with his son. All we need now is Wolverine-Mite and Logan can be Batman in 1962.

Sentry was a great mini series. It was very Meta, a comment on the Marvel take on superherodom. Taking that character out of the artistically contrived alternate Marvel universe and putting him into actual Marvel continuity was always a mistake, and more than that, a complete failure to get anything the original miniseries was about. Make Sentry an actual hero in the Marvel universe and he totally fails to be a comment on the Marvel Universe. Itís more than stupid, itís an insult. It was stupid as hell to bring him into the Avengers, and itís stupider still to keep him on. Nobody can do a damn thing with him, because he was never conceived as a character, he was a device with which to tell a story.

Sure, itís fun to have villains play heroes. Itís fun to have them become heroes, too. The Avengers have a proud history of turning heroes into villains. But that isnít where this is going, and these writers are too ham-fisted to make this story arc ironic commentary on old tropes.

The short version? ďDark AvengersĒ is fun, but itís already starting to smell a little. If youíre going to eat it, do it now before it spoils.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

is hopped up on goofballs
Feb 24th, 2009, 12:01 PM
Dark Avengers is a dumb idea, and so is Sentry. I never felt that the Marvel U needed a Superman analog, even if he is a tortured/split personality/headcase.
Feb 24th, 2009, 02:35 PM
Sentry in the hands of Bendis becomes a mildly retarded child that doesn't know if he was doing a bad thing by ripping a villain's head off. Osborne in the hands of Bendis acts completely out of normal character established in The Thunderbolts, goes insane for a moment and murders swordsman in a fit of rage. Fuck this book.

The worst thing about Dark Reign was that it instantly took over not a week after the Secret Invasion. This cross over event that had building up over years and years of continuity meant nothing because all it was doing was setting up for this crap. And you know whats coming out after this? Planet Skaar. For gods sake Marvel, give these giant crossovers a rest already.
Feb 24th, 2009, 08:56 PM
Well, I'm a-goin' to risk me some serious flaming here, and say I like Dark Avengers. At least, I intend to follow it for a while. Yeah, it's been done before, but not well, IMO. So far, it's been going the way Thunderbolts should have gone, before that title got so bogged down. (Although the recent 'Bolts revamp shows promise - I much prefer Black Widow II over I).

I always felt the Sentry was an unhelpful jerk; laziest plot device evar. "I'm so depressed! Somebody cheer me up!". He's a super-emo in bright yellow. To be fair, the five-part "Age of the Sentry" mini was a hoot if you're a Sliver Age fan - it even had the Blonde Phantom. But I'm in aggreement with all that captain bringdown in the yellow spandex has to go.

So I've SORT OF taken to Dark Reign; it's a good time to be a villain in the MU. That is, if one can work out what the hell one is doing. As Mr Burbank observed recently, continuity has gone out the window in many titles. Example : "Modok's 11" has me running a casino in Reno; "Omega Flight" has me causing grief in Canada; and "New Avengers" has not only got me running around with that cheap punk, the Hood, but I'm also depicted waving a gun. A GUN? That is so insulting. The Purpster has never used a gun EVER. Whew, sorry, just had to vent.
I likes PIE!
Feb 24th, 2009, 11:19 PM
Sorry but I like the Sentry. I like the whole "hey look it's Superman, oh wait is he hearing voices again? LOOKOUT!" aspect of the character.
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:54 AM
Like I said, I'm OK with Dark Avengers at the moment.

My problem with Sentry is as he was meant to be a finite mini series. It was good, and the Jae Lee artwork rocked. But Sentry was concieved as 50% hoax and 50% literary device. It's a HUGE msitake to play that out as a character.

You want a mentally ill powerhouse? There are a few already out there, or make up a new one. Unless you are really interested in working out themes on the history of the modern superhero or the DC consept vs. the Marvel concept, he's going to be clumsy, inept, ill fitting and hazily defined at best. And at worst, he's an insultingly trivial take on mental illness and comic fans.
I likes PIE!
Feb 25th, 2009, 07:48 PM
Wasn't the Sentry created by Bendis? And isn't it Bendis that then put him in the Avengers?

I believe you are making plenty of valid points, but I don't understand where you are getting the idea that the Sentry was never meant to be include in the regular Marvel universe?
Feb 25th, 2009, 09:48 PM
Bendis didn't create the sentry.

Publisher: Marvel Comics
First appearance: The Sentry #1 (Sep. 2000)
Created by: Paul Jenkins, Jae Lee
Feb 26th, 2009, 01:08 AM
Dangit I was hoping I could just igonre the whole "tony stark is heading shield, spiderman went public, the cap is dead, hulk is a bad guy and 50% of the supes are skrulls" mess and wait for a sensible reboot before I start reading marvel cannon again but now this crap. WTF happened to venom? WTF happened to thor? I'm confused and yet I'm still to scared to dive into the last two or three years of crappy marvel writing to find out.

I've been reading thor v3 for a year now and he's done NOTHING about the skrull invasion. When did that change, in some stupid one issue crossover?

I'm confused.
Feb 26th, 2009, 01:35 AM
This looks fantastic. Not really.
The Ugly Puckling
Feb 27th, 2009, 10:51 PM
The Sentry miniseries was a finite series because it contained a definitive ending for the character. The Sentry and The Void were both put back to sleep, and erased from the world's memory again, but this time it was with his permission and he knew what was going on, so it was not like he was going to wake up and do it all over again.

Then Bendis disregarded everything from the last three issues of the miniseries and ruined the character.
The Ugly Puckling
Feb 27th, 2009, 11:02 PM
I have to ask though, how is Norman Osborne being unstable out of character? I haven't been following the buildup with any great loyalty, but Normie's always been a nutty one, and it's presumably taking a lot out of him to maintain his sane appearance for the world at large.
Feb 28th, 2009, 08:24 AM
Outright murdering a team member in a fit of rage is pretty out of character if you've been reading the thunderbolts. He's crazy yeah, but he'd only kill his own men if he had a reason, not in an uncontrollable outburst. We're talking about a character that kept his cool during a huge alien invasion, during which several Skrulls shape-shifted into spider-men that he mowed down without without having a nervous breakdown. But here he is, killing his own man because they were arguing.

Then throwing him out a window. And down mountains. With a sword in his chest.
Mar 2nd, 2009, 01:55 AM
Actually, wouldn't Norman be OK with mowing down a bunch of spiderman's? He's the frikkin green goblin, that'd be like therapy to him! Don't forget he became the goblin by literally inhailing CRAZY GAS. Killing someone just because they pissed him off is EXACTLY what osbourne would do so don't kid yourself. He was always a realitively together guy who would randomly and fiercefully flaw off the handle and go on murderous rampages due to the littlest bit of stress or when he felt threatened. It was the goblin in his head fighting for control. It could be that thunderbolts was so poorly written that you've forgotten how the character is supposed to act.
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Mar 2nd, 2009, 09:52 AM
I'm going to play my age card and say I was just fine with the very long chunk of continuity where the Green Goblin was dead. You know, for the first time.

I never dug the Green Goblin all that much.

Green Goblin is a stupid name.

The Osborne family had stupid hair.
The Ugly Puckling
Mar 2nd, 2009, 10:21 AM
I didn't like the fact that they kept creating an endless string of new and each time sillier Goblin replacements, at least now that is he is back that is over...

I mean it's not like Harry's about to marry a Goblin knock-off or anything.

The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Mar 2nd, 2009, 05:58 PM
I was waiting for them to do Nose Goblin.
The Goddamned Batman
Mar 2nd, 2009, 06:03 PM
I don't know why I am buying this book. Is something wrong with me?

That said, at least the dialog wasn't as painfully formulaic and crappy as it usually is from Bendis. Everybody says he's so good at dialog...but those people must think it's normal for everyone to talk EXACTLY THE FUCKING SAME.
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:48 PM
No, no, I swear to god, he used to be good at dialogue. He started out like the friggin' David Mamet of comic books, it's like he got whacked in the head with the same big stick of stupid as Loeb. I swear, they should check the Marvel bullpen for gas leaks.
The Goddamned Batman
Mar 2nd, 2009, 09:40 PM
I do vaguely remember such a time when he was good at it too. I just loaned my roommate "Torso" to read and I was like "I remember this being good at the time, but I don't know if that's because it actually wasn't formulaic or if I just hadn't gotten tired of the formula yet." But he finished it and said that it honestly was good, so my memory did not fault me.
Mar 4th, 2009, 03:50 AM
Originally Posted by Protoclown View Post
I don't know why I am buying this book. Is something wrong with me?
Do you know how many times I say that to myself in the course of a week? It's like a mantra.