Dark Avengers #11: The Dead Avengers?!
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