Dark Avengers
Cover of Dark Avengers #1 (January 2009)
Art by Mike Deodato Jr.
Series publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
FormatOngoing series
Publication date(Volume 1)
March 2009 – June 2010
(Volume 1 continued)
August 2012 – July 2013
Number of issues(vol. 1) 16
(vol. 1 cont.) 16
Creative team
Writer(s)Brian Michael Bendis
Artist(s)Mike Deodato
Colorist(s)Rain Beredo
Creator(s)Brian Michael Bendis
Collected editions
Dark Avengers AssembleISBN 0-7851-3851-X
Molecule ManISBN 0-7851-3853-6
SiegeISBN 0-7851-4811-6
Dark Avengers
Group publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceDark Avengers #1
(January 2009)
Created byBrian Michael Bendis
In-story information
Leader(s)U.S. Agent
Norman Osborn
Victoria Hand
Luke Cage
Member(s)Former Members:
Ares (John Aaron)
Captain Marvel (Noh-Varr)
Hawkeye (Bullseye)
Hawkeye (Trickshot)
Hulk (Skaar)
Ms. Marvel (Superia)
Sentry (The Void)
Spider-Man (Ai Apaec)
Spider-Man (Venom)
Wolverine (Daken)
Wolverine (Tomi Shishido)
Ms. Marvel (Moonstone)
Scarlet Witch (Toxie Doxie)

Dark Avengers is a 2009–2013 American comic book series published by Marvel Comics. It is part of a series of titles that features various iterations of the superhero team the Avengers, with this version of the team - unbeknownst to the public in its stories - having several members who are actually supervillains and anti-heroes disguised as the established superheroes.

Publication history

The series debuted with issue #1, dated January 2009, as part of a multi-series story arc entitled "Dark Reign."[1] In the premiere, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato[2] (working from a continuity begun in a previous, company-wide story arc, "Secret Invasion," involving an infiltration of Earth by the shape-shifting alien Skrulls and that race's eventual defeat) chronicled the aftermath of the U.S. government's disbanding of the federally sanctioned superhero team, the Avengers. Bendis described the thinking behind the team: "These are bad-ass, hardcore get-it-done types. They'll close the door and take care of business and he's dressing them up to make them something that the people want.[3] This is in contrast to the changes Norman Osborn is shown making to the Thunderbolts, where, according to writer Andy Diggle, he turns that team into "something much more covert and much more lethal: his own personal hit squad".[4]

The series ended with Dark Avengers #16, at the culmination of the Siege storyline.[5]

The Thunderbolts comic book was renamed Dark Avengers beginning with issue #175, but the creative team remained unchanged.[6][7] Dark Avengers ended with issue #190.[8]

Fictional team biography

First Dark Avengers

The government assigned the team's redevelopment to Norman Osborn (the reformed supervillain now calling himself the Iron Patriot) whom the government had previously assigned to head the superhero team the Thunderbolts and who had become a public hero for his role in repelling the Skrull threat. Osborn, also given leadership of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., reforms that agency into H.A.M.M.E.R. and creates a new Avengers team under its aegis.

The initial line-up consists of former Thunderbolts members and new recruits, including the Sentry, Ares, Noh-Varr (now Captain Marvel) as well as disguised super-villains Moonstone (portraying Ms. Marvel), Venom (Mac Gargan portraying Spider-Man after being given a formula that resets the symbiote to the size it was when it possessed Spider-Man), Bullseye (portraying Hawkeye) and Wolverine's disgruntled son Daken taking on the Wolverine mantle. Osborn also takes on the identity of Iron Patriot, wearing a red, white, and blue-themed Iron Man armor.[9] The team goes to Latveria to rescue Doctor Doom from Morgan Le Fay.[10] Upon returning from Latveria, Osborn deals[11] with the aftermath of Hawkeye's appearance on live TV, under his "Ronin" alias, reminding the public of Osborn's murderous past and that he should not be trusted.[12] Due to this action, Osborn is forced to "get rid of" this problem.

The Dark Avengers arrive in San Francisco to set up martial law and to quell the anti-mutant riots. In doing so, Norman sets up his own team of X-Men consisting of Cloak and Dagger, Mimic, Emma Frost, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Daken, Weapon Omega and Mystique (posing as Professor X) much to the chagrin of his Avengers.[13] After Emma Frost, Namor, and Cloak and Dagger betray the team, Norman swears vengeance on the X-Men.[14]

A series of disappearances throughout Colorado causes Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers (except for Venom) to visit the small town of Dinosaur, Colorado. Everyone except Norman is teleported away, while Osborn finds himself in front of a throne with Molecule Man seated on it, flanked by the Beyonder, Mephisto, Zarathos, and the Enchantress.[15] However, it is revealed that these others were merely Molecule Man's creations. Molecule Man tortures Norman mentally and physically and seemingly kills his Avengers.[16] Osborn's assistant Victoria Hand successfully stalls Molecule Man with a false surrender until the Void is able to reform and kill Molecule Man. It is revealed that the Sentry and the Void have the same powers as Molecule Man. The Sentry regains control of himself and agrees to begin therapy with Moonstone, while Victoria Hand demands Norman to undergo therapy as well after being tortured. Inside his office, Loki is manipulating Norman into having a Green Goblin relapse.[17]

