Dark Avengers #11, The Authority #3, and Batman Unseen #4 Reviewed!
Dark Avengers #11
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Mike Deodato and Greg Horn
I should start off by saying that this issue is really well structured. The fact that the story opens up by referencing Victoria Hand's position as a S.H.I.E.L.D. accountant three years ago is a perfect set up. By starting the issue this way, Bendis allows for two ongoing story lines to occur simultaneously that cross over into one another, but still manage to remain separate, and do not confuse the reader. Victoria Hand is presented as this very weak female character in the beginning of the story, and you can see the way she has evolved and been strengthened as a character over the course of the last three years. This issue is as much about Norman Osborn's assistant as it is about Norman himself. In this issue, Norman is tested by the Molecule Man, who can easily destroy Norman if he wished to, but doesn't. The plot reaches a climax in the beginning of the book, and then reverts, before ending on a high note once again.
Bendis writes a perfectly despicable and resentful Molecule Man, which is perfectly captured in his character narration. Probably the most powerful scene in the entire comic is the interaction between Norman and the Molecule Man, who seems ready and willing to aid Norman in his own psychological destruction. This interaction reinforces the idea that Norman is self destructive, and that in the end, he very well may be his own enemy. His psychological instability seems to be what will more than likely result in his own demise.
"The only thing I don't understand is...How long did you think you were going to have this job, anyhow? Everybody wants you to fail. Even the people who are rooting for you-- secretly they know what you are and they know what's going to happen to you...They're just waiting! When will he snap? Well, for my purposes, I can't wait. The sooner the better. And if I can help it along...all the better."
Scenes which Molecule Man clearly has the upper hand and has invaded Norman's mind are drawn by Greg Horn, while all other scenes are drawn by Mike Deodato, who has been the artist on the book throughout the entire series. The decision to bring on another artist with a completely different style for these specific scenes acts to further reinforce the shift in the story which makes for an interesting dynamic. Perhaps the reason I enjoyed this book so much is due to the Molecule Man's prominent role in the story, specifically because he seems like such an unlikely adversary. A fantastic issue overall, my only complaint is that the interaction that Molecule Man has with the rest of the Avengers (Sentry, Ms. Marvel, Daken...) seems rushed and could have been extended.
4 out of 5
Batman Unseen #4 of 5
Written by Doug Moench
Art by: Kelley Jones
Of all the Batman books out in the market now, this is definitely one of my favorites. Written specifically for fans of the Bruce Wayne Batman- sans the side-kick, this book returns the character to his detective roots and reads like an edge of your seat mystery thriller that has over the years, been what has made Batman so intriguing to so many fans. Everything from the style of the writing to the art aid in bringing the reader back to a dark and dreary bronze age Batman, which is exactly what makes this such an interesting read. Kelley Jones' abstract and dark artistic style likens to that of Frank Miller's artistry in ' The Dark Knight Returns.' The way that the narration acts as an internal monologue intertwines perfectly with the character dialogue. The story is organized effectively into chapters which distinguish the transition from one scene to the next similar to a novel. Perhaps it is the way the book is structured, or the fact that it is so well written and organized, but this book blew me away. Mind you, Bruce Wayne is also my favorite comic book character so I tend to be a bit biased...then again if I think that he is characterized well in this book, then chances most Batman fans will agree.
Note that this title is out of the continuity of the other bat-books. I recommend picking up the three previous issues before tackling this one so that you can get the most out of this story.
4 out of 5
The Authority: The Lost Year #3
Story by: Grant Morrison and Keith Giffen
Written by: Keith Giffen
Art by: Darick Robertson and Trevor Scott
There are few artists that can capture the fluidity of movement and still maintain a gritty style; Darick Robertson however does exactly that. The first four pages exemplify his personal artistic style to perfection. If you have not and are not planning on picking up the two previous issues of The Authority, then there is really no sense in getting this one because you may not grasp what is going on. The content is somewhat graphic and the art is suggestive in some scenes, but entertaining, nonetheless. The book maintains an interesting plot and story and is very well structured, but without an understanding of these individual characters it is near impossible to read. One thing is certain, these guys are a hell of a lot more interesting than the Justice League. The script is well organized which is evident in the artistry of the first four pages. I personally love a good fight scene without dialogue; it is a great example of the artist's talent. While it was a fun read, I did have some trouble being engaged throughout the entire story and it felt no different (to me) than reading any other super hero book.
3 out of 5