The Marvel Universe is probably at its most interesting period since the 1960′s. Villains are heroes, heroes are on the run and all bets are off. For the first time in a long while readers have no idea what will happen in the pages of their favorite monthly comics. This had been planned back as far as Civil War by Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, if not earlier than that. The most exciting outcome of this master plan to date has to be the Dark Avengers title, the most interesting of the four Avengers comics on the shelf right now. Somehow the super team comic that was once avoided by many has become a franchise of its own, spawning several spin-offs and mini-series. Nearly each of the Avengers comics is worth checking out, but the best right now has to be Dark Avengers.
During the Civil War, former super villain Norman Osborn was vindicated of his crimes and placed in charge of the Thunderbolts, a team of former super villains hired to hunt down anyone who refused to register with the Super Hero Registration Act. During the Skrull Invasion, Norman Osborn seized the opportunity to take down the Skrull Queen and bring an end to the invasion, something that the combined might of the super hero community did not appear capable of doing. In the wake of his success, Osborn called a meeting of the super villain community (refered to as the ‘Dark Illuminati,’ a reference to the teaming of Professor X, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt and Mister Fantastic) where he explained what the new order really is. The villains of the world are free to loot and destroy as they please without any interference, so long as they toe the party line that Osborn is putting out.
While his co-conspirators are plotting behind his back, it is also very evident that the bad guys are in control for the first time. No longer skulking in corners rubbing their hands together, the villains of the Marvel U are out in the open and no one can stop them.
He also took control of S.H.I.E.L.D., ousting Tony Stark and reforming the organization as H.A.M.M.E.R. He followed this all up by taking over Avengers tower and forming his own team.
Dressed in his customized Iron Man armor, Norman Osborn leads this ersatz team of herores as the Iron Patriot. The so-called Avengers; Spider-Man (Venom), Hawkeye (Bullseye), Wolverine (Daken), Ms. Marvel (Moonstone) are actually hardened criminals in disguise as the recognized super-team. The series so far has been full of action drawn in the unique style of Mike Deodato and witty dialog as only Bendis can deliver. I have been dusappointed with the main Avengers book of late, but this series is just hitting all the right notes for me.
Seeking to establish his team of Avengers as super stars, Osborn brings them to Latveria to rescue Doctor Doom from the onslaught of the sorceress Morgana Le Fay. This is part of Osborn’s pact with the super villain community that he has to assist Doom in his time of need (even if the dictator refuses to ask for any help). Osborn also dodged a confrontation with the real Avengers and instead called in a favor of the Hood and his gang of super-powered thugs. It’s this kind of organization of the super villain world that is really scary. They are running things and not even the Avengers can stop them.
It’s a bad time to be a super hero, but a good time to be a Marvel Zombie.
Mighty Avengers Assemble Cho Cover
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