Dark Avengers #9

Story by
Art by
Mike Deodato
Colors by
Rain Beredo
Letters by
Cory Petit
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Who would have thought that a team of super-criminals (or godlike beings) posing as heroes, run by Norman Osborn, would lead to trouble?

We're all shocked. Shocked.

Sarcasm aside, Bendis is doing some of his best team-related work on this series, giving us a team of unrepentant psychopaths and setting them loose (well, not loose, but barely controlled by a maniac) upon the Marvel Universe. After a brief, Matt Fraction-penned "X-Men" crossover, the Dark Avengers are back to the business of the superhero board room, talking smack about Spider-Man's wit and the instability-on-a-stick that's known as the Sentry.

I'll get back to the Sentry in a bit, but even though the Dark Avengers do sit around in talk in typical, amusing, Bendis fashion, this issue isn't really a Dark Avengers issue. It's an Ares spotlight issue, at least for most of its pages. And it answers the question: how does Ares feel about his son being a part of Nick Fury's "Secret Warriors"? Or, better yet: Does Ares have any clue about what the hell is going on?

We definitely get the answers to both of those questions, as Ares heads off to work in the morning as his son gets ready for school, only his son, Alex, doesn't go to school -- he goes to one of the super-secret Nick Fury hideouts to train with the rest of his team of Secret Warriors. And Ares follows him there.

Bendis, being Bendis, gives us a confrontation that's more talk than action, but it's far more interesting that way. It's Nick Fury vs. the god of war, arguing about the best course for the future. The best place for Alex. Ares admits, "I don't know how to raise him...I don't know what to do," and Mike Deodato draws Ares looking downward, ashamed of his failure as a father (with plenty of subtext about the kind of father he had), and when Alex chooses to stay with the Secret Warriors, Ares doesn't try to stop him.

The scene features a nice bit of dialogue at the end, one of those moments that smashes home the absurdity of the Marvel Universe in a wonderfully appropriate way: "Know this, if the boy dies in battle with you..." says Ares, only to be interrupted by Fury, who says, "He'll die a warrior." Ares patiently continues, "You may see it that way. And maybe I would too... That won't stop his grandfather from striking you down and making it his pleasure to watch you burn in the eternal fires of Hades."

So Nick Fury's got that going for him.

And thus it is that Ares acquiesces to his son's participation in the Secret Warriors before heading back to work for Norman Osborn. But if the issue ended with that, I don't know that I'd give it more than three stars. The extra half star comes in for the final three pages, as the Sentry's life takes a dramatic turn as a silent Norman Osborn sits behind a closed door.

Things are falling apart, just like they should. And this series continues to make its mark.

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