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He’s Checking It Twice

December 29, 2009

     Okay, with the obligatory Santa Claus reference out of the way, here’s the first part of the rather loosely connected Dark Reign sub-storyline, Dark Reign: The List – Avengers.  Taking place… at some point that’s not really clear (could be before or after the whole depowering arc in New Avengers), Norman Osborn begins taking notes into his Iron Patriot armor to figure out the people he wants to take out/deal with.  On that list, including people not directly involved in Dark Reign: The List, are, based on the images in front of Osborn, Iron Man, Loki, the Hulk, Ronin, Thor, the Hood, Dr. Doom, Spider-Man, Professor Xavier, and someone whose head is obscured by a text bubble.  Also on that list, based on his dialogue with Ares, is the Scarlet Witch.  Hearing about the Utopia crisis in San Francisco, Ronin once again states that he’s going to kill Norman Osborn.  Except that this time, he really goes through with his threat, despite the other New Avengers’ protests and Mockingbird’s offer of help.  He sneaks out alone and breaks into Stark Tower, taking out Venom, Bullseye, and Daken by himself.  When Moonstone shows up, he tries to use their former relationship to get her to help him, but Osborn interferes.  Ronin makes it to Osborn, but Ares shows up and takes him out rather quickly.  And Osborn remakrs that that’s one off his list.

     Personally, I found the whole List storyline to be rather pointless, since, aside from Punisher and sort of here, I can’t say that Osborn was really successful or that even very much of note happened.  Rather, the stories were used, in the best cases, as ways of propelling individual titles’ storylines forward, or in the worst cases, as just an excuse to tack another Dark Reign banner onto another one-shot.  Brian Michael Bendis does closer to the former here, utilizing current events in the Marvel Universe to move along Ronin’s personal story.  Ronin does get a few bad-ass moments in this issue, for which I must applaud Bendis, especially considering how poorly he treated the character back when he was Hawkeye.  And props for referencing Hawkeye’s fling with Moonstone too.  Unfortunately, Marko Djurdjevic’s work here is far from his best, which you can see on many different covers and in a few issues of Thor.  So overall, it’s a fun read with only a bit of consequence and decent art.  I recommend it for anyone reading New Avengers or anyone who just loves Dark Reign, but it’s not that crucial a plot point, nor is it terribly exciting.  However, I would have to say that Hawkeye/Ronin fans will like to see Marvel’s top archer and one of the oldest Avengers kicking serious ass.

Plot: 8.0      Art: 8.2      Dialogue: 8.0      Overall: 8.0

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