Robot 6

Your Mileage May Vary: Dark Avengers #10

This week we’ll be looking at reviews for Brian Michael Bendis’s Dark Avengers #10.

Kirk Warren at the Weekly Crisis Comic Review recommends the issue:

darkavengers10

The most significant reason was that this was probably the first instance of all the characters having unique voices. Bendis typically excels in dialogue, but usually only on the street level or with a small cast of characters he has a firm grasp of. However, outside of his work on Powers, this is easily the best team/ensemble cast work I’ve read from Bendis.

Norman continued to be the character Bendis knows best on the Dark Avengers roster, but Venom, Bullseye, Moonstone and Ms Hand were all handled well in this issue. Don’t go in expecting character defining moments from every one I’ve mentioned though. I’m mostly speaking in general terms of character voices and how they are breaking out of the typical ‘Bendis-speak’ that plagues much of Bendis’s team books. In fact, while I actually think he’s taken Moonstone’s character a bit too far beyond Warren Ellis’s Thunderbolts iteration, which itself was a bit exaggerated of the Busiek/Fabian Moonstone, I’m just happy to see her and the others being written in a unique voice for once.

Matthew Peterson of Major Spoilers gave the issue 2 out of 5 stars.

This issue has it’s nice touches. I like how the implication is that Moonstone/Ms. Marvel/Dr. Sofen seduces Bullseye not because she likes him (he’s actually a reprehensible excuse for a human being) but because he’s wearing a Hawkeye costume, a callback to old-school Thunderbolts. I like the opening sequence, which feels like a drive-in horror movie, leaving me yelling at the stupid girls to get back in the car. I liked the use of Venom here, showing the obvious consequences of Norman’s shotgun approach to medication. But there are a lot of things that I can’t quite figure out. Wasn’t the Sentry left for dead at the end of last issue, his brains blown out? How long has it been since Captain Marvel/Marvel Boy/Noh-Varr disappeared, anyway? Why is the Man-Thing in Louisiana, and not his usual Nexus of Realities in Florida? And what about Naomi? My biggest complaint about this issue is the way it seems to exist as an island unto itself, not really tying in to anything else in the Marvel Universe, even it’s own previous issues. Having the Sentry get dispatched in almost exactly the same way as a previous arc underlines the problems with the character for me, in that he’s just too ridiculously powerful to use in a monthly title like this. How long has it been since he’s done something other than be jerked around by whatever armor-wearing schmuck needs a secret weapon? It seems like forever since World War Hulk, the last time I remember him actually being central to much of anything. The ending is big and suitably ominous, but the whole issue feels disjointed to me, and no amount of shiny Mike Deodato art can cover the fact that pretty much nothing happens this month. We get a scary thing, we get some blah blah blah, and then we head out to engage the scary thing… Cliffhanger! Even the COVER adds to the dissonance, showing a pretty much generic group shot, including characters who haven’t appeared in the book for months. Dark Avengers #10 is a disappointing ride for me, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall. Man cannot live on shocking reveals alone, and a successful issue needs more substance, at least in my mind.

Finally Rokk Krinn of Rokk’s Comic Book Revolution found the issue skippable

I read team books for good storytelling, subplots, and team adventures. Bendis did not choose to include this in Dark Avengers. We continue to see page after page of the Avengers sitting around and talking about nothing.

The only action in this issue was a one page shot of Ares chopping Man-Thing in two. Hopefully, when we get to Siege Bendis will remember that these teams do go into battle and actually get to fight sometimes.

Bendis has the members of the Dark Avengers sit around and rehash the same old arguements that we have seen from them in the past. There is absolutely nothing new at all in this issue.

So what do you think?

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Comments

11 Comments

It’s Bendis, what are people expecting?

All his characters do is sit around and talk. Then people pay 3.99$ for that crap, it becomes one of the top selling books of the month, rinse and repeat.

Its not even the good kind of “sit around and talk”. I could probably accept Morrison/Ellis/Brubaker characters talk for 22 pages, because they do great dialog and all the characters don’t sound the damn same.

I thought it was a great issue. Here’s my review:

Dark Avengers is a consistently entertaining read.

This issue I would says is a “break” of sorts from the usual scheming that is Norman Osborn‘s Dark Reign – writer Brian Michael Bendis even incorporates that into the story very nicely.

I thought the opening was terrific, full of mystery, drama and anticipation. From there, Bendis takes us to the Dark Avengers where the god of War literally cuts another target off of Norman’s list. While surely, the thing is not dead, what is interesting is what the creature protects, why Norman chose it and if there will be further consequences down the road.

Excellent dialogue between all the Dark Avengers ensues as they are told their next mission, and one they could care less about – including Norman. This relates to the “mysterious” events in beginning of the book and if you happen not to be a Sentry fan, you make want to check out what happens!

Next, the Dark Avengers led by Osborne along with what looks like everything H.A.M.M.E.R has, take off into action! Once again, things do not go according to Norman’s plans leaving him in a panic! – - And also leaving the Director face to face with [the smallest unit of matter that retains the characteristics of a compound], in addition to an assemblage of super villains!

Dark Avengers #10 is one of those comic books where you go back and read it a second and third time and just continue to enjoy it. This book has it all. Right from the start you hear that “click-clack,” from there you are slowly taken uphill and finally toward the end you get that glimpse of what is to come.

It’s an uphill fun ride!

Dark Avengers #10…the calm before the storm. This group is settling in nicely together, cutting up (sorry Man-Thing) jokes and laughing their way to an easy life with Osborn. They’re even getting a tad bit lazy all at the same time sending in the Sentry to do some investigation work for them when suddenly he’s taken off the radar by some unknown being (Bruce Banner maybe?) and are forced to take action.

