Dark Avengers #3 continues the series’ fantastic opening arc, as Osborn’s team of “evil” Avengers fight an attacking Morgan Le Fey.
The opening pages, however, take a short break from the action to show us exactly how Osborn brought the Sentry into the fold. As a man well-placed to deal with voices in his head, Osborn’s advice to Bob is undeniably helpful, but in giving him this advice, Osborn also places The Sentry subtly under his control, assuring the unstable hero that they fight together. It’s simply some of Bendis’ best writing in years.
After that strong character material, the gears change and we are instead treated to the spectacle of the Avengers fighting Le Fey’s forces. It’s all excellent reading as the team struggles to stay in control of clearly overwhelming odds, demonstrating the competency and intelligence that such villains would need to stay in their position. This arc in particular shows why the “Dark Avengers” are needed at all – with Osborn now running the show, he needs enforcers to protect those loyal to him. Since Dr. Doom falls under such auspices, so he must intervene when Le Fey attacks. It’s big-budget action, with a brilliant core concept, and I can’t wait for each new issue.
A large part of that is Deodato’s artwork, which is reaches breathtaking levels at times. It’s a rare talent who can make characters recognisable purely from their posture, but that’s what he manages to do with Norman Osborn on the final page. Even with the character concealed beneath a full suit of armour, it’s unmistakably him. Surely, Deodato is the comics industry’s turnaround success story of the last 10 years, going from sub-Image 90s wank to the absolute top of the industry. If ever an artist deserved to be rewarded for his hard work, he’s the one.