So, with the recent announcement of Marvel’s upcoming SIEGE event, I decided that now was the time to finally get caught up on as many of the “important” books (read: the ones written by Bendis) from the current Dark Reign storyline as possible. See, I dropped almost all of my Marvel purchases when Dark Reign began. Not that I wasn’t interested in the storyline, or that I didn’t like Secret Invasion, which began it all, but more that it seemed like a huge commitment at a time when I was trying to cut back on comics.
So, in deciding that now was the time to catch up on my Marvel (it’s scary how little in the Marvel Universe I’ve actually read since Secret Invasion), I figured the best place to start was in what’s really Marvel’s flagship title, New Avengers. I picked up the hardcover book named Power, which collects Secret Invasion: Dark Reign (the one-shot that started it all), and New Avengers #48-50. It really seemed liked kind of a high price ($19.99) to pay for only FOUR comics, but ultimately, Dark Reign and New Avengers #50 were longer-than-average comics. Not technically a full 6 comics in this book, but still I didn’t really feel ripped off.
Mild spoilers on from this point, and after the jump.
In Secret Invasion: Dark Reign, we get an extra long conversation, essentially, as Norman Osborn puts together his Cabal. I’d read this issue before, but it was nice to be able to catch up from the bgining again. The Cabal consists of Normie, Emma Frost, The Hood, Doc Doom, Loki, and Namor. While I really do enjoy this issue, the portrayal of Namor in it has always bugged me. For the king of the ocean (isn’t that what he is?), he sure acts like a scuzzbucket. He doesn’t seem regal at all – in fact, he seems like a bit of a horny dolt. However, the characterization of everyone else in the book is SPOT ON, especially Dr. Doom. It’s clear from the very beginning that things are going to fall apart very, very badly as the group is one thin ice immediately, and ol’ Normie kills one of his ex-Thunderbolts out of anger for questioning his reign. Overall, not a bad book, and it fits well as a companion piece to the New Avengers: Illuminati special that precluded Civil War.
After the one-shot, we get back to the action in New Avengers, which picks up directly after the final battle in Secret Invasion, where Jessica Jones finds out that her daughter (with Luke Cage) has been kidnapped by the Skrulls. Issues #48 and 49 turn into a kind of epilogue to Secret Invasion, wrapping up some of the outstanding plot threads about Spider-Woman, the other returning heroes, the kidnapping, and the reamaining Skrulls. To get his daughter back, Luke Cage makes a deal with Norman Osborn that proves VERY effective, as, an issue later, the family are reunited, and all it took was Venom munching on a couple of Skrulls to make it happen. Just as everything gets happy hunky-dory, someone turns on the TV…just in time to see Norman Osborn announce his new Avengers team to the world.
More than anybody, Hawkeye gets all kindsa pissed off, and wants to bring the fight to the new, “dark” Avengers. So they try to play a trick on ol’ Normie but, well, they just did a similar kinda trick, so he knows they’re not exactly trustworthy. Instead of meeting them in battle, he sends a ton of super villains to take them on. Honestly, as good as these issues were, I was a little bummed to see that the cover reflected a battle I didn’t see inside the book. Still, that’s Bendis for you – doing the unexpected.
This is definitely the place to start with your Dark Reign reading, and I picked up the first collection of Dark Avengers to follow up this one. A great follow up to Secret Invasion, and a good quality storyline to get you set up for what’s coming. Though, the price is a bit steep – if you can find it cheaper (like on Amazon), or pick up the individual issues, do so. Recommended.