Pick of the Week

January 21, 2009 – Dark Avengers #1

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.3
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 23.7%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 3.99

I’m as shocked as anybody.

Quite unexpectedly, this week Marvel brought us two “we’re gathering the team” books, and quite unexpectedly they were both almost totally different and yet they both complimented and enhanced each other. And they were both totally fun.

I am speaking of course of The Mighty Avengers #21 and this week’s Pick of the Week, Dark Avengers #1.

For all the hits that Secret Invasion took from me and from others, that event did leave us in a new and interesting place and if these two issues are any indication, “Dark Reign” is going to be a fertile ground for storytelling in the Marvel Universe in 2009.

But the Pick of the Week is about one comic book not two (at least it is these days) and in the end Dark Avengers edged out The Mighty Avengers.

Now that Norman Osborn is basically in charge of everything in the Marvel Universe – just as Tony Stark was before him – he is wasting no time in remaking the world as he sees fit. And his first order of business is to remake the Thunderbolts into The Avengers. It’s a clever move that allows for lots of interesting conflicts in the future. What happens when Logan sees his son running around in his old brown costume calling himself Wolverine? How’s Clint Barton going to feel about Bullseye wearing the Hawkeye outfit? (Probably a lot like how I imagine Josh is feeling right now.) Venom calling himself Spider-Man? That’s not going to go over well. Plus there’s the added bonus of former Avengers Ares and The Sentry teaming up with the bad guys. The interpersonal dynamics both within the team itself and among the team and the rest of the Marvel heroes is going to be fascinating to watch.

The main thrust of Dark Avengers #1 is Norman Osborn bringing together the Thunderbolts and giving them their new Avengers identities, as well as recruiting old Avengers into the fold, with various degrees of success. And it’s a blast! The contentious relationship between everyone is a lot of fun. There is so much simmering below the surface here and you just know that this team isn’t going to hold together. It can’t. It’s only a matter of time before something blows.

Nothing good can come from this. For the characters anyway, lots of good can come from this for us the audience.

Reading this issue I saw a lot of lost opportunity. Not in Dark Avengers, but in Secret Invasion. This is the Bendis that I wanted writing Secret Invasion. The characterization, the intrigue, the action, the effortless feel for the Marvel Universe – it’s all here. And that’s all what was missing in Secret Invasion. This is the Bendis that wrote The New Avengers prior to Secret Invasion and now he’s back and it’s fantastic.

We’re not supposed to like this team; we’re not supposed to like what Osborn is doing. Hating it and him is the entire point. We’re supposed to be outraged that these villains are co-opting the team and the identities of The Avengers. I think that’s what I liked most about this issue. Eventually, these guys are going to get their comeuppance and it’s going to be fun watching them earn it and even more fun when they get it. People love the bad guy for a reason. It’s fun to hate the charismatic rogue and in this case we’ve got almost a whole team of them.

Mike Deodato frustrates me. One the one hand he is a fantastically skilled artist who does great work. On the other hand he persists in casting actors in his work and that becomes really distracting. It is notable here because for years his model for Norman Osborn has been Tommy Lee Jones and while I have basically learned to deal with it, it still bugs the hell out of me. Also, Deodato is one of those sneaky cheesecake artists. He’s subtle about it, which is almost worse than the guys who blatantly shove the T&A in your face. You’re going along all fine with the art until you notice the back of Ms. Marvel’s costume is suddenly missing a lot of material and that’s just disappointing,

Yes, this book seems to just be Thunderbolts renamed Dark Avengers. But with the team dynamic that Bendis has set up here and the possibilities that lay ahead, I am totally fine with that.

Conor Kilpatrick
All those Iron Man suits!


  1. Excellent choice. I agree, this is almost a Secret Invasion redemption story.

  2. im 50/50 with the choice. i loved this but i like mighty as well and i mean green lantern was freaking awesome!! red lantern hal jordan?? come on man lol. but im still down with this POTW.

    good job conor

  3. nice review conor. 


    you’ve made ron very happy… or not 

  4. Shit, I guess I’m jumping on Dark Avengers now.

  5. Holy crap! I was expecting some some silly clone/robot crap with these Dark Avengers but to actually get people inside there was a masterstroke of storytelling.

    Bravo Bendis!

    Oh, and Josh, my condolences. This must be tough for you.

