Dark Avengers stopped sucking when it stopped being Dark Avengers
After 4 annoying issues, it turns out
Dark AvengersThunderbolts is still capable of being a good book. Due in part to the return of the characters people actually care about: Songbird and MACH-V. Oh, and John Walker too.
Although I don't care for the Dark Avengers, it's interesting to see just how much Parker is beginning to fit into these issues. Some writers barely cover anything in an issue - but there's four plots going on here! The Dark Avengers are off on some non-descript and still unenlightening mission, Luke Cage and Skaar are following them, the Thunderbolts are lost in time and the real Thunderbolts and Walker are trying to uncover what the stereotypical evil government are up to. I kinda liked this issue and it's pretty shallow to say so just when Songbird, Abe and Walker have returned but it's true. Dark Avengers stopped sucking when it stopped being Dark Avengers.
I believe this is Kev Walker's final issue, which he shares credit with newcomer Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Walker's work, who drew the time-travelling Thunderbolts parts of this issue, is a back-to-form. He's kinda been up-and-down since he started sharing the duties with Declan (whom I believe left last issue). Some of Walker's panels this time around make me sad to see him go, especially when the book is looking as if it might stop being awful. New artist Gabriel Walta's work on the other hand didn't win me over. In my humble opinion, it just wasn't very good. People looked like depressed Lego toys. I found Songbird's head is now hideously shaped with regards to her equally as hideous new hairdo. It's very childish and poor art. It's like an artist who's only ever seen John Romita Jr. art and has aspired to draw blocks and scribbles just like he does. And then it's inked and colored in a manner to evoke feelings of Declan Shalvey or Kev Walker's art and... golly, it's just poor. I do hope this guy isn't going to be sticking around unless he suddenly dramatically improves.
So as a whole, Thunderbolts #179 is probably the best issue since the relaunch but despite my positivity towards this issue, it still had it's problems. Jeff seems to be taking Ragnarok into incredibly predictable and uninteresting territory, Romita Jr. Jr.'s art is poor and - if you haven't read the Hulk of Arabia story from Hulk - I can't imagine too many people really understand what the hell is going on. But, at the end of the day, with any hope, if we get a new artist and the book continues on with being this standard it looks like it might not be such a painful wait until it's relaunched as Thunderbolts again in 20 issues time when it hits #200.