Sure, there was a lack of action and BMB can lull you to sleep sometimes with his characterizations. Believe me when I tell you though, this is the end of the “lull” in this series. From here on out, we’ll be knee deep in Osborn’s Dark Reign of Terror and before they knew what hit them, the Siege on Asgard begins (if the solicitations can be believed).

Hopefully we’ll see some of the group reform when all the events have died down and watch them all go insane without Uncle Norman’s guidance! (Then we can be rewarded with a big payoff before the series goes into limbo or gets cancelled. How many Thunderbolts-type series does Marvel need to publish when it’s all over?)

The Dude
October 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm

It’s Bendis, what are people expecting?

All his characters do is sit around and talk. Then people pay 3.99$ for that crap, it becomes one of the top selling books of the month, rinse and repeat.

——

People pay $3.99 for “that crap” because they like reading it. Some whiners on a forum are not the majority.

Please don’t pull the “it’s Bendis, what are people expecting” crap. Most of his stuff is great.

I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I really enjoy Bendis’s team books. Most of the time. People seem to have really liked the lead up to Secret Invasion in New Avengers, but I wasn’t a fan of that, but I liked the rest.

@Jeff:

of course “whiners” like me aren’t the majority. The first thing I said was that Dark Avengers(and the rest of Bendis comics) is one of the top selling books every month.So what’s your point?

The “it’s Bendis,what are people expecting” comment that I made, however, makes perfect sense.
If you buy a Bendis book you know exactly wat you’re going to get: lots and lots of dialogue and decompressed storytelling.

If you like it, fine. It’s your money, you do whatever you want with it. I simply choose not to buy it.

Matthew Stockfarleysolomonburger

October 25, 2009 at 9:44 am

The DAs are useless and pretty much a third tier as evidenced by their loss to the crappy group of X-Men. Okay, maybe they we’re outnumbered and had 2 former member betray him but still, with all that HAMMER muscle and troops that Osborn has he still couldn’t reel them in.

How can you have all those resources and still suck so bad? Oh wait, Brian Bendis..just look at the New Avengers.

dropped dark avengers a while back. don’t like deodato’s art (even though i tolerated it for ellis’ amazing thunderbolts run), and i collect more than enough bendis books.

I propose an experiment to Marvel:

Let ANY writer direct the general forward continuity of the main marvel universe in his or her books, and then compare its numbers to Bendis’ books. I’d bet anything in the world that the numbers would match.

I mean, to use an even more obvious example, look at JLA under McDuffie’s run. It was universally agreed amongs anyone who could articulate themselves in a critical way, that McDuffie’s JLA was garbage. And yet it still sold way, because of its position as THE JLA book.

Numbers don’t equal quality, just look at Hulk and Ultimates 3. I don’t think anyone should worry either way, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it, and if you do like it, don’t let others get to you, I mean is your opinion that vulnerable?

I’m digging Dark Avengers, even if it feels a bit to me like Bendis just got a wicked boner for Ellis’ run on Thunderbolts and is doing his own version of that. I actually think he’s doing a slightly better job than Ellis did at giving the characters more varied voices. let’s be honest: Bendis-speak and Ellis-speak can get pretty indistinguishable at times. I think Bendis definitely falls prey to it in terms of dialogue more so than Ellis, but Ellis has a tendency to color his characters with the same strokes (his leads, especially when excited, all tend to sound like Spider Jerusalem). I mean, Bendis’ Normal Obsborn seems complex and even somewhat likeable, all while being seriously mentally-ill, whereas Ellis’ was just a ghoul that couldn’t stop giggling when he read the name “spider-man”

The thing I like about Dark Avengers vs Thunderbolts is that there is a bit more moral complexity; that arc on Thunderbolts always made me queasy because it just seemed like bad people doing progressively more terrible things (which, to Ellis’s credit, was probably the point).

The Sentry stuff I think is pretty cool, if indeed Bendis is playing by how I think he is. Bendis’ strength tends to be the long-form storytelling, teasing certain things that’ll be later become a plot point, subverting the whole “done in one” method. The Sentry has been “killed” in going on 3, 4 issues now, only to just show up later 100% fine, freaking everyone out? This Kenny McCormick act has to be intentional and even if he’s not having a character go “hey, didn’t he JUST DIE?” it doesn’t feel to me like he’s just dropped it. There’s a ton of threads he’s trying to weave together, and i’m curious which turn into things and which don’t.

The only thing which I don’t care for and am unsure of it having a long-term purpose is making Moonstone so sexually aggressive (some might say compulsive). Ellis made a point of bringing this up in his arc (saying how Moonstone didn’t want to get a bruise before “meeting up with a co-worker for sex”), but this was at least tempered by having moments of her as team-leader and generally being well-rounder. Now Bendis basically has Moony fucking her way through the Dark Avengers ranks. I wouldn’t have an issue with this (female sexuality and power isn’t the issue here) except that it’s pretty much the ONLY thing she’s done in 10 issues (than again, you could argue the same thing about Venom and eating people). I’m not usually one to cry misogyny, but it feels like a simplification of her character and a bit of horny fanboy reductionism on BB’s part. Then again, maybe it’s the set-up for something I’m not expecting and it’ll all make sense. I’m skeptical, but i’ll play along for now.

Overall, I dig the book in the way I dig most of Bendis’ non-Ultimate Spiderman books (which I think has been one of the strongest superhero books for YEARS): an interesting change of pace from the usual smash-em-up of other capes and cowls books, trying to do something a bit different if not always succeeding in quality.

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