  6. I normally find myself a bit detached when it comes to this sort of thing, but the idea of a character as awful as Daken calling himsef Wolvie turned my stomach, ditto with Bullseye/Hawkeye. Not right.

     Was on the fence about staying on Mighty, glad to hear it’ll be worth hanging on to for a while. 

  7. It’s tough for anyone who loves Clint, but I think it’s a good thing too. I now see a way for Clint to not only kick some major ass, but gain his identity back at the same time.  That and NA: Reunion should be a healthy dose of good ol’ Hawkeye (even if he’s in the ninja suit) for all of us.

     Great pick Conor.  I know this issue was a bit controversial, at least it seemed that way on this site, but I gotta say I had a good time reading it.  The prospect of Noh-Varr and Bullseye hanging out gets me giddy.  They’re gonna be gleefully evil together.  I know Noh-Varr isn’t technically a full on villlain, but he’s a warrior who does a lot of slaying and I can’t wait to see him and Bullseye kinda… compete with eachother a la Legolas and Gimli in LOTR.

  8. Yes! Great review! Great Bendis!

  9. I grabbed this at the last second before I hit the register.

    I usually buy Bendis in hardcover.

    This was excellent. It is rare I give a five to a single issue, but this got a five. Could be pick of the week but I’ve only read two comics out of six.

  10. ……….


    Punisher MAX was my POTW, that’s all I’m gonna say for this.

  11. Solid pick, 4 stars — but I can’t escape the feeling that this is Bendis doing Busiek’s "T’Bolts" # 1 again.

  12. @WilliamKScurryJr

    Definitely understand that thought.  I was having flashbacks to that too. Didn’t ruin my enjoyment of this issue too much.

  13. I’m shocked, I think this Conor is a cylon.

  14. No, he’s a Skrull.

    And he loves you.

  15. I enjoyed the book, but it is going to take a LONG while to get used to :Iron Patriot".  I cringed during those last few panels.

  16. I was really hoping that Luke Cage was gonna be Iron Patriot. That would lead to some great scenes.  This is a close second to how cool that woulda been.

  17. I dunno..I just can’t get into this book…I gave it a shot tho

  18. I loved this book, but Amazing Spider-Man just edged this one out for my pick of the week.  What can I say, I love Spider-Man.  But this one was definitely a great read.  Good pick.

  19. dr doom is iron patriot… listen to me people

  20. Peter Parker cannot catch a break.

     C’mon, you all thought it too, with that last roll call.  

  21. i was 50-50 on this and robin. i chose robin instead cause this was 3.99 lol

  22. I really wanted to check this book out, but I’m just not ready to give in on the $3.99 cover price. It felt like capitulating to buy the issue. I’m glad to hear its good though. I’ll suppose I’ll wait for the trade.

  23. Someone’s getting an arrow to the face.

  24. I paid 3.99 and don’t regret it. Better than a movie rental. Like this book a lot.

  25. Inner monologue a few minutes ago…

     "Oh, the POTW’s been posted. Cool stuff. What’s this? Right, Conor’s pick was Dark Avengers. Well that’s interesting.


  26. Outstanding first issue, raising all kinds of interesting questions with a lot of imaginitive setup. Hopefully it will now pay off with what the hype actually promises, and/or become Paul Jenkins’ "The Pulse."

  27. The combination of $3.99 and the lack of "event" endings made me pass.  I look forward to hearing the tales of Dark Avengers around the iFanboy campfire via the podcast.  🙂


     the Tiki 

  28. I’m really excited to read this when it comes in the mail!

  29. "This is the Bendis that I wanted writing Secret Invasion.  The characterization, the intrigue, the action, the effortless feel for the Marvel Universe – it’s all here.  And that’s all what was missing in Secret Invasion.  This is the Bendis that wrote New Avengers prior to Secret Invasion and now he’s back and it’s fantastic."   this seems to be a common complaint that comes up with Bendis. I thought this issue was good but nothing really blew me away. the story unfolded exactly how i expected it too, but i guess a lot of that was the result of internet speculation that was bang on. the character moments we cool, but to me, it just felt like another issue of Thunderbolts

  30. I was really determined not to read any of the post-Dark Reign avengers books until they came out in trade, but the buzz has been too much and the books have just been too good to pass up.  I loved this, I loved Mighty; it feels like there’s a new energy in the Marvel U and I hope it keeps going.

