By: Jeff Parker (Writer) Neil Edwards (Artist), Chris Sotomayor (Colorist)

The Story: June Covington discovers more about the strange world she is in while this world’s version of Doctor Strange uses Moonstone and Skaar for his devious plans.

The Review: If there is one thing that Jeff Parker excels at, it’s writing smaller and lesser-known character, some of them unpopular and making them great. He’s done so during his run on Thunderbolts with various characters, but most prominently with General Thunderbolt Ross in Hulk. He can create wholly original stories set to those characters, making us root for them although there are several reasons why we shouldn’t in the first place. It is a pity however that he cannot seem to do the same with the Dark Avengers so far, as there is most assuredly potential here for him to work with. A bunch of unknown, almost blank slates characters just there for the grab, ready to be developed by someone with the talent and attitude to do so. The problem here, I do believe, lies in the pacing.

This issue, like the last one, reveal much more details about the world the Dark Avengers are in. What is revealed to us is actually fascinating, as Manhattan is the only place left for civilization, where heroes have divided into districts as they are fighting for territories amongst themselves. Both the discussions about the heroes and what is shown to us makes for an ideal playground for these characters to develop in, but so far the team is not even formed yet, with most of the members still comatose.
This issue has the same problems as some of the Red She-Hulk issues Parker has written, with the focus not being on the title characters, but rather on how they have altered some of the things here by their simple presence. It leads to some interesting scenes, but overall it makes me eager to actually see the team form, build a dynamic and get into action and see how they will further affect this world not by them being here but by what they do.What we do get of some of the characters, notably June Covington, Moonstone and Skaar is fun to read, but it is ever so brief as we get much more panels and pages focusing on the who’s who of this world. It is important to build a conflict and a situation, but some action from the title characters would be nice.

What pretty nice, although, is Neil Edward’s rapidly improving art. When he began to draw in the last issues featuring the Thunderbolts ground lost in time, I had trouble with his art, but now it’s beginning to grow on me, showing us he can draw a really cool-looking version of Ben Grimm in this chaotic world. If there’s one thing that can be said about Neil Edwards, it’s that he draws terrific machines and monsters. Also nice would be the colors by Chris Sotomayor, who are positively groovy in the Doctor Strange scenes, yet very cold in the scenes involving Hank Pym lab. It’s those small touches that make you see how a good colorist works.

The Conclusion: This is a nice issue with some very good concepts and ever-improving art that could manage to get some more focus on the team that is titling the series.

Grade: B-

Hugo Robberts Larivière