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The One That Got Away

June 15, 2010

Siege is over, and the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn has come to a close.  As such, the story of his team of Avengers ends with Dark Avengers #16.  After the good guys win Siege, Norman Osborn is transported to Ryker’s Island by Steve Rogers, Iron Man, and Thor.  In a flashback to the day before, Ms. Marvel (Moonstone) and Hawkeye (Bullseye) try to escape after the Dark Avengers are caught, but even though they counter Ms. Marvel and Captain America (Bucky Barnes), they’re knocked out by Iron Man and Luke Cage.  Victoria Hand tells Steve that she wants a lawyer, and Steve says that he knows who she is.  Elsewhere, Wolverine (Daken) kills a soldier combing Broxton, Oklahoma, for more of Osborn’s thugs.  He dresses up in the soldier’s uniform and tricks the other soldiers into going the wrong way, giving him a window to escape.  Thus, he manages to elude capture.  Thor transports Ares’ axe and helmet to Phobos and Nick Fury, praising Phobos for not wanting to meet with his kin in the Olympus Group.  Nick Fury also tells Phobos that everyone is getting what’s coming to them, including the guy who killed his father, the Sentry, who is now dead.  Steve meets with Hand, and Steve wonders what a person like her was doing with Osborn.  She tells him that she believed in what Osborn had to offer, and she was trying to fix his problems so he could help the world.  He tells her that she was just trying to serve the country and tells her to report for her next assignment on Monday.  Needless to say, Hand is more than a tad confused.  Osborn gets put in jail, and he says that he was just trying to fix things, and that he was doing a good job, if it hadn’t been for the Green Goblin.  He tells the Green Goblin to go away, but the Green Goblin reminds him that he can’t, because he’s stuck in prison with Osborn.  And so the series ends with Osborn crushed and defeated, and the sounds of the Green Goblin’s laughter ringing in his ears.

These sixteen issues of Dark Avengers are definitely the best work that Brian Michael Bendis has done with the Avengers franchise overall.  He took a bunch of villains and told a very compelling story with them.  He even created a brand new strong female character to keep in the Marvel Universe after this is all over.  While I’m not sure what’s next for Osborn and Spider-Man (Venom), Sentry and Ares are dead, Protector is joining the real Avengers, Daken is getting another series, Moonstone’s rejoining the Thunderbolts (against her will), and Bullseye will be featured in the upcoming street-level crossover, Shadowland, in which he may very well bite the dust.  Osborn will likely spend some time rotting in jail before he gets to see the light of day again.  As for Venom, he got the least out of this series, because his meds turned him into a weenie, and there don’t seem to be any plans for him in the future.  But this was a great exercise in going into the minds of some really dark characters that hasn’t been done anywhere since the original Thunderbolts.  I’m referring to bad guys pretending to be good guys.  And unlike in Thunderbolts, sometimes, these characters really didn’t pretend very hard.  The whole series was dark and great, and it finally put an end to the Sentry once and for all.  Woohoo!  Plus, Bendis did some absolutely superb characterization with Osborn.  And lastly, Mike Deodato Jr.’s pencils are some of the best in comic books.  Period.  Parts of this issue looked a bit 3-D because of the inking and coloring, which was actually kind of nifty.  They kind of look odd when you stare at them too long, particularly when Osborn’s talking to the Green Goblin in the cell, but the pencils themselves are gorgeous.  I’m glad Deodato will be going on to do Secret Avengers because I’d hate to be deprived of his spectacular work.  Well, even though I didn’t care about a single one of these characters before this series started (aside from Osborn in the villain sense), I thoroughly enjoyed this series.  And no, I still don’t care about any of them, save only now Victoria Hand.  They’re all total bastards, and it was great to get into their heads and watch them be evil in the shoes of heroes, if only for a little while.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 9.0

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