    I haven’t read all my books yet, but the ones I have were strong across the board.  I want to mention Kieron Gillen’s ‘Dazzler’ story in the reissued "X-Men: Manifest Destiny" 5.  (It supposedly came out a few weeks ago but was misprinted).  "Phonogram" fans should give this a go even if you don’t care about the rest of the issue (which is admittedly average at best).

    Something else that was fun and maybe below the radar is "Mysterius the Unfathomable," Jeff Parker’s new book from Wildstorm.  It’s about a magician (who seems to be legitimate and a charlatan at once) and his sidekick, and it doesn’t feel quite like anything else I’m reading.  Anybody who likes Parker’s Marvel work may want to check this out as well.

  31. I really dug Dark Avengers.  I agree with almost everything Conor says about it in his review.  But, that said, I would have to put Mighty Avengers is my POW.  It made me have a greater sense of curiosity about how this new team will work out.  Love the line-up.  And what the heck is up with Wanda Maximov’s reappearance?  I have questions.  I need answers.  Can’t wait for next month.

  32. Another strong start for Bendis. Will he sustain focus and deliver on the promise of this premise, or will his gnat-like attention span leave the story undeveloped (e.g. Mighty Avengers and SI)? I’ll hope for the former and stick around, cuz he throws in enough fun-nuggets to keep me buying his books!

  33. *holds breath, thinks*

    Cant troll here……will be only one to judge……

  34. @QuayLewd: You are so right its ridiculous.  Dark Reign is SI all over again. 

  35. (Found a loophole)

    Okay so I didnt read this, but I do know me and Conor read the same Green Lantern issue. There is no way this could’ve been better then GL I can say that much. Blue, Red, Yellow, and Green Lanterns FTW and are better then Thunderbolts v.2.

  36. GL was my pick.  I think I would have liked this much more had I read it before mighty avengers.  They should have numbered them or something, I knew who the Iron Patriot was before I read the issue.

  37. Great book, nice review.

    @rayclark – be grateful if you don’t spoil other comics here!

  38. @TNC I actually think it’d be Thunderbolts v.3 (as long as you don’t count the Fight Club issues)

  39. I felt like I was reading the Thunderbolts back after Onslaught had happened.  This was a pretty good issue.

  40. I really liked this issue a lot and thought it would be my pick…. but then i read spiderman…. the stuff with shocker and boomerang was awesome… loved everything about this iss. and am excited for the rest of the run.

    was excited to see friend of the show Jonathon Hickman’s work in the backmatter of DA

  41. Now, what would we have thought about SI if this was SI 9. Would it make a difference how we looked at SI?

  42. good pick conor, i was surprised at how much i liked dark avengers, but i thought Thunderbolts was a better book this week. even though it fell into the barack obama cameo gimmick, still a great issue. BTW, did anyone try the viral website and "password" in the preview of Secret Warriors at the end of Dark Avengers? i tried it and it didnt work.

  43. the only hing that bothers me about Deodato is the way he lays out a page, but thats just personal preference (i dont like Simone Bianchi, Alan Davis, basically anyone who doesnt lay their stuff out like Michael Lark, basically, but i read for writers not artiist anyway).  this was a good issue, and Bendis, who now marks his 3rd first avengers issue, has found yet another way to build a team.  with New we got a six issue build of the team, with Mighty, the team as already formed and we got it in flashbacks, and here its prety much step by step. also, ive come to accept that Noh Var has been written into the Regual Marvel U (despite his series being set on another parallel earth).

  44. My only problem with the book is that supposedly Tony left a bunch of Iron Man suits laying around in Avengers Tower. Are you fucking kidding me? Those things should have been scuttled the minute he knew he was kicked out of the building, whether he thought the building was impenetrable or not.

  45. @ Diabhol yeah that really bothered me too. The only thing that i  could think of was maybe he has some super secrect hacker backdoor to recover them in the future or something. *corsses fingers* One can hope. I also almost fell over when I saw Dr Doom in the suit I laughed what else can you do?

  46. I really don’t like Deodato. His art consistently removes me from the story, for that alone this couldn’t be my POW. Tommy Lee Osborn just looks weird in that suit.

  47. @Diabhol  That’s a really good point about the suits; Tony’s consistently been portrayed as obsessively working to keep his tech out of the wrong hands, and it’s a plot point in the current Iron Man arc that Tony is going to extremes to keep Osborn from getting his hands on valuable intel.  That said, the panel of the Iron Man suits was cool and it’s a decent shortcut to a place where we were going to go anyway.


