Dark Avengers #3 Review

The Revolution continues to be impressed with Bendis’ work on Dark Avengers. Bendis continues to do an excellent job with this rather intriguing roster of characters that comprises the Dark Avengers. I fully expect Bendis to crank out another quality read with Dark Avengers #3. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Norman entering the Sentry’s condo. Norman states how he is now Bob’s new neighbor here at Avengers Tower. We see Lindsy asleep in bed. Norman tells Bob that he knows that Tony Stark was afraid of Bob. Bob answers that many people are afraid of him. Norman asks Bob what everyone is afraid of Bob. Bob answers that he has mental problems.

Norman asks Bob if Bob knows who Norman is. Bob says no. Norman explains how he was the Green Goblin. Norman continues that he hears voices in his head, too. That Norman finally was able to control it and subdue the voices. Now Norman is successful, has Tony Stark’s job, owns Avengers Tower and runs the Avengers. Norman says that Bob can control this. He just has to choose to do so.

Bob is stunned that Norman knows about Bob hearing the Void’s voice in his head. Bob says that he cannot control the voices in his head. Bob says that Norman does not understand. Norman says that he hears voices that tell him to do things that are wrong. That the voices are telling Norman to make choices that would hurt the people that Norman loves. Norman says that it took him a long time, but that he now controls it.

Bob says that the Void is inside of him and that the Void is watching them right now. Bob says that anytime he does something good that the Void balances it by doing something bad. Norman responds “The Void is you.”

The Sentry begins to cry. Bob says that he does not know if it is him or the Void that is speaking to Norman right now. Norman says that there is no Void. That it is only Bob. Norman says that Bob may have more power than he can handle and that may very well be the problem. Norman asks if Bob had the Void inside of him before he became the Sentry. Bob says “No.”

Norman says that it is chemical. Norman says that the power is Bob. That Bob can control this. That if Norman could do it then so can Bob. Norman says that he is not afraid of Bob. Norman says that he is proud of Bob. That Bob is inspiring. Norman says he is honored to have met Bob. Norman says today is the day that Bob gets his shit together. That today is the day that the two of them live their lives to the fullest. (Oh, I smell the blossoming of a wonderful bromance!)

Norman promises that nothing bad will happen to Sentry. Norman asks Bob to say that there is no Void. Bob responds “There is!” Norman repeats for Bob to say that there is no Void. Finally, Norman gets Bob to forcefully state “There is no Void!” Norman asks if the Void is talking to the Sentry now. Bob says “No.” Norman answers that is because as long as Bob says so then there is no Void.

Norman says that they are going to use their powers to do what Tony Stark, Nick Fury and Captain America could not do. Norman asks Bob to join the Avengers. Bob asks “Now?” Norman says no, not right now. That first they are going to shower, shave, eat and sleep.

Bob responds that he no longer has to do those things. Norman replies that Bob is going to do those things not because he has to, but because he wants to. Because they make him feel good and human. And they make him feel like “Bob.” Norman says “And if you feel like Bob, you are Bob.”

Bob says that Norman is right. Bob says that he does not do those things anymore, but he loves a hot shower. And he loves hamburgers. Bob says that he has not eaten in forever. Norman replies that when Bob denies himself his humanity then Bob creates something else. Bob creates a void.

Bob begins to cry and say that Norman is right. Norman tells Bob to cry. To be human. Bob says he is not sad. Norman says that he knows. That Bob is relieved. Norman says that Bob is realizing how great his life is going to be from now on. Norman then adds that it is not going to be easy. That Bob is going to have to work hard at it every day. Norman tells Bob to make a list to remind himself what to do each day. To do things like speak to people, to enjoy his life, to enjoy his feeling, etc. Norman says that he does the same thing every day.

Norman tells Bob to push down and fight down the Void feelings. Norman tells Bob to be Bob Reynolds. Norman says that he will help Bob every day. Norman says that they can help each other. Bob is surprised and says “You will?” Norman responds “Damn right.” Norman continues that they are teammates. Bob responds that nobody has ever talked to him like this. Norman responds that is because no one has understood Bob like Norman does.

Norman then calls Ms. Hand and tells her to order everything on the menu from 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. Norman tells Bob that he is going to die from happiness when he eats the burgers and fries from 5 Guys. Bob thanks Norman for everything. The two men then exit the room. We then see that Lindsy has been awake this entire scene as she has been lying in bed. She looks surprised.

We cut to Morgana Le Fay’s castle in 690 A.D. Morgana is studying the members of the Dark Avengers. Morgana spits that these are not Avengers. That they are all thieves, murderers and deviants. Morgana says that she has to go back and battle them until her point is made.

We shift to the present outside of Doom’s castle where the Dark Avengers are brawling with Morgana’s demons. Norman radios HAMMER and tells them that the Sentry is gone. Norman orders that no back-up be sent in because if the Avengers are overwhelmed then the HAMMER soldiers would be killed. HAMMER headquarters begins to upload information on Morgana to Norman’s armor.

