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Dark Avengers #12: Review

Feb 2010
Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato Jr.

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Dark Avengers #12 Review by (January 23, 2018)
Greg Horn paints some pages again: Norman Osborn being dropped by Spider-Man, and Sentry reconstituting himself.

Loki has been manipulating things for a while (while pretending to be part of Osborn's Cabal) to drive Norman back into madness.

As it says here you can't actually kill Molecule Man. But he won't be back until his major role in Secret Wars III and it's build-up starting in New Avengers (2013) #24.

Next issue will be part of Siege, which ends Norman Osborn's Dark Reign. But the Marvel Chronology Project has to fit a lot more in before that, including our Annual. I'll run through here everything up to that point.

Norman Osborn does Avengers Initiative business in AvI#29 and the 1st half of #31, including asking Taskmaster to join his shrinking Cabal.
The whole team is in New Avengers #56-60 where the NAv fight them and Hood's gang. Loki gives Hood replacement powers using the Norn Stones.
NO oversees the Thunderbolts #134-136/Secret Warriors #7-9 crossover during which 'Black Widow II' is exposed as Black Widow I, Natasha Romanova. Ares and Bullseye are involved too.
NO, Moonstone and Venom attend a 1-year anniversary vigil for Captain America in CA#600/2 which leads into the CA:Reborn limited series where NO, Ares and Venom also appear.
NO's back in TB#137 where the 'Bolts capture Iron Fist and Luke Cage, but they escape.
Everyone piles into the next 2 issues:- Dark Reign: The List: Avengers where Ronin invades Avengers Tower and gets captured but ...the NAv women rescue him in NAv An#3.
In DR:L: Daredevil NO sends Bullseye against DD, now leader of the Hand.
And in DR:L: X-Men he sends Sentry to Utopia Island after the Cabal traitors Emma Frost and Sub-Mariner.
In DR:L: Secret Warriors NO and Nick Fury combine forces to uncover the threat of Leviathon (to be continued in SecWarr issues). Ares lets NF in to Avengers Tower and helps him escape from NO afterwards. Bullseye also appears.
Then in DR:L: Punisher NO sends Daken after Pu, and he cuts Pu to pieces. (He'll be rebuilt as FrankenCastle in the following issues of his own mag.)
In DR:L: Hulk NO sends Moonstone and Victoria Hand after Bruce Banner and his son Skaar. They poison BB with gamma radiation. (Bad move, this will eventually make him Hulk again.) Daken's here too.
In SecWarr#10 NF gives Ares his son Alex back so he can be confirmed with the title Phobos, God of Fear. (This includes flashbacks to tie together previous Ares/NF interactions.)
In Dark Wolverine #78-80 NO tries to improve Daken's public image. Moonstone's in this as well.
Ares has another solo app in Wolverine: Origins #44 where he's sent to stop Wo breaking Ruby Thursday out of the Raft.
NO's last app before DAv An#1 is DR:L: Wolverine where Wo and Marvel Boy defend the Weapon Plus facility called The World against HAMMER.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Dark Avengers #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In his private hell inside his mind controlled by Molecule Man we see Norman Osborn, his business suit shredding to reveal the Green Goblin costume beneath,  being hauled through the sky by a savage Spider-Man and his webbing. As the victim demands to be released because he's *Norman Osborn*, Spidey drops him from an impossible height to the city below ...

... and Osborn wakes naked (again) on a hard floor.

Molecule Man is outside in Dinosaur, Colorado with his imaginary friends Beyonder, Enchantress, Mephisto and Zarathos. Osborn's Deputy Director of H.A.M.M.E.R. Victoria Hand has just come to surrender on behalf of the USA. Owen Reece seemingly obliterated Iron Patriot (NO) and his Dark Avengers (#10) without any effort so it's no use fighting him.

Ms Hand now goes through nearly the same conversation Osborn had last issue. She asks what MM and his friends want - he says to be left alone here. She asks why here - because it's where he was born. She says OK as long as he releases the Avengers and all the others. Owen asks what others - Victoria mentions the 44 people who've gone missing around here recently, plus the original inhabitants of the town.

