By Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Mike Deodato (Art), and Rain Beredo (Colors)

Some Thoughts Before The Review: With Utopia out of the way, I fully expect Dark Avengers to get back to being a favorite of mine. With a kick-ass cover and the promise of a guest appearance from Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Warriors, it’s a pretty safe bet that Dark Avengers #9 will deliver.

The Story: Ares discovers that his son, Phobos, isn’t exactly heading off to school during the day. Meanwhile, something strange is going on at Avengers Tower while some of the Dark Avengers chat it up about funny heroes.

What’s Good And What’s Not So Good: Before I really get into the review, I have to first toss out a quick suggestion: Do yourself a favor and try to ignore the cool image on the cover of Dark Avengers #9. While Ares goes on a little rampage and some stuff is destroyed, Brian Michael Bendis (I almost want to say, “as usual”) opts to let dialogue do almost all of the work in the latest issue of Dark Avengers. Is this a bad thing? Turns out, it’s not at all.

Bendis’ decision to let words bring resolution to an explosive situation works extremely well because of how the scene plays out. It gives the characters involved a little extra depth and goes a long way towards humanizing a character that, most recently, has been little more than muscle in superhero battles. I do, however, have one major issue with the dialogue in regards to how Phobos is portrayed. Bendis handles him as though he is a normal kid afraid of his father. While that works as far as what’s happening is concerned, Bendis’ take on Phobos seems to go against what Jonathan Hickman is doing with the character. It’s hard to really call what Bendis does a negative, but it is something that must be mentioned.

So the Ares/Fury/Phobos scene is pretty great. Thankfully, the rest of the book doesn’t disappoint. The exchange at Avengers Tower is something really close to hilarious, and the weird stuff happening left me thinking “WTF!?” in a good way. In short, it’s clear that the series is back on track and I really couldn’t be much happier. That said, I do wish that the Dark Avengers would stop being stuck as the supporting characters in their own series. I buy Dark Avengers to read about the Dark Avengers damnit…

The artwork in Dark Avengers #9 is, as expected, moody, gritty, and impressive all around. The unfortunate thing is that there really isn’t a whole lot of ways for Mike Deodato and Rain Beredo to show off given the script. The characters look good and the emotion on display certainly works, but it’s clear that neither artist is really being put to the test.

Conclusion: Dark Avengers fans… it’s safe to come back to the series now.

Grade: B+

-Kyle Posluszny