Morgana then re-appears on the scene and turns Ares into stone. We then see Bullseye firing off five arrows that impale Morgana and kill her. The demons then all disappear. Norman then walks over to Doom. Doom says that Morgana’s magic has frozen his armor and that Doom cannot move or do anything.

Suddenly, Morgana and her demon horde re-appear on the scene. The Dark Avengers begin brawling with the demon horde once more. Norman grabs Doom and flies off into the air with him. Norman asks Doom how he can stop Morgana. Doom replies that Norman does not have the knowledge. Doom says that Morgana keeps travelling back and forth the time stream corrupting it for her own purposes. Norman asks if Doom can time travel. Doom says yes, but his armor is frozen.

Norman tells Doom to give him access to Doom’s armor. At first, Doom refuses to do so. Norman tells Doom to get over himself or he won’t even have a life soon enough. We then see Morgana on a flying dragon and hot on Norman’s tail. Norman yells for Doom to give him access to Doom’s armor or they are going to die. Doom replies for Norman not to betray him.

Norman then access Doom’s time cube abilities in Doom’s armor. Norman and Doom then slip into the time stream and disappear. Morgana cries out “NO!”

We cut to Morgana castle in 690 A.D. Morgana is looking in her magic cauldron. Morgana commands the cauldron to show her where Doom is hiding in time. Morgana looks into the cauldron and sees an image of herself peering into the cauldron with Doom and Iron Patriot standing behind her. Morgana spins around and sees Norman and Doom standing there. Doom states “No one raises a hand against Victor Von Doom” (Oh man, no one keeps their pimp hand as strong as Doom does.) End of issue.

Commentary

The Good: Dark Avengers #3 was another good read. Bendis delivered a nicely constructed issue. The first half of the issue was an enjoyable character driven dramatic scene while the second half treated the reader to plenty of furious action. I appreciate that Bendis tried to give a balanced mix to this issue.

Dark Avengers #3 is a fine example of when decompression is necessary and is actually used properly to enhance the story. Decompression allows Bendis to give the reader an in depth view into the minds of both Norman and Sentry. It also slows the story down in order to emphasize to the reader the importance of the scene. It was also necessary to show how Norman gets Sentry on the team and gains Sentry’s trust. And even though the scene was decompressed, there was no wasted dialogue. Each sentence was well crafted and necessary.

The first half of this issue focusing on Norman and Sentry was a fantastic character study on both men. Frankly, Bendis completely blew me away with the scene between Norman and Bob. I did not think that Bendis had it in him to write such an intensely dramatic and emotional scene that was completely devoid of any “Bendis speak.” I hope that Bendis continues to strive to cultivate more range in his writing rather than being so predictable and one dimensional.

Seriously, the scene between Norman and Sentry was flat out amazing. Bendis crafts an incredibly intense, emotional and serious scene. And Bendis does it without ever being melodramatic or cheesy. Bendis weaves some wonderful dialogue. It was impeccably crafted. I was fascinated with how Bendis was able to get into the minds of both men.

I enjoyed the obvious parallels between Norman and Bob. I like that Bendis has Norman approach Sentry differently than anyone else has. And it makes perfect sense. Norman really is one of the few characters in the 616 Universe who can understand what Sentry is going through with his paranoid schizophrenia.

I have always liked the Sentry, but the fact is that his character has been stuck in neutral for quite some time. The paranoid schizophrenic theme was interesting at first, but it has been overused and run into the ground. The Sentry has received little to no character growth and the lack of evolution in his character has made him quite stale and stagnant.

Finally, we get a writer in Bendis who is attempting to further evolve Sentry’s character and perform something new with him. I would love to see Sentry move past the paranoid schizophrenic helpless stage that his character has been trapped in. This issue is a solid first step in a new direction for the Sentry.

Bendis demonstrates a nice feel for Sentry’s psyche. I dig how Bendis reveals that Bob had no problems before he became the Sentry. It makes sense that Bob’s incredible powers would simply be too much for any mortal to handle. The explanation that it is all chemical was simple and believable enough to work for me. Bendis keying onto the fact that Bob had ceased to act human as a cause for him fabricating the Void persona was excellent. Norman urging Bob to be human but because he has to but because he should want to was well done. That reminding himself that he is human is important. That if Bob denies his own humanity then it creates a void inside him was an excellent explanation of Bob’s schizophrenia.

I love how Bendis writes Norman. I will admit that I am one of the very few readers who have never found Norman Osborn all that interesting before Dark Reign. Bendis has quickly changed that and made me a big fan of Norman’s character. I actually dig that Norman shows compassion for Bob. I enjoyed that Norman came across genuine and honest in how he readily bared his soul to Bob. I like that Bendis is taking the time and effort to add plenty of texture and depth to Norman’s character. Bendis’ Norman Osborn is so much more compelling than your typical one-dimensional cackling madman.