After declaring war on the Asgardians, Norman Osborn has the Dark Avengers and those in The Initiative prepare for the Siege of Asgard.[18] Norman considers The Sentry, specifically his dark side, known as The Void, his secret weapon.[19]

In flashback, it is told how Robert Reynolds received his vast powers from experimental drugs, using his might as the Sentry to live the life of a superhero, while his darker emotions manifested as the Void. Osborn has manipulated Reynolds into allowing the Void to take over, to do Osborn's murderous bidding. Osborn has somehow recreated the addictive serum that gave Reynolds his powers, making him dependent on Osborn and his approval. Meanwhile, Reynolds's wife Lindy has been a virtual prisoner in the Sentry's Watchtower, has even attempted to kill him, and begs Reynolds to either kill her or let her go. Reynolds's warring personalities, however, have stalemated. The Sentry even attempts suicide, flying into the heart of the sun, but such is his invulnerability that it doesn't work. He tires of struggling against the Void. Norman orders Bullseye to kill Lindy, blaming her for Sentry's uncertainty and weakness.[20] When an emergency evacuation occurs, Bullseye takes Lindy on a helicopter, antagonizes her cruelly, then strangles her to death and dumps her body into the ocean. When Sentry arrives looking for Lindy, Bullseye claims that she committed suicide, out of fear of Reynolds, by jumping out of the helicopter in the countryside. Sentry leaves to look for her body. From this point on, it could be said that the murderous Void was in full control of Reynolds and his unprecedented power.[21]

Following the events of Siege, Norman Osborn is incarcerated in The Raft penitentiary. Moonstone, Bullseye and Venom are captured by the heroes, while Daken manages to escape capture by military personnel. After being interrogated by Captain Rogers, Victoria Hand is informed that she has been reassigned.[22] Moonstone joins Luke Cage's incarnation of the Thunderbolts.[23] Noh-Varr is recruited into the Avengers team to help them build a time machine to save the future.[24] Victoria Hand is assigned by Steve Rogers to be the liaison for Luke Cage's team of Avengers, dubbed the New Avengers, because he feels that she can provide an important insight to the team.[25] Bullseye escapes custody and is killed by his longtime nemesis Daredevil when he attacks his fortress of Shadowland during the storyline of the same name. Daken eludes capture at the conclusion of the Siege of Asgard and is confronted by Franken-Castle (whom he had killed during the Dark Reign). Mac Gargan's symbiote is removed and he is taken into custody. Alistair Smythe breaks Gargan out of prison who is transformed back into the Scorpion.[26]

New Dark Avengers

A new Dark Avengers team is formed by Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R. The roster includes Skaar, Gorgon, Ai Apaec, Dr. June Covington, Superia, and Trickshot. The team is backed up by HYDRA and A.I.M. Norman Osborn also has A.I.M. rebuild Ragnarok so that he can join the Dark Avengers.[27] Although Osborn claims to be certain that his new team is superior to their "templates," he appears unaware that Madame Hydra and Gorgon are already planning to kill him once he proves himself to be too dangerous as leader, intending to use his team to sow discord by serving as a voice of the "disenfranchised" unsatisfied with the status quo.[28] The subsequent fight against the New Avengers proves to be relatively evenly matched. Although Osborn demonstrates a surprising new level of strength allowing him to throw Luke Cage a considerable distance and his Scarlet Witch injures Doctor Strange, the others are able to hold their own far more easily. When they attempt to teleport away, the New Avengers end up facing Ragnarok.[29] Spider-Man and Iron Fist are able to defeat Ragnarok, but the Dark Avengers' actions have still damaged the New Avengers' reputations by tricking them into provoking a fight with a team who just helped the civilians,[30] Osborn's other forces attacking the main team to charge them with various war crimes, ordering the President to declare Osborn the new head of world security and put the Avengers on trial.[31]

The Dark Avengers capture Captain America during their successful attack on both Avengers teams with the intention of executing him for his 'crimes'. Gorgon and Superia are already planning to betray the team, while Victoria Hand, apparently Norman's double agent inside the team, reveals to the New Avengers her real allegiance to Captain America and Skaar turns on his teammates after they confirm their intentions to assault Captain America, exclaiming the famous rallying cry, "Avengers Assemble!" as he does so.[32] Skaar reveals that he is a double agent for Captain America, allowing the New Avengers to defeat the rest of the team.[33] Norman Osborn is shown to have developed the abilities of the Super-Adaptoid, enabling him to copy the abilities of the other Avengers. The Avengers find a way to overload this power, which puts Norman Osborn into a coma. After Osborn is defeated, the rest of the Dark Avengers are detained. It is suggested in a conversation with Captain America that they be considered for the Thunderbolts Program.[34]