During this conversation Reece has used his power over molecules to dissolve her weapons and body armour, leaving her in her underwear. She asks him to stop there as she's clearly unarmed now. But Owen has stopped anyway as he seems  frozen by the thought of the people she mentioned. Victoria tentatively asks if they're dead - but gets no reply.

She restarts the dialogue by repeating that if he does the right thing they'll leave him alone. But Owen thinks they'll try to kill him as usual. Victoria asks if they've ever succeeded and MM has to admit that they haven't. Ms Hand presses her advantage by claiming that if they can't make a deal then HAMMER will nuke the town. Maybe he'll survive but his town won't.

Now, as at various earlier times, his 'friends' offer conflicting advice. Some of it involving death or worse for the woman before them.

Meanwhile in the High School gym the disincorporated Sentry rebuilds himself molecule by molecule.

And Victoria Hand finds herself in Molecule Man's throneroom, decorated with a skulls and serpents motif, alongside Norman Osborn's naked body where we left him at the start of this issue. She's worried why he's not moving. MM explains that he rearranged a few molecules in NO's brain (to give him the hallucinations he suffered through last issue). He's put them back in the right place now, but it's up to Norman to deal with the consequences.

Before Reece can counter Ms Hand's angry response he's struck by a bolt of energy. Sentry is back and pissed off. But you don't kill Molecule Man that easy, and he takes the battle into the sky. And tears the hero apart again.

Victoria drags Osborn's limp body under the shelter of a mastodon statue. She tries to contact the HAMMER helicarrier to order them to retreat, but can't get through. A fighter jet fires a missile at the M-Man, but he disintegrates it and the plane. Norman chooses this moment to wake up and Victoria tells him what's happening. (Including that the surrender offer was just a stalling tactic.)

Luckily Sentry is getting better at controlling molecules himself. He's quickly reintegrated and now has Owen Reece in distorted agony. And his control is now such that Owen can't undo the effects. He persuades Reece to restore everything (the Dark Avengers and the town of Dinosaur) back to what it should be.

We see Dinosaur with it's restored population (and presumably the 44 strangers who wandered in). As an example of the Avengers we see Ares restored from statue form in whatever apartment he was in last issue. Then Sentry disintegrates Molecule Man.

Communication with the helicarrier is back, and Ms Hand orders them to stand down. Norman Osborn is back in control (but still without his clothes so MM didn't put *everything* back as it was). And the Dark Avengers (Ares, Daken, Hawkeye (Bullseye), Ms Marvel (Moonstone) and Venom (Mac Gargan)) gather together.

Sentry descends to Earth and explains that he has realised that his power has always worked by controlling molecules of the world (just like Molecule Man). But now he knows he can do so many more things with it. Also, he can't die.

Norman warns him about falling into the solipsistic trap Owen Reece did. Karla Sofen (MsM) offers her psychiatric counselling to deal with his new powers. But for now she just wants to thank Bob Reynolds for saving them all. Sentry just decides to fly home. When he's gone Karla warns Norman that if he's not controlled he could be worse than Scarlet Witch (and what she did in Avengers Disassembled and House of M).

Back at Avengers Tower Victoria goes down to Norman's basement lab. At 1st the door refuses her access (like it did in #9). But this time Osborn opens the door (clad in his Iron Patriot armour but at least this time with the helmet off). He wants to be alone but she insists. She's worried about his mental state after Molecule Man fiddled with his brain. After all he does have a history of mental illness. She suggests a psychiatric evaluation. He reluctantly sees she's right, but won't let *Moonstone* do it.

Back inside his room he collapses, fighting an inner struggle with part of him that wants to take his face off (to reveal the inner Green Goblin?). And behind him we see Loki.

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)

(Loki Laufeyson)

(Karla Sofen)

(Mac Gargan)

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

> Dark Avengers: Book info and issue index

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