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Newer Avengers: Dark Avengers #1/Mighty Avengers #21 Tandem Review

The Avengers franchise offers two jumping on points; will I stick around for the ride or get off at the next stop?

I’ve never been much of an Avengers fan (unless Jeff Parker was writing them), but I’m open to giving them a shot. Let’s see if the latest jumping on points for Marvel’s current top franchise can win me over.

Dark Avengers #1- I’ll admit; I only bought this because I had some spare money in my comics budget for the week and wanted to do this tandem review. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it; I mean, the name alone makes me roll my eyes. I’m lucky I haven’t read much about it, or I might have a seizure.

That said, I thought this was a solid first issue. It was purely “a gathering of the team” story, but Bendis did it in a pretty engaging way, I thought. People who say nothing happens in Bendis comics can certainly jerk their knees with that reaction and not to be too far wrong (given that the story begins and ends with the same scene). There’s not much action to speak of, but I did find Osborn’s interaction with the rest of the cast interesting here. He doesn’t come off as a pure villain to me here (although Iron Patriot? Seriously?)

Also, Bendis deserves points for eschewing much of an attempt at Dr. Doom dialogue; he gives him one (pretty great) line. That’s noteworthy, if only because the internet can find another thing to be annoyed by in superhero comics/make memes out of.

Thematically, this is the original premise of Thunderbolts, but with characters who can’t possibly be redeemed, so I can agree with Hibbs that this lacks any kind of hook that would make it sustainable beyond Dark Reign. Of course, we are one issue in, so maybe expecting
hints at a new direction is a bit early.

Maybe this is a case of the book overcoming my low expectations. I mean, it didn’t give poisoning or stab me; it must be great! But it worked for me more than any of Bendis’s other Avengers work (although, to be fair, I’ve only read a small sample size of his run thus far). I’m not going to follow it monthly (especially at $4 a pop), but I’m more inclined to pick up the inevitable trade now.

Where DA was an impulse purchase, I intended to pick up Dan Slott’s first issue of Mighty Avengers when I went to the shop. From She-Hulk to his issues of Brand New Day Amazing Spider-Man, the man’s been the most consistently entertaining writer in Marvel’s stable for years. He writes comics that capture the spirit of the best of the company’s history without being tediously old school (well, for my taste, at least). If anyone could get me in to an Avengers comic that doesn’t involve the team being Modoked, it’s him.

One issue in, I’m not head over heels in love with it, but there was a lot to like about this issue. If nothing else, Slott writes a good Herc and Cho, so that goes a long way in my book. There’s a lot going on here plot wise, with the team being gathered as the big, possibly biblical, threat establishes itself (by appearing to kill the New Avengers at one point), and that’s always a plus. I also like the way he handles Wanda’s return. There’s even something close to a “fuck yeah!” moment in there.

If there’s one stumbling block for me here, it’s the same as Sims; I’m not really emotionally invested in any of the characters except for Herc and Cho, and they already have their own comic. Pym as the lead is especially troublesome. Not because he’s been so tied to being “the superhero who beats his wife” since Mark Millar brought that back to the forefront in Ultimates, but more because I’ve always found him terribly boring, and giving him an inferiority complex to Iron Man doesn’t change that. He’s fine in what I’ve read of Slott’s Avengers: Intiative, but that’s an ensemble book. He’s a main character here, so that could be a stumbling block , even if I am interested in seeing someone “rehabiltate” him, just for the challenge there. Especially after his most recent screw up involved being seduced by a Gwen Stacy Skrull. Seriously, what was that about?

That said, I enjoyed this more than he did. I could see following Slott’s run here, although it will likely be in trades. I need to start reading less monthly superhero comics, not more, and even if I didn’t, it would be a borderline book as a monthly.

So, I found both of these books to be solid first issues. I’ll probably check out both in future collected editions. That is actually the highest praise I’ve ever given any (non-Jeff Parker written) Avengers comics, so keep that in mind.

8 Comments

That´s the same impression i had when i read DA; i liked it, but it makes Thunderbolts redundant.