As of #175, Thunderbolts is renamed Dark Avengers with writer Jeff Parker and the art team of Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey remaining on the title.[6][7] When the Thunderbolts are missing in the time stream, the Dark Avengers were recruited as a replacement team. In order to keep the Dark Avengers in line, they were implanted with nanites and placed under the leadership of Luke Cage.[35]

The Dark Avengers team are thrown into the alternate world of Earth-13584 with John Walker (U.S. Agent) where they are captured by that reality's version of Iron Man.[36] It turns out that A.I.M. is behind the reality manipulation. Due to the Dark Avengers' arrival, the solar system is starting to disappear. The Dark Avengers enter the A.I.M. base and accelerate the sliver's destruction. The Dark Avengers arrive back in their world. Skaar hops away, but the rest of the team ponders what to do as most of them are still criminals. June Covington bewitches U.S. Agent into believing they could still work as a team and steps on a still miniaturized Ai Apaec.[37]



Character Real Name Joined in Notes
Iron Patriot Norman Osborn Dark Avengers #1 (March 2009) AKA the Green Goblin. Former leader, captured in Dark Avengers #16. Redesigned Stark armor to represent both Iron Man and Captain America. Rejoined in New Avengers #18 acquired the power of the Super-Adaptoid after reassembling the team.
"Spider-Man" Mac Gargan AKA Scorpion. Captured in "Dark Avengers" #16. Became Scorpion again after Venom suit was taken by government.
"Ms. Marvel" a.k.a. Captain Marvel Karla Sofen AKA Moonstone. Captured in Dark Avengers #16 and joined Luke Cage's Thunderbolts in Thunderbolts #144. Rejoins the team in Dark Avengers #184.
"Hawkeye" Lester AKA Bullseye. Captured in Dark Avengers #16. Killed by Daredevil in Shadowland #1.
"Wolverine" Akihiro Wolverine's psychopathic son, Daken. He avoided capture in Dark Avengers #16 and remains at large.
Captain Marvel Noh-Varr Left the team in Dark Avengers #6 and joined the Avengers.
Ares Ares Killed in Siege #2 by the Sentry.
The Sentry Robert Reynolds AKA Void. Went rogue in Siege #3 before being killed by Thor in Siege #4.

Post-Fear Itself recruits

Character Real Name Joined in Notes
"Wolverine" Tomi Shishido New Avengers #18 (November 2011) Fought and killed by Wolverine in Wolverine #31. Revived by the Hand in Secret Warriors #2. Leaves the team in New Avengers vol. 2, #23.
"Hulk" Skaar/Hiro-Kala Recruited by Osborn in the Savage Land, Skaar was actually double agent working for Captain America in secret, along with his twin brother Hiro-Kala. Both rejoined the team in Dark Avengers #175 and left again in Dark Avengers #190.
"Ms. Marvel" Deidre Wentworth Led a H.A.M.M.E.R. team after Norman Osborn's incarceration. Leaves the team in New Avengers vol. 2, #23.
"Hawkeye" Barney Barton Joined after having his death in a hospital bed faked by Osborn.
"Spider-Man" Ai Apaec South American spider god. First encountered by Osborn in Osborn #1. Changed into a six-armed humanoid form resembling the black suit version of Spider-Man by an unknown substance.
"Scarlet Witch" Dr. June Covington Biologist and geneticist. First encountered by Osborn in Osborn #1 following the Siege of Asgard.
"Thor" Ragnarok Currently held and being repaired by A.I.M. on Norman Osborn's behalf. He was repaired in time to help the Dark Avengers fight the New Avengers.

Marvel ReEvolution recruits

Character Real Name Joined in Notes
U.S. Agent John Walker Dark Avengers #185 (2013) Former warden of the Raft swept along with the Dark Avengers to an alternate reality. Resumes his role as U.S. Agent after receiving a lobotomized alternate reality version of the Venom symbiote that recreates his missing limbs.



Other versions

Ultimate Marvel

In the Ultimate Marvel reality, an alternate version of the Dark Avengers appears under the name the Dark Ultimates. The group consists of a female Kang the Conqueror and Reed Richards as well as the former Ultimates Hulk and Quicksilver. The team is formed with the goal of forcibly saving the world by any means necessary. They first appear while attacking the Triskelion in order to steal the Infinity Gems.[43]

In other media


The Dark Avengers appear in a self-titled episode of Avengers Assemble.[44] This version of the group are reality-flipped versions of the original Avengers who operate as supervillains while the Squadron Supreme work to stop them. However, the Dark Avengers eventually discover that the Squadron used the Reality Gem to change the world in their image and use it to undo the Squadron's changes.

Video games

Collected editions

The series is being collected into individual volumes:

All the issues (Except the Utopia crossover) are being collected into one hardback book:

As were the spin-offs:


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