  48. "this book seems to just be Thunderbolts renamed Dark Avengers" Being a fan of the T-Bolts I definitely felt that. But, also reading the Thunderbolts this week I really loved that book as well and thought that it was the other "team-building" issue from Marvel. The T-Bolts are the Dark Avengers now, but a new team of Thunderbolts is taking things into secret black ops territory for Osborn.

    I am not a big fan of Deodato, too. I thought he made a huge mistake drawing Wolverine the way he did in the first group shot of the new team until they explain it later as being Logan’s son, who obviously has a leaner, taller build. But, I agree about the photo-reffing here. It’s too distracting whenever the "camera" is on Norman.

    But, all in all this was a great issue and, for me, is tied with Thunderbolts for the best issue of the week. 

  49. I liked the tall, lean Wolverine *a lot* that was a neat touch.  It occurs to me that Dark Avengers is offering a kind of interesting, twisted take on the idea of ‘legacy,’ which Marvel has always had a less enthusiastic relationsip with than DC.

    I also agree that Dark Avengers is basically a renamed ‘Thunderbolts,’ but as I’ve loved the last couple years of T-Bolts, I’m not complaining.  I’m actually on the fence with whether to stick with the actual ‘Thunderbolts’ book; I really enjoy Andy Diggle’s writing but this seems like it’s going to be so different than what the series has been that I feel like I can safely drop it and, if I still want to read Diggle, go find some more of his older work like ‘The Losers.’  I’ll give it another issue to decide, though.  I have to say I wasn’t crazy about the meeting with the President, not because it was poorly done or gimmicky (I know Diggle planned it before the election was decided so it’s not in the same cash-in-on-Obamamania as the Spidey story).  It just hurts my suspension of disbelief too much to have a real world president so involved in the nuts and bolts of the Marvel universe.  I know that the Marvel President has always been the ‘real’ president, but that hasn’t usually been so integral to the story. 

  50. I’m glad i dont read thunderbolts, because i liked this book.  I have nothing to compare it to.  It wasnt spoiled either.

  51. So does everyone know it’s Osborn under the armor?

    Cause how does that hurt the legacy of Iron Man or make people hate Stark more if they know who is under the armor?

  52. @TNC  Did somebody say it does?  I’m confused.

  53. @ohcaroline: I thought that was the whole point of this series. For the Thunderbolts to dress up as the heroes and make them look bad…..at least that’s what I read….maybe my brain is against me again today.

  54. @TNC  I certainly didn’t get that out of the issue.  It’s Osborn putting his own team together with the goal of convincing the public (and the ‘real’ heroes) that they’re not needed.

    I take it you followed through on your no-Bendis pledge and didn’t actually read the issue.

  55. @ohcaroline: You know me well padawan 🙂

  56. Great review Conor, pretty much sums up everything Im thinking as well. I think we need to begin the Osborn Meltdown Countdown. Maybe do it with a Armageddon Clock like in Watchmen.

  57. Hm thought Mighty was way better but enjoyed this

  58. Thought this was fine, a solid 4 out of 5.  Hated Mighty Avengers, can’t see me picking that up again.

  59. i think this is gonna be way better than secret invasion…GREAT PICK

  60. wow–I’m surprised! I haven’t picked it up yet, but as I was plowing through my unread stack, I saw the ad for it and considered not buying it…I am just tired of all of it, to be honest…Dark Reign…ugh, just no interest. I will check it out though, if only because I have no willpower.



  61. I agree, Secret Invasion was such a let down – and an expensive one at that!  I’m going to hold back on this one. 

    Good review though, and it has got me interested… but, I need to save some cash and cut back the number of books I pull, so… and like mikeromo I too am just tired of all of it.  Not sure its event fatigue as I don’t feel the same way about Final Crisis or Batman R.I.P.

  62. I felt "Mighty" edged this out, and iit’s mainly because of a point that u made that I am ‘supposed’ to hate this  new ‘Dark’ team. I do Hate them. A Lot. That being said I love the fact that the book/story was able to elicit that emotion from me, and I am looking forward to reading more.

  63. Does anyone else agree with my theory that the part in Dark Avengers where the soldier asks Doctor Doom to take a picture with him is mysteriously spoofy of the part in the Iron Man movie where the soldier asks Tony Stark to take a picture with him. Few seem to agree with me on this! Who agrees with me on this?! Sombody agree with me on this!

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