In the Marvel Universe, the Avengers team is composed of superheroes who work together in order to save the world from dire threats. Although this group has been comprised of heroes over the years, some villains have entered into the fold, too, only to come out as heroes in the end. Some examples include Hawkeye, Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and most recently, Red Hulk (or Rulk).
However, for a time in the Marvel Universe, there was a team of Avengers who looked like heroes but were really evildoers in the series, “Dark Avengers.” While this team was broken up following “Siege,” it appears a new group of Dark Avengers are forming to wreak havoc for the Marvel heroes and will be revealed in “New Avengers” Vol. 2 #18.
For those unfamiliar with “Dark Avengers,” this was the series following “Secret Invasion,” where Norman Osborn was in charge of global security along with his H.A.M.M.E.R. division replacing S.H.I.E.L.D.
At the same time, he was also gathering villains to pose as heroes for his own Avengers team led by himself as the Iron Patriot. They included Wolverine (Daken), Spider-Man (Marc Gargan), Ms. Marvel (Moonstone), Hawkeye (Bullseye), the Sentry, Captain Marvel (Noh-Var), and Ares.
In an interview with comicbookresources.com, series writer Brian Michael Bendis explained what the idea was for Dark Avengers as the first issue was approaching. “Norman feels the Avengers need to be a team of unapologetic ass-kicker-y. Plus his team serves a dual purpose: he gets to have these colorful mascots of freedom, but at the same time — whew! Is he pissing off all the right people! He gets to mock Spider-Man. And if God forbid Mac Gargan does something stupid, Osborn can blame it on Spider-Man,” he said.
The team offered the guise of heroism but underneath still acted like villains with double-crosses, selflessness, and conflict as they dealt with issues like Morganne Le Fay’s magic and the San Francisco mutant crisis in the crossover tale, “Utopia.” They were the main focal point of the Marvel Universe during the Dark Reign storyline that ran in most of the House of Ideas series. “Dark Avengers” ran for 16 issues with one annual included.
Since the “Siege” aftermath, the team dispersed through the Marvel Universe or to the great beyond. Ares and the Sentry both died in the “Siege” miniseries while Bullseye met his end from Daredevil in “Shadowland” #1.
Noh-Var joined the newly established main Avengers team, Daken went off on his own journey, Marc Gargan became the Scorpion again, and Moonstone went back to the Thunderbolts.
As for Osborn, he went to a super maximum security prison where he slowly worked his way out. Now, it seems like he has a new mission to accomplish with the help of a new Dark Avengers team.
The synopsis for “New Avengers” #18 on comixology.com leaves much to the imagination with a tagline that reads: “Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. return! Witness the new Avengers line-up in action!” It is being written by Bendis (who has written “New Avengers” since Volume 1 and drawn by his “Dark Avengers” artist, Mike Deodato, Jr).
In addition to some preview pages for the issue with what seems to be Osborn in the Savage Land looking for something, the cover pays homage to the famous Uncle Sam poster as he points his index finger to the reader saying, “I want you!” as individuals covered in shadows stand in the distance.
While talking to USA Today at the time about “New Avengers” 16.1, which led into #18, Bendis explained what makes this team of Dark Avengers as justified and interesting as their predecessors. “…the Dark Avengers are not villainous in that they rob banks, Bendis says. ‘They have a very specific worldview like Magneto or Doctor Doom.’”
Even though the issue arrives in stores today, looking at the cover just leads to more fan speculation. However, if one of the new Dark Avengers is easy to spot it would have to be the tall, muscular character that looks like the Hulk’s son, Skaar.
This idea becomes a bit more concrete by looking at the preview pages for “New Avenges” #18 and seeing the pale green Skaar in the same area that Norman is encountering dinosaurs.
Now, when it comes to fan commentary on the introduction of a new team of Dark Avengers, some have allowed their mind to ponder what this will not only be like, but mean for the Marvel Universe.
In a post on ifanboy.com, Josh Flanagan wrote, “…it looks like they’re dipping a toe back into the world of Dark Reign. This is interesting, because while there was certainly a Norman Osborn overload, with him being the antagonist in a lot of comics, it also felt like there was some more closure to be explored by the end. Maybe this will be that? Maybe it will be fun?”
Osborn doesn’t return to his old ways just to get some fresh air or take a break from work. He’s all about having a mission and doing whatever possible to make that happen even if it means disregarding his sanity. Well, it seems that fans won’t have to wait much longer as they get to see what else this madman has up his Green Goblin sleeve as he sets his sights on the Avengers. New Dark Avengers assemble!
“New Avengers” #18 arrives in store today and costs $3.99.