The logic of DARK AVENGERS is totally off … you’d think since Tony Stark is America’s public enemy #1 that Norman WOULDN’T want to dress up exactly like him. Ditto the rest of the cast parading around as wanted superhumans like Spider-Man (an accused serial killer in his own book) and Wolverine (who’s always been a serial killer).

Mighty Avengers sucked very badly. I can’t believe people cold enjoy such a mess were it sort of happens a ultimatum in just one episode, obviously without any consequence in the future, and where everything seems so illogically directed from out of the book reasons. Of course it’s magic, so people do not have to explain it. A truly terrible start to me, although I’ll stay around a bit more to see what Slott does with Wanda.

I liked that the Wasp has a sonic screwdriver and a Tardis now…no wait…calling out the rip off in the comic itself doesn’t make it cool…as for “the superhero who beats his wife,” yeah I pretty much can’t get past that.

” The logic of DARK AVENGERS is totally off … you’d think since Tony Stark is America’s public enemy #1 that Norman WOULDN’T want to dress up exactly like him. Ditto the rest of the cast parading around as wanted superhumans like Spider-Man (an accused serial killer in his own book) and Wolverine (who’s always been a serial killer). ”

Hence why he’s not Iron Man, but Iron Patriot; since he traded Tony’s characteristic red and gold for the red-white-and-blue, Norman’s differentiated himself in the eyes of the consistently moronic MU public.

Similarly, if you can buy that MU America is collectively so ignorant that they love the mutants on the Avengers but hate the mutants on the X-Men, then Norman’s versions of Spidey and Wolverine shouldn’t be a problem, even if they are a cannibal and an assassin, respectively.

Dark Avengers #1! You Bet ! Troubles Brewing, this book will only be around till the end of DR but it is definitely gonna piss off some genuine card carrying Avengers and I don’t mean registered. The Dark Avengers will draw out Iron Man, the New Avengers probably Thor, I can’t wait till a year or so when Dark Reign nears it’s end and the true Avengers unite against a common foe “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE” the New & Mighty Avengers will show up, Hulk will be pounding that damn symbionite, Herc vs Ares, Thor vs. Sentry, Spidey vs Normie, Wolverine vs. Dakken, Luke will Bitch slap that Kree kid, Ms. Marvel & Spider-Woman tag teaming Moonstone Sweet! it’ll be civil war all over. I didn’t even mention the Deodato Art ! Mighty Avengers #21 not so much. later!

I wish more people picked up on the fact that Slott attempted to recreate the “classic” Avengers lineup in this issue. You’ve got the classic members:

- Iron Man
- Hulk (whom, if they keep on the team, will cause me to keep reading)
- Scarlet Witch
- Vision (sorta)
- Jarvis
- Quicksilver (…will be appearing in later issues, I believe)

For whatever reason, Slott didn’t or couldn’t use some of the other classics. However, he does have archetype replacements for the originals:

- Stature (a Giant-Man analog)
- U.S. Agent (Captain America)
- Hercules (Thor)
- Amadeus Cho (Rick Jones)

I suspect that some writers already had dibs on the originals: Loeb has an unfinished plotline with Rick Jones in HULK, Bendis wants Bucky-Cap in NA, and I guess Srazycnski doesn’t want Thor on a team right now.

Not quite sure where Pym and Jocasta mix into this. Arguably, Pym is Pym, and Jocasta is the Wasp, since she’s got Janet’s brain patterns. On the other hand, Pym is calling himself “The Wasp” now, so maybe Pym is an analog for his dead wife, and Jocasta is redundant?

Oh, and they’re fighting an evil God (Cython), which is who the original Avengers fought on their first mission (Loki). How cool is that?

Gwen Stacy Skrull?? I missed that apparently. What and where was that? Mighty was enjoyable enough. Dark Avengers was basically transferring most of the thunderbolts over . One might think Norman would want an Avenger team that would be good for PR, not a team ready to explode into killing civilians at any minute but then I guess I am not the hero who killed the Skrull queen at the exact moment everyone else was about to.

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