Written by Brian Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato
Bendis continue along with his Ellis impersonation in the second issue of Dark Avengers and I'm still very much enjoying this title. I know that opening line might sound condescending in regards to Bendis' abilities, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
In fact, I think this is some of Bendis' best work since his Daredevil days and it's easily his best non-street level work to date. He's managed to blend the dark humour of Ellis' Thunderbolts with the more mainstream appeal of the regular Avengers titles while still maintaining the dark humour and style that made Ellis' run such a great read.
Take this issue as an example. We have Bullseye picking up the Spider-Man-like joker role for the team, making quips like how, if he hadn't killed his mother, she'd be proud of his being an Avenger. Or when the Sentry, well, I'll just come right out and say it - when the Sentry rips the freaking head off of Morgana to "end" the threat in an instant. The book is filled with great moments like this and Mike Deodato's artwork only furthers the dark humour or intensity of these scenes.
However, this issue isn't without faults. Bendis reverts to his over dependance on narrative at times and I think the best example of this is the opening pages where Norman Osborn gives a speech to his first wave of HAMMER recruits. It's a two page spread and, I swear, there are more speech bubbles visible than actual artwork in the top two panels of the spread. I'm also not a fan of his Ares interpretation, who is little more than a meat headed Neanderthal, which, in some cases, can be, admittedly, funny. Also, what was up with Victoria Hand having a red stripe of hair and wearing some kind of Swordsman-like combat suit? She used to be black hair and office lady attire.
Verdict - Must Read. Despite some flaws, I'm still going to give this issue a Must Read verdict as I enjoyed it immensely and more than a few pages had me going, "OH SH--!". This isn't the most cerebral comic on the market, but it's definitely entertaining.