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Dark Avengers #11: Review

Jan 2010
Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Dark Avengers #11 Review by (January 23, 2018)
Greg Horn painted the pages with Norman Osborn as Spider-Man and Green Goblin, and also Molecule Man's confrontation with Sentry.

Molecule Man was friends with the real Beyonder in Secret Wars II. Enchantress was with him and lots of other villains in SW I, but I don't believe they were close. And I don't think he's ever met the real Mephisto and Zarathos.

Previous versions of MM's early life have had him living in Brooklyn. Now his history gets amended to born in Dinosaur, moved to Brooklyn.

Norman Osborn was of course Spider-Man's arch-foe (the 1st) Green Goblin. He caused Gwen Stacy's death on the George Washington Bridge in Amazing SM #121. She appears here pregnant because it will later (ASM#509-514) be revealed that she had an affair with Norman and gave birth to 2 twins (while she was away in Europe between ASM #93 and #98).

MM thinks he's met Ares before, but I can't figure out where.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Dark Avengers #11 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
We begin with a flashback to 3 years ago where Victoria Hand is a Business Affairs Operative in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Washington base. She is sparring in the gym with her lover and fellow-Agent Isabelle. Isabelle is trying to talk Victoria out of sending a note to big boss Nick Fury telling him how much money he's been spending in years fighting Hydra and A.I.M. and never actually defeating them.

A week later she does attach the note to the quarterly budget. Fury is not impressed. (We see him in the SHIELD helicarrier HQ with Dum Dum Dugan, probably Val de Fontaine and some say Sharon Carter.) Victoria gets transferred to Portland, Oregon and Isabelle breaks off their relationship.

Now Ms Hand is Norman Osborn's right-hand woman in SHIELD's replacement H.A.M.M.E.R. and she's currently commanding *their* helicarrier HQ because Iron Patriot (NO) and the rest of the Dark Avengers have just disappeared over the little town of Dinosaur, Colorado.

Sort-of inside the town naked Norman faces a menacing group led by a man who introduces himself as Owen Reece called the Molecule Man. Osborn doesn't know him, but *he*'s been monitoring the goings on in the outside world. Owen explains to the confused man that he controls all the molecules around himself, and so controls local reality. Osborn came here so he's now in Owen's world.

Norman is beginning to recover his composure and tries to strike a deal, expecting to come out on top as usual. He asks Owen what he and his friends want. The friends (Beyonder, Enchantress, Mephisto and Zarathos) say Molecule Man created them to be his companions. But Reece insists that everything here is still real, just reality controlled by him.

NO now tries to take over the initiative. He insists that Reece let him and his team go, and come out into the real world to discuss terms. Owen says he doesn't mean to threaten anyone, he just wants to be left alone in this piece of the world he claims for himself. Osborn responds that this is part of the USA, and the people he has abducted are US citizens.

Molecule Man says he could easily kill Norman but he's not going to. Because if he did then they'd just send more foes against him, and he'd have to kill *them*. And eventually they'd send Reed Richards who would find some way to capture him. Osborn suggests he move somewhere outside the US then he could leave him alone. But Reece says this is where he grew up, so *this* is his home.

Osborn again demands to be freed with his team and other captives. Molecule Man says NO should still be afraid of him - there are worse things than death. And Osborn is sent away ...

... to reappear dressed as Spider-Man (minus the face mask) apparently on top of a pillar of the George Washington Bridge in New York, facing a pregnant Gwen Stacy. He backs away and falls off the bridge into the river. He hears Owen Reece's voice saying he knows all about Norman. His brain is made of molecules so MM can read all his secrets, and control what he perceives.

The scene changes and NO is now Green Goblin facing a horde of heroes who are all out to get him. (We clearly see Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and Wolverine.) The voiceover claims that everyone expects him to fail in his current position of power, even those who supposedly support him. (The characters we see now are Ares, presumably the Mac Gargan/Venom Spider-Man and I guess his own Iron Patriot armour.) Everyone expects his fragile psyche to eventually snap, and MM intends to hurry the process along.

In the helicarrier Deputy Director Victoria Hand is trying to stem the rising panic in her subordinates (and in herself). The main suggestion she's hearing is to wipe the town off the map before whatever got the Avengers gets them. But she says she's working on an alternative.

Molecule Man meanwhile has turned his attention to the Sentry, who is now in an unstable state in what looks like the High School sports arena. Owen says he can't figure out what Sentry is made of - he doesn't 'taste' like any molecules he's experienced before. Bob Reynolds says he won't attack Reece if he lets him go, but Owen can't believe that because Osborn sent Sentry here to kill him. And he tears Sentry apart again, with regret because they could have been friends.

Spider-Man (Venom (Mac Gargan)) is running through the town pleading for help (his current medications have made him a wimp) when MM rips the Venom symbiote away from Gargan. And the symbiote turns on its 'master' and consumes him. And then dissolves into a puddle.

Next he visits Ms Marvel (Moonstone) in a cave. He tells her it took him a while to work out that this new set of Avengers he saw on the news were really villains pretending to be heroes. He tries to talk to Karla Sofen but she lashes out at him. So he leaves her in pain.

Wolverine's son Daken is in the vegetable aisle of a supermarket. He's being consumed from within by vegetation. MM realises that it isn't working because of the healing factor Akihiro inherited from his father. So Owen ups the attack and Daken is burst open by vegetable growth.

Then MM visits Ares who is now frozen like a statue in what is probably a simulacrum of his own apartment. But now he has to decide what to do with the 'heroes'. He has to send them back or Richards will come for him. But sending them back as they are now will be just as bad.

Enchantress and Zarathos appear and try to convince Owen to run away (as Osborn suggested). If he lets these Avengers go they'll *kill* him because they're not really heroes. Suddenly they're out in the main street, and joined by Beyonder and Mephisto. We discover what MM has done to Hawkeye (Bullseye). He turned him into water, but this is now seething, angry water.

The 4 continue to urge Reece to kill the Avengers and run away. Owen doesn't want to do it but they suggest that's because he secretly *wants* to be punished for the people he's killed. MM weakly protests that he was protecting his *home*.

Then Victoria Hand walks into town and surrenders to him on behalf of the USA.

Mike Deodato Jr.
Mike Deodato Jr.
Rainier Beredo
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Penciler)
Mike Deodato Jr. (Cover Inker)
Rainier Beredo (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)

(Karla Sofen)

(Mac Gargan)

Plus: H.A.M.M.E.R., Victoria Hand.

> Dark Avengers: Book info and issue index

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