DARK AVENGERS #175
Written by Jeff Parker
Art by Declan Shalvey
Release Date: June 6, 2012
Well, now. This isn’t Thunderbolts…but it sure feels like the Thunderbolts book I have loved under the tenure of Jeff Parker, and I am happy to say it has all of the fantastic qualities Thunderbolts has possessed during Parker’s run. This is the most unpredictable and dynamic team book in comics and month after month Parker finds a way to surprise and entertain me. While the roster has changed somewhat with the introduction of Dark Avengers, that is part of what has made this book great. Parker keeps this title from being stagnant by introducing us to despicable, yet entertaining new members and writing them with razor sharp wit. I loathe some of these prisoners, yet I can’t help but find them entertaining in this book and I know, without a doubt, that I will grow to consider some of these cons as great heroes by the end of this arc. Parker’s Cage, Songbird, and Mach V are excellent in this issue: hard nosed characters who have seen it all and are phased by nothing. Parker has really made these characters his own and appears to be extremely comfortable with this title. He is in his wheelhouse here and we get to reap the rewards.
And Parker isn’t alone in this wheelhouse as Declan Shalvey is amazing in this book. Thunderbolts has been one of the most consistent books for a very long time under the stewardship of Shalvey and Walker and Dark Avengers looks to continue in that vein. The characters in this issue are dynamic and even though they are dopplegangers of well known heroes, Shalvey gives each a very unique identity. The simple mannerisms penciled in this issue drive home the nature of this book: these are the highest powered cons yet and this is the highest stakes team so far. Shalvey is a great fit for the story Parker is telling and they are a duo that is in sync and on fire.
This is a great jumping on point for anyone looking to get in on this run, which should be anyone who likes good comics. ‘Nuff said.