Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dark Reign The List – Avengers – A Review

Dark Reign The List – Avengers

Publisher Marvel

Writer Brian Bendis

Pencils Marko Djurdjevic

Inks Mark Morales

Colors Marte Garcia

This week had very few books that jump out as read me first and post a review of me, but The List is certainly being pimped by Marvel as a pivotal moment in the Dark Reign saga. I have to say that it has started out like it was advertised from that standpoint. As for being books done by Marvel’s best writers and artists, that is really more of an individual’s viewpoint, but Bendis is Marvel’s main writer and architect of what is the current status quo and normally I enjoy Djurdjevic’s art.

The good part of this is seeing Hawkeye, I mean Ronin, finally having enough of Norman and decide that it is time to take him out. Now we have a few pages of the normal Bendis talking heads as the other Avengers try to talk Hawkeye, I mean Ronin, out of killing Norman, but it is done relatively well. Of course my expectations are for Bendis to have every character almost talk the exact same and the dialogue to be really off key and this time it was not nearly as bad as it has been before. Oh it still had those moments that bring the book to a halt and dialogue that could be coming out of anyone’s mouth, but it was a decent discussion about whether it is ever right to kill someone. Personally I say that if someone is responsible for mass murders and other heinous acts, killing them is okay, but the discussion was a valid moral argument.

I also enjoy the interaction between Clint and Mockingbird. Bendis does a good job when handling a couple’s interactions and Bobbi supporting Clint regardless of how she feels was a nice piece. Correspondingly it was just as well done that Clint decided to do it on his own anyway.

I like Clint Barton and while his resurrection was always a little wonky, Clint has always had that rebel and outsider quality that I like and see in myself at times. So having Clint as the guy who decides to take out Norman was well done. I also enjoy how Clint set up the Dark Avengers and took down Venom, Bullseye and Daken. What fell apart was Norman outsmarting him and Clint having no preparation to take down Ares. After showing us how smart Clint is as he attacks the Dark Avengers and how clever his plan in on the first few pages and then to see him so summarily defeated in the next few pages felt inconsistent. How can Clint be that smart and then be that dumb? I can live with Norman outsmarting Clint (otherwise it would be a short series for “The List”), but not planning for Ares made no sense to me. Still the start of the list was entertaining and now that Clint is being held by Norman the proverbial crap will be hitting the fan.

The biggest shocker of this book was the art by Marko Djurdjevic. I loved his work on Thor and felt this work fell down from what he had shown us on Thor. Maybe it is a different inker or Marko is trying out a different style so he can produce more pages, but the art felt a lot looser and lost some of that realistic edge and weight that it carried in Thor. Here and there I felt the colorist was covering up some sloppy work and the dark tone to the book made sense, but missed having the right feel to it. I expected better.

Finally the price point was $4, but we got more then 22 pages, we got 26 and then a bunch of previews, which to me is a shame. I guess the publishers think we can’t recognize they are adding pages to give the book heft, but are essentially filler. For $4 I want 30 pages of story and art that are new for the comic I’m reading. Previews don’t count, reprints don’t count, even text pieces are iffy.

Overall Grade B – It had the feel of finally moving the Dark Reign story forward and I for one am ready for the Dark Reign to be over. Also I like Clint Barton and enjoyed seeing him be given center stage.

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