StuckInPanels Comic Reviews- Dark Avengers #175

StuckInPanels Comic Reviews- Dark Avengers #175

The Thunderbolts are no more, the new team has arrived, is this series worth reading?

StuckInPanels Comic Reviews

Hey there friends, this week I want to look at a comic that I said I was going to ignore, however since my comic pull list still had it on there I decided to give it at least some form of a read. That comic is the drastic change of the THUNDERBOLTS to the DARK AVENGERS. This to me was change that upset me in ways that a fan could be, they were changing the team roster, changing the title into something more generic, and smelled like a bad idea altogether. Don’t get me wrong, during the events of Dark Reign, the idea of having the main roster of the Avengers be some of the most evil villains in the Marvel Universe was a great idea, Norman Osborn and his crew were great, then the event of Siege and Heroic Age came in, the Dark Avengers were no more and the Thunderbolts came back in a great way, they brought in Luke Cage and one of the best team’s around. Their adventures were great, they had a great dynamic amongst one another, even when they made the Underbolts into the B-squad then having members of them join the main roster was great. The Time Travel arc was one of the best; even how it ends was fun but leaves us on a huge cliffhanger with where the team has gone. Yet the main reason why this series was changed and retitled was when sales revealed the THUNDERBOLTS was not selling as well as it did, so Marvel’s “brilliant” plan was to retitle it, put in “Avenger” like characters and brand it with the DARK AVENGERS title to boost sales.

My hopes to see where the team has gone, the future, another universe, or trapped in a time paradox forever concept was taken away, instead we now have the team of characters from the events of the Osborn mini-series and the New Avengers, a team that I know little of except for Ragnarok, the Thor clone. This team is comprised of Barney Barton aka Trick shot (Clint’s brother and team archer), Toxie Doxie aka the Dark Scarlet Witch (google her for her powers), Ai Apec, a spider god aka Dark Spider-man, Ragnarok the Thor Clone, and Skaar, son of hulk with Luke Cage being team leader (more on that). So can a group of villains I know nothing about be worthy enough to make up for my favorite team of characters. Let’s find out….

DARK AVENGERS #175: Written by Jeff Parker/Artwork by Delcan Shalvey

Story: Luke Cage and Hank Pym head to the Everglades to find the nexus of reality, where Man-thing used to reside, in order to find out where exactly the former team has gone to. The see some of Ghost’s footage and discover the various events taking place. Luke is called back to the Raft to continue rebuilding it, which is soon put on hold as the Dark Avengers attack them, this time for REVENGE. Luke Cage, Songbird, and Mach V do battle with the DA, keeping up with them until Ragnarok comes in and brings down the thunder and lightning. Just before Luke and his team are defeated, the Dark Avengers stop in their tracks, thanks to Nano machines in each one. Luke is met up by a group of government agents from an organization known as F.A.C.T. Luke and Hank bring in one final member to join the team, the one who double crossed the Dark Avengers before, Skaar.

-Story: Well sometimes a first impression can go a long way; this was not too bad of a start for a new “era”. I will give it this much credit, it does have some great action beats I have seen in a team book, the action sequences are fast paced and well designed, each member of the DA show off their powers and abilities against Luke, Songbird, and Mach V. The story obviously sets up the new team, who they are, and what powers they bring to the table. In terms of an “AVENGER” team they bring in the “second tier” versions of characters; they have a Hulk, a Thor, a Hawkeye, a Scarlet Witch, and a Spider-man, with Luke filling in the role of team leader aka Captain America. I found the shadowy organization F.A.C.T. to be a bit forced; they seem to be a newly formed group since aren’t on any wiki page. They could have made them S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and made it a bit easier for any new readers. I was offended when they said the Thunderbolts team cannot be recovered at all, unless they are saving them for a return after the events of AvX.Overall the story was sufficient in the basic: gather and round up the team story, it could have done more to introduce the DA in a better way than this but for what it is, it’s not too bad.

-Writing: The one bonus is that Marvel kept the creative team on this title, rather than replacing them with new ones. Jeff Parker has been on this title since the beginning of the Heroic Age, he gave the Thunderbolts a lot of weight and brevity to a new cast of characters that all had redeeming factors. He does a good job with these characters, I do like Ragnarok, and he captures the psychotic cyborg great. The other DA’s were alright, I think having another Barton around seems forced; I would rather have a return of Bull’s-eye if he wasn’t already dead. He keeps Luke Cage being Luke Cage, he is pure awesome and a fun character to have around keeping the team in relative check.

-Art: Delcan Shalvey also stays with the artwork duty, his character designs of the characters are actually a tad better than the Deodato art that sprung these characters to life in the New Avengers title. His action style and sequences as I mentioned earlier were top notch and well done, every character gets a moment to shine with their fighting styles. I like the cartoon like aesthetic, it reminders me a bit of Darwyn Cooke, his style is very campy and retro, which is always a good thing in my opinion.

Highlight of the Issue: Ragnarok enters the battle

Summary: This comic has the potential to be good, if not better. The story works for a “first issue” and introduces a team that can be worth investing in; hopefully they are fleshed out in the upcoming issues. For now I’m going to be a bit weary.

Grade: B-

Well that’s all for this week friends, this was a pretty solid week for comics, a lot of must reads, been busy once again so doing one comic a week may be the format for a while. Catch you later next week for the big Spider-man mini-series, Spider-men.
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