In this issue, the latest of the “Dark Reign: the List” series of one-shots, Nick Fury and Norman Osborn trade notes. Fury flexes his intel muscles a bit and gets into Osborn’s private quarters for a conversation. Hickman delivers a story that is so briskly paced it feels as though it is a twelve-page story, not a twenty-two page story.
McGuiness’ art is tempered by Palmer’s inks and Sotomayor’s colors to be less cartoony and significantly more intense than standard-issue Ed McGuiness work. The end result is artwork more in line with Steranko’s stuff. That’s not to say this storyline is all trippy and psychedelic, but the pacing, framing, and detail are in line with what Steranko offered in his time. It’s more of a thematic relation as opposed to an “Ed McGuiness is the next Jim Steranko” type of thing. Essentially, less is more.
This issue takes a number of steps towards whatever resolution awaits “Dark Reign” while it also sets up the next big threat for the group of characters led by Fury. The brilliance of “The List” is that it is a sampler pack under the guise of being an event tie-in. You weren’t reading “Secret Warriors,” but you picked this issue up to see what happens between Osborn and Fury? Congratulations! You’re now up to speed on “Secret Warriors!”” Did we mention when the next issue goes on sale? Brilliant move by Marvel, from a marketing standpoint.
Like the other issues of this “Dark Reign: The List” collection, this issue is not a must-have. It offers a deeper look into the brouhaha in the Marvel Universe, but doesn’t shatter any worlds. It most likely won’t crack the internet in half either. This is a story for comic book fans — people who like reading comic books for enjoyment. While I may not ever read this story again, I certainly did enjoy it when I read it today.