By: Jeff Parker (Writer), Mirco Pierfederici, Neil Edwards, (Artists), Chris Sotomayor (Colorist)

The Story: More shenanigans happen in this dark version of Manhattan as John Walker and the rest of the Dark Avengers gets up to speed on the situation.

The Review: It seems to me that Jeff Parker had pretty much the same problems on both of his Marvel titles lately, namely Red She-Hulk and Dark Avengers. Both those series have some great artists and some terrific concepts backing them up, but the past issues were only building some setup for the series to actually jump onto, creating a situation without actually involving the main player in any significant way until later. Red She-Hulk latest issue had gotten out of that unfortunate problem, but did the latest issue of Dark Avengers achieve the same objective?

I am glad to say that it actually has in some way. For the past issues, Jeff Parker has built a solid world with some great concepts and some terrific key players, but had not even involved the titular Dark Avengers in the growing conflict between the various factions. This all changes now that U.S.Agent, also known as John Walker, is back in business. With this key character now active, Jeff Parker focus a little bit more on the various Dark Avengers like Trickshot, June and Al Alpaec as he manages to give them a small group dynamic right from the start. Even though the group is still not fully functional and complete, it begins quite well, foreboding for some interesting interactions for the future of the title. What is also promising would be the fact that most of the setup seems to be done for now, as we know the factions and the key players now, with Jeff Parker giving us straight away a conflict and a deadline, raising the stakes right there. The way this issue ends, we may get some great action and some good John Walker moments like Jeff Parker did in the past.

A little thing that bugs me, though, would be that even though we finally get some focus on the Dark Avengers, there is still a little bit too many scenes dedicated to the world created by Parker. It is a fascinating world, but we have seen plenty of it already in the previous two issues, while we haven’t thoroughly gotten enough of the title characters since issue 184. If the ending is any indicator, we may finally see the team in action next issue.

One that can be seen in action right from the start would be the fill-in artist, Mirco Pierfederici, who does a good job mimicking Neil Edwards style and design. He does add his own touch to the issue with a different use of shadowing effect and a bigger emphasis on faces in his panels. Still, he does a wonderful job respecting much of the designs, like Thing or how U.S.Agent looks like. Neil Edwards does the final pages for this issue, which is a minor addition, but they are still solid work. Helping a lot in this issue would also be Chris Sotomayor who add much of the ‘’Dark’’ element of the title with the use of a much somber and deeper-looking palette of color.

The Conclusion: Finally done with much of the buildup, this issue gets better by actually forming the basis of the team while getting us a conflict, thanks to some dense plotting and some terrific art. Hopefully, this means the plotting will now press on the pedals and speed up to some good action that we all know Jeff Parker can deliver.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière

Some Musing: I certainly hope the rumors floating around that the title will be cancelled at issue #190 are unfounded, as I really enjoying what the title brings and am eager to see more U.S.Agent goodness from Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards.