Remember during the Skrull Invasion when Tony Stark dropped the ball then Norman Osborn picked it up, ran with it, scored a touchdown, and victory danced his ass off as one of the most powerful men in the Marvel Universe? Creating H.A.M.M.E.R. and then going on to form the Dark Avengers were two of his biggest accomplishments, but after the cracks in his sanity began to show, everything came crashing down around him. Well, he’s back, and now with support from deserters of Hydra, A.I.M., and The Hand, it looks like not only H.A.M.M.E.R. is making a comeback but the Dark Avengers will be as well.
Bendis reveals the new roster of the Dark Avengers in this recruitment issue as Norman hand picks his team that will give the New Avengers and Avengers some headaches in the very near future. What’s great is that this issue winds up being more than a series of “roll calls” as Bendis builds on the Osborn we’ve come to know so well in the past couple of years. This Norman Osborn is a lot more appealing as a bad guy than the raving lunatic in the Green Goblin costume, if you ask me. Even if you have no prior knowledge of Osborn’s exploits, Bendis excels at making this a great jumping on point for any new reader of the series. There’s a large amount of expo that does well in laying the foundation of what will be taking place in future issues. Each character is given quite enough time to be fleshed out to make the reader comfortable going into this thing, and the dialog is just great. There were a couple of times where during the conversations between Madame Hydra, Osborn, and Gorgon that things could have been cut a bit short, because it felt repetitive after a few scenes. Though jumping around from various parts in the week did help to break up the sequencing of those events. We also get to see who will be playing the role of whom at the end of the issue. It’s going to be exciting when Ms. Marvel sees that Superia is her doppelganger, because the last time they met it was far from cordial. There’s a few more that will surprise the heroes, but none will be bigger than the one that Norman is saving for later.
Deodato and Beredo waste no time in giving you some great visuals for this issue. Deodato opened the book with Skaar punching the hell out of a T-Rex, and who doesn’t get tired of seeing that? The rest of the book was more of the same, as he took those conversations and static moments I spoke of earlier and gave them some kick. There was also the full page of new Spider-Man with his extra appendages that blew me away. The only page that probably made me wince was the two-page spread of the new team in their costumes. Something about it seemed a bit off to me, and most of it had to do with Skaar looking more squat and a bit deformed than what he should be.
The New Dark Avengers are here, and considering who some of the members are there will be some serious sparks flying soon. There’s also the plus of Skaar getting some major exposure that has nothing to do with being tied to a Hulk book. This continues to be my favorite out of all the Avengers titles, as even without the team showing up Bendis writes this one with something extra that doesn’t go into the others. Sure, it’s just my opinion, but I’m so glad he does! If you’re not reading New Avengers then you need to find a way to correct that mistake!