Comic Book: Dark Avengers
After Secret Invasion
, Iron Man
, who had previously taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. from Nick Fury
, was upstaged by Norman Osborn
, aka the Green Goblin, who was given control over super human affairs as "top cop"
in the Marvel Universe
. Osborn disbanded S.H.I.E.L.D.
, remade it as H.A.M.M.E.R., and decided to hand pick his own team of "public image superheroes", crafting what would be known as Dark Avengers as the result: super-criminals who assumed the codenames and costumes of heroic predecessors. The team, with the majority of the members carried over from Osborn's time leading the Thunderbolts
- Hawkeye (the psychotic assassin Bullseye, aka Lester),
- Ms. Marvel (the arch-manipulator Moonstone, aka Karla Sofen),
- Captain Marvel (the alien terrorist Marvel Boy, aka Noh-Varr),
- Wolverine (Logan's amoral snake-of-a-son, Daken),
- Spider-Man (the original Scorpion, aka Mac Gargan, at the time the 3rd incarnation of Venom),
- Ares (The Blood Knight brother of Hercules) and,
- The Sentry (a god-like being who is also his own worst enemy), the last two as themselves.
They were led by Iron Patriot (Norman Osborn himself, in a repainted Iron Man
suit). Together They Fought Crime
... kinda. The series lasted for 16 issues (March, 2009-July, 2010)
The team were disbanded along with H.A.M.M.E.R. after the events of Siege
, when Osborn was imprisoned for his crimes during Dark Reign
. Another team of Dark Avengers was put together after the events of Fear Itself
, when Osborn was broken out of jail, and the new team was formed and funded by a combination of A.I.M., Hydra, the Hand, and Osborn's restarted H.A.M.M.E.R. Their goal was to overthrow the current status quo in the super community, namely, the self-appointed authority of the Avengers. And, like last time, Osborn would lead them. However, two in the group already had mutiny on their minds and they were defeated by The Avengers
. The second team included:
- Hawkeye (Hawkeye's criminal brother Trickshot, aka Barney Barton),
- Ms. Marvel (the super-powered misandrist Superia, aka Deidre Wentworth),
- Scarlet Witch (the sociopathic geneticist, June Covington),
- Wolverine (the undead swordsman, Gorgon),
- Spider-Man (a South American chimera god, Ai Apaec),
- Hulk (Hulk's half-alien son, Skaar) and,
- Thor (Thor's Axe Crazy cyborg clone, Ragnarok).
As of issue 175, Thunderbolts
underwent a Re Tool
introducing some of the second Dark Avengers roster into the cast, as well as renaming the book to Dark Avengers, this setup lasted 15 issues was ended on with issue 190 the final issue of the run.
This series provides example of...
- Aborted Arc: Despite a big fuss being made about the New Dark Avengers, they were completely curbstomped in one issue. Hell, Norman, who got absorbing powers, was defeated when all the Avengers touched him. Not blast, beat, or trap, they just touched him and he melted down.
- Well, that's the problem of being a Super-Adaptoid. Absorbing too much power at once could only get him fried. Besides, it's not like the writers were going for another year-long hero witchhunt, considering that Avengers vs. X-Men was just around the corner...
- Anything That Moves: Daken, Daken, Daken.
- Avengers Assemble: Averted. Norman says "Avengers... You know. Get them together."
- Ax-Crazy: Almost all of them, but especially the Sentry and Norman Osborn.
- You know you're in trouble when most of your team is either on meds or seeing a therapist. You know you're in REAL trouble when the actual licensed therapist on the team is herself an amoral puppetmaster and sociopathic killer.
- Badass Normal: Bullseye. Compared to the rest of the team, he's very underpowered but still amazingly talented at what he does and completely lacking remorse.
- Victoria Hand also qualifies. Although not superpowered at all, she's rarely intimidated by the likes of Moonstone, Venom or Bullseye, and actually called Osborn out on his erratic behavior a couple times. She was also not intimidated by Banner and his son Skaar.
- Batman Gambit: Daken pulls off a nice one in his own title when he successfully manipulates the Fantastic Four into facing off against Osborn, weakening Osborn's own position while earning the Fantastic Four's trust. He comes out smelling like a rose, while Bullseye, who rightfully suspects what Daken is up to, comes off looking like a paranoid maniac.
- Book Ends: Mighty Avengers began with Iron Man decommissioning the old helicarrier and replacing it with one of his own design. What does Dark Avengers begin with? Norman Osborn decommissioning the Stark helicarrier.
- Breath Weapon: June Covington starts out being able to exhale Deadly Gas.
- The Chessmaster: Osborn, though he's not as good as he thinks he is.
- Costume Copycat: Norman has several team members (Moonstone, Venom) adopting the identities of more well-known heroes who wouldn't cooperate (Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man), trusting that the remaining paranoia of Skrull imposters will prevent the originals from objecting — or doing anything about it.
- Spider-Man actually takes advantage of this by posing as Venom.
- Depraved Bisexual: Daken personifies this trope.
- Depraved Homosexual: Averted with Victoria Hand who manages to be one of the few halfway decent people on the team (along with Noh-Varr and Ares).
- Evil Is Petty: In his miniseries, Venom goes AWOL against Osborn's orders and starts a gang war to mess with Mayor J. Jonah Jameson's ratings, and then vomits a half-digested squirrel onto Dexter Bennet's desk as revenge for an unflattering article in the Daily Bugle.
- The latter becomes a Brick Joke in the Siege of Asgard when Spider-Man (Peter Parker) comments with Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers) that "because of Mac Gargan, half of New York thinks I eat squirrels."