The fact is that villains do not view themselves as bad people. That everyone, no matter who they are or what they do, always view themselves as a hero. And even big bad villains are not 100% evil. Bendis seem to understand this and is keeping that in mind with how he writes Norman’s character. By giving Norman a human side and some redeeming qualities Bendis is making him a much more intriguing villain. I have to admit that I am actually finding myself rooting for Norman in this issue.

Bendis gave a great ending to the scene with Norman and Bob with a wide-eyed Lindsy pretending to be asleep and trying to take in the conversation that just happened. It should be interesting to see if Lindsy trusts Norman like Bob does or if Lindsy tries to convince Bob that Norman is using him.

The second half of the issue delivers plenty of exciting action. Action fans should enjoy the violent and furious fighting that Bendis gave us. I have to admit that I did like the panel where Bullseye pumps Morgana full of arrows. Bullseye is definitely not your father’s Hawkeye.

I also like how Bendis has Norman wave off the support from HAMMER’s troops citing that if the Dark Avengers could not handle the demons then the grunts would just get slaughtered. Despite his flaws, Norman continues to display a regard for the lives of his HAMMER soldiers. And Norman’s actions in this fight scene were actually rather heroic.

Bendis did an excellent job with the banter between Doom and Norman as Norman tries to gain access to Doom’s time travel abilities in Doom’s armor. This scene makes Norman seem more like a hero while Doom is just a typical megalomaniac. I also like how Norman has made for a fine field commander. The fact that Norman managed to convince Doom to give him access to Doom’s armor was pretty impressive.

I found it interesting how it seems that Bendis, and it may be completely unintentional, is setting up the Dark Avengers as underdogs. Bendis makes a point of having Morgana discount the Dark Avengers as a bunch of thieves, murderers and deviants. That these Avengers are clearly inferior to the previous versions of the Avengers that Morgana has tangled with. Even though the Dark Avengers have several nasty villains on the roster, I could see the possibility of readers beginning to root for the Dark Avengers to succeed and prove the naysayers wrong.

That is exactly what started happening to me while I was reading Dark Avengers #3. Personally, in a battle between New Avengers and the Dark Avengers I would root for the Dark Avengers. The Dark Avengers roster simply intrigues me so much more while the New Avengers just seem to be a bunch of annoying and irritating crybabies who are always whining about something.

Bendis ends Dark Avengers #3 with a great hook ending as Doom and Norman get the drop on Morgana. And, of course, I enjoyed the bad-ass line from Doom that ends this issue. I am certainly looking forward to this showdown in the next issue. I am also curious to find out where in the world the Sentry disappeared to.

Mike Deodato’s artwork was just fantastic. Deodato’s style of art is the perfect match for the mood and tone of Bendis’ story. The art in the first half with Sentry and Norman was particularly well done. I loved the use of dark space in this scene. Deodato manages to add so much power and emotion to the scene. I also dig how Norman looks similar to Tommy Lee Jones. I had Jones’ voice in my head as I was reading Norman’s dialogue.

The Bad: Even though I have thoroughly enjoyed the first three issues of Dark Avengers, I do see some potential problems looming on the horizon. The plotting was weak on Dark Avengers #3. And as this title progresses this issue could become a large problem. After three issues, Bendis really only has one plotline cooking and that is the one involving Doom and Morgana. Other than that plotline, there really is not much else going on.

On team titles it is vitally important to have a main plotline brewing at the same time as several shorter sub-plots and a couple of mid range and long range plotlines. Again, I point to DnA’s Guardian of the Galaxy as a team title that would serve as an excellent blueprint on how to plot a team title. It would behoove Bendis to try and work on his craft and evolve his plotting talents in order to properly accommodate a team title.

Dark Avengers has been a very decompressed title over the course of the first three issues. It seems like only about a half an hour has passed over the course of the past three issues. Some readers may be turned off by how decompressed Dark Avengers has been over the course of the first three issues. It is not as bad as New Avengers, but it is still slightly more decompressed than your average comic book.

Overall: Dark Avengers #3 was another enjoyable read. Bendis continues to impress me with his effort on this title. I find Dark Avengers to be vastly superior to New Avengers to the point that it is almost hard to believe that Bendis writes both titles. I strongly recommend that you give Dark Avengers a try. Even if you dislike New Avengers, you should still give Dark Avengers a chance. This title is a balanced read that should appeal to a wide cross section of readers.

3 Comments

  1. ..

    I really liked this book, even though I don’t like Bendis super-hero books, don’t care for Morganna or the Sentry, don’t like the “evil Avengers” concept, and didn’t like the first two issues. (Especially the head ripping bit.)

    But this issue was very entertaining. As you said, without all the expected Bendis tropes. it all made sense internally, it didn’t rely on a overly indulgent suspension of disbelief.

    Heck, Bulleye-as-Hawkeye was cool. I NEVER thought I’d write THAT.

    A very unexpected positive from me.

    ..

  2. Does anyone else see more and more of Gene Colan’s influence in Mike Deodato’s work? Specifically Colan’s later stuff?

  3. Adam, it’s funny I wouldn’t have noticed it if you hadn’t mentioned it, but now that you mention it, absolutely.

Comments are closed.