I hate Norman Osborne and his Dark Avengers.  I was glad to be done with them!  But… here he comes again, with an all new pack.  The actual heroic Avengers don’t appear in this book at all, allowing Norman and his villainous cohorts to bask in the spotlight as it is illustrated just how his new allies in A.I.M., Hydra and The Hand threw in with him and his recruitment of a new team of Dark Avengers.  The book jumps backwards and forward in time at a head-spinning degree.

Basically, it all leads up to his reveal of the new team, which includes: Skaar, son of the Hulk; Barney Barton, the brother of Hawkeye as the new evil Hawkeye; Doctor Monica Rappaccini, A.I.M.’s head scientist as the new Ms. Marvel; Ai Apaec, a half humanoid/half spider god as the new evil Spider-Man; Gorgon, the telepathic leader of The Hand as the new Dark Wolverine; Doctor June Covington, formerly Toxic Doxie as the new Scarlet Witch; and Ragnarok, better known as “Clor” the clone of Thor created by Reed Richards and Tony Stark that turned around and bit them in the ass in ‘Civil War.’

Was ‘The Dark Avengers’ such a novel concept that we needed to revisit it so soon after it fell apart the first time?  I guess Bendis thinks so.  I disagree.  I have no desire to read a book about a bunch of criminals and degenerates.  At least with ‘Thunderbolts’ and ‘Suicide Squad’ those books are about traditional villains, acting against their nature on the side of good.  Plus, as I said, the first set of Dark Avengers just went away.  We’re getting a new iteration so quickly?

I liked the thought of him consolidating the remains of all of Marvel’s big villain factions into one super collective to take out the good guys.  That is a good idea!  Hauling out a new Dark Avengers isn’t.  As I said in the opening of this review, I hate Norman Osborne, but I get that I’m supposed to!  He’s shaping up to be the biggest baddie in the Marvel U.  That part is interesting!

Mike Deodato’s art is the absolute most stunning it’s ever been!  There are a couple of close-ups on Norman’s face that have so many detail lines, they looked like they’d been lifted from U.S. currency bills!  And not in a fussy way, the way some other artists over-embellish.  This is an artist that I was absolutely not a fan of when he first started out, but he’s grown at an unbelievable pace to be one of the most detailed artists out there.  I seriously don’t think I’ve seen another artist whose work has evolved so dramatically over the course of their career.  I don’t even recognize his old work!

Art aside, I didn’t really care for this issue.  But, as a fan of the Avengers, it did fill in some pretty important info that will play into the upcoming storylines.  But, then again, I filled you in on all that, so you really can just skip reading it.

Verdict: Burn

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato
Cover by Deodato and Rain Beredo