- Eviler Than Thou: Inverted. Venom took the time to answer some letters during his Dark Reign tie-in.
: I know I'm not the nicest guy on the Earth
, but try to compare me with the rest of my team. Daken has to kill four people per day to count it as good, Bullseye once killed a kitty that got struck on a tree just to prove he can
, Norman seduced his son's girlfriend, and Ares is the fricking GOD OF WAR
. Next to them I'm looking like Tom Hanks
- Evil Versus Evil: The team's first mission? Saving Doctor Doom from Morgana Le Fay.
- Hikikomori: Lindy Lee, the Sentry's wife, spends most of her time curled up in her bed. The Sentry, being who he is, doesn't seem to understand why.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Venom. Though that's more the symbiote than the man.
- Improbable Weapon User: Bullseye's entire schtick is that he can use seemingly harmless objects, such as paper clips, to kill using his freakishly accurate aim.
- It's All About Me: Morgana Le Fay attacks Doctor Doom, thinking he snubbed her, when in fact he'd been imprisoned by the Avengers. Morgana never once considers that his absence could have been the result of anything other than a plan to insult her.
- It's Personal: Osborn saw fit to threaten Luke Cage's wife and child. Bad move... or possibly a very good one, since Cage went into Unstoppable Rage mode the next time they met, while Osborn was able to keep his cool.
- Karma Houdini: In the final issue of the first series, everyone gets what they had coming, everyone except Daken who escapes scot-free.
- Victoria Hand appears to avoid punishment, but being assigned to the New Avengers certainly isn't a pleasant role for her. Not because she doesn't want to, but because no one there trusts her (especially Jessica Jones and Spider-Man, and especially after the fiasco with Superia where Mockingbird nearly got killed); they just tolerate her because Steve Rogers put her there.
- Love Is in the Air: Daken's mind-control pheromone powers make resisting him next to impossible.
- Manipulative Bastard: Osborn, Daken.
- The Mole: From the members of the new team, Skaar is actually under orders from Captain America.
- No Medication for Me: Averted; Gargan was even benched in one arc when it was clear he was having an adverse reaction to his medication.
- Only Sane Man: Ms. Hand is clearly the only sane person out of all of these guys. Not that that's hard mind you, but still...
- Marvel Boy and Ares try as well. Venom thinks he's one but...no.
- Poisonous Person: June Covington, initially.
- Powered Armor: Iron Patriot
- Psycho for Hire: Bullseye and Daken.
- Venom may or may not be. His relationship to Osborn was originally contractual in the Spider-Man books. By the time they joined the Thunderbolts, Venom had a more casual relationship with Norm than the other T-Bolts. It's possible that Venom may be legitimately loyal to Osborn, for not treating him as a "second stringer".
- Re Power: As of the retitled Dark Avengers, June Covington can modify herself to change her powers.
- Redemption Equals Death: Ares realises that Loki has been on Osborn's side, not Asgard's, and charges him. Then Sentry rips him/his ribcage (hard to tell, probably a good thing) in half
- Reverse Mole: Skaar for the second team. Cap knew Osborn would try to get to him, seeing as he's not-quite-Hulk (well, he's the big green's son, so yeah), so he got to Skaar first without Osborn knowing.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Noh-Varr jumps ship early on when he finds out he's been siding with a psycho. It takes an one-night stand with Moonstone followed by them watching Osborn's interview on TV (and Karla commenting on how ridiculous he looks playing the victim) for him to connect the dots.
- Serial Killer: Lester, Venom, and Daken to varying degrees.
- Don't forget Osborn. As the Green Goblin, he fit the bill better than anyone.
- June Covington, known as Toxie Doxie.
- "Shut Up" Kiss: In Dark Wolverine #84, Daken and Bullseye.
- Smug Snake: Daken's "greatest fear" is that he's one of these. During his Siege tie-in, the Fates identify him as the bringer of Ragnarok and attempt to sway him to their side by first showing him illusions of his "greatest desires" - like killing Iron Patriot and a world in chaos - and then, after he tells them that no one controls him, by showing him his worst fears: he tries to manipulate the loyalty of his team by saving their asses and telling them they're awesome, but Hawkeye instead tells him he can go to hell and Iron Patriot is the one to rouse everyone back up. Daken does not respond well to this.
- Osborn as well. He's smart, but nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is.
- Well, arguably, he is exactly as smart as he thinks he is, maybe even smarter. He has Super Intelligence after all, or chemically enhanced genius-level intelligence at least, and he was highly intelligent even before that. It's just that he's so selfish and messed up and genuinely mentally ill that he fails to put it to proper use. He's his own worst enemy.
- Stuffed In The Fridge: Lindy Lee.
- Stupid Sexy Daken
- Super-Powered Evil Side: Osborn's Green Goblin side continually acts up. He also brainwashes the Sentry into giving control over to the Void.
- Token Good Teammate: On the first team, Ms. Hand, Noh-Varr, and possibly Ares. Two of them eventually turned on Osborn.
- On the second team, Skaar.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted; most of the team was seeing a therapist.
- UST: Between Daken and the rest of the cast, most notably the Love Triangle developing between him, Karla, and Lester. Well, more like a lust-hate-obsession triangle, but still.
- Villain Protagonist: The entire cast.
- Yawn and Reach: Hilariously, Mac tries this on Daken, but chickens out at the last second. Daken responds by reaching between Mac's legs... and taking a handful of popcorn from the bag Mac has sitting on his lap.