Comic Review: Dark Avengers #183
Writer: Jeff Parker
Penciller: Neil Edwards
Inker: Terry Pallot
Colourist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy’s Joe Caramagna
Previously, in Dark Avengers: Tricked into helping the Federal Advisory Committee to the Thunderbolts with their plot to steal Sharzhad’s Rigellian forcefield technology, the Dark Avengers were poised to succeed in their mission, having ditched both Luke Cage and Skaar, the chaperones on their ill-fated mission.
Luckily, the time-travelling Thunderbolts team arrived back in the present and defeated the Dark Avengers in order to prevent their mission from succeeding, saving the world from an apocalyptic future as a result. Now the two teams are reunited, and both the Thunderbolts and the Dark Avengers must face the consequences of their recent actions.
Every now and then, a series has a “First issue of a new era!” label slapped on the front of it, rather than getting a new issue #1; heck, even Thunderbolts wasn’t immune to this –- go check the cover for issue #163. I’ll wait. See? But very rarely does a series get an “End of an era!” label. From a marketing standpoint, this is obviously a bad idea, since a new era is much more likely to get readers to pick up a title than the end of one, but this issue of Dark Avengers deserves recognition for reaching yet another end of an era. I’ve mentioned before how the bread and butter of the Thunderbolts storytelling process is that the status quo keeps changing, and here we are again standing at a storytelling crossroads, as we bid farewell to the characters we have come to know and love all the way from issue #144 and send our new team of anti-heroes off on a brand new adventure.
Whilst this title has been Dark Avengers since issue #175, the Thunderbolts have been an active presence in almost every issue since then, until now. This issue sees the Thunderbolts plots finally get tied up, and the characters move on to their next adventure, likely under some other writer in some other book. It’s not a happy ending, but it’s an ending that suits these characters, and could be viewed as letting them finally get what they deserve. Even characters like Gunna, who hasn’t really got much left to do now that the Thunderbolts are gone, have their plotlines sorted out so that there’s nothing left hanging.
There’s also the payoff of some longer running storylines, like Fixer’s death in issue #174, which finally catches up with the team here as Moonstone gets to tell the only two people on the planet who care about him very much what happened to him. Songbird and Mach V, along with Moonstone, have been the longest running characters in this series, and it’s nice to see that recognized here -– I’m also hopeful that they will continue to stick around, even if they’re not as actively involved in the next storyline as Moonstone will be, given how the issue ends.
I’m a little sceptical about the new direction this series is taking, mostly because something similar has been taking place for the past fifteen or so issues. Whereas we’ve been travelling through time with the Thunderbolts since issue #157 or so, we seem to be in an alternate dimension or something now with the Dark Avengers. I’m prepared to see where this goes, since this creative team hasn’t done anything wrong with the time travel side of things so I have hope for this storyline too, but I’ve heard a lot of complaints across the internet that the series spent too long on that, so I’m not sure how this will go down with other readers.
Dark Avengers reaches another end of an era, as we head off on new adventures with a familiar team, and some more action packed craziness. This issue is basically the housekeeping that the title needed in order to ensure that the transition between the Thunderbolts era and the true Dark Avengers era was as smooth as possible, and manages to be both a love letter to the characters we’re leaving behind, and an enticing look forward to where our new cast are going next. Viva Dark Avengers.
GO Rating: 4/5
[Images via ComicBookResources]