Comics : Dark Avengers #2

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This review was first published on: 2009.

Background...

Norman Osborn has risen to power as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. He has quickly dismantled the organization and rebuilt in under the acronym H.A.M.M.E.R. (name still undetermined). He has replaced all of Tony Stark's non-lethal technology with his (presumably more lethal) equipment. He has assembled a new team of Avengers that consists of villains masquerading as heroes. The only true heroes are Ares and Sentry, but the reasons for their association with Osborn are sketchy.

Morgan Le Fay has used her sorcery to observe Dr. Doom from her own time. She traveled to the present to kill him for betraying her trust.

In Detail...

Dark Avengers #2
Apr 2009 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man (Venom/Scorpion) appears
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Artist:  Mike Deodato
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Issue
Review
Articles: Green Goblin I (Norman Osborn)

Latveria, 37 years ago: Morgana appears in the gypsy camp were Victor Von Doom is asleep. She enters his tent and prepares to kill the boy in his sleep before he can grow up to become Dr. Doom. She stops and realizes that he won't suffer enough if she kills him now. More importantly, he won't know it was her that killed him. She disappears allowing him to live - for now.

Today, headquarters of H.A.M.M.E.R.: Norman Osborn gives an inspirational speech to the first wave of H.A.M.M.E.R. agents. These recruits have been selected from the Thunderbolts' Initiative, SHIELD agents, as well as Hydra agents who proved useful during the Skrull invasion.

Today, the remains of Castle Doom: Morgana attacks Doom and the complement of HAMMER agents assigned to return him to Latveria. Thinking she found a worthwhile mate in Doom, she is livid at the way this has worked out. She and Doom begin incantations that cause the air to crackle with arcane energies, scaring the agents. They call for backup.

New York: Following their public debut, Osborn lays down the law. They are to never speak to the press under any circumstances. They are to get acquainted with each other and peacefully co-exist. No fighting, no button-pushing, nothing unless they want to be shipped back to Thunderbolt Mountain. He then explains that he and Victoria Hand will compile a list of problems they need to solve.

Bullseye asks if they're going to bring in Iron Man since he's a fugitive. Ares and Sentry glare at him for even making the suggestion. Osborn answers that Stark will be dealt with by law, not them.

Latveria: Doom and Morganna continue their mystic battle, which Doom loses. He is then rendered battered unconscious by one of Morganna's demons. News of this reaches Osborn, who orders his team to Latveria. While he admits that this is not the ideal first mission, he will honor his agreement with Doom (the last part is left out of his explanation).

They fly to Latveria in one of Osborn's aircraft. They quickly find Morgana preparing to kill Doom with a dagger she brought with her. She turns her attention to the Avengers, summoning more demons which attack them. Ares informs Osborn that Morgana is a sorceress from the distant past. At this point one of the demons cripples their aircraft, causing it to crash.

Undeterred, Osborn orders Le Fay to surrender or return to her own time. When Morgana refuses to comply, Osborn orders the Sentry to attack without restraint. His attack is quick and brutal as he rips off her head. Even Bullseye is impressed. This does not last as Sentry seemingly explodes, signaling the return of Morganna.

When Ares demands that she leaves, she mocks him. She then casts a spell that causes Venom III/Spider-Man to revert to his monstrous form and try to swallow the god of war whole. She then sends the demon horde against the remaining Avengers.

In General...

The timeline of the story is a bit off. I'm not sure how the Avengers could have flown from New York to Latveria in the time it took Morgana to walk over to an unconscious Doom and try to kill him.

The full transmission reached Osborn when Doom was defeated. Unless Morgana took a long time killing the rest of the agents, there is no way that they could travel from New York to Latveria in that small window. It's not mentioned, but I assume that the dagger she was planning to use had some magical enhancements. No way a regular dagger cuts through Doom's armor.

On the positive side, seeing Sentry ripping off Le Fay's head is quite impressive. Of course when she reappears moments later it tends to make it less impressive. I'm not quite sure how time travel is going to be used in this situation. If you are dead, you can't go back in time and then reappear. To be fair, I'm not sure how her powers work. From a story perspective, magic and time travel are tough to explain without limiting the ways the villain can be defeated. But I do wish Bendis would set down a few rules instead of simply throwing that in.

Overall Rating...

3.5 webs. Impossible time lines and unexplained time travel make me scratch my head. The time line issue can't be explained, this was an oversight. The time travel issue will hopefully be explained by the end of the arc. If not, bad Bendis. Ignoring those two items, the issue was very entertaining. The parts that work do so very well. I just can't ignore the time-related problems.

Footnote...

  • In Mighty Avengers #9 we learn that Doom traveled back in time to Morgana Le Fay. He convinced her share her knowledge of sorcery with him and talked his way into her bed chambers. Despite statements to the contrary, she does have feelings for Doom.
  • Castle Doom was destroyed during Doom's battle with the Avengers in Mighty Avengers #10. They came after him to arrest him when they discovered he was behind the biological attack on New York. This occurred in Mighty Avengers #7.