"Dark Reign"
Darkreign1.png
Cover to Secret Invasion: Dark Reign.
Art by Alex Maleev.
PublisherMarvel Comics
Publication dateFebruary 2009
Genre
Title(s)
Dark Reign Files
Dark Reign: New Nation
Dark Reign: The Goblin Legacy
Marvel Spotlight: Dark Reign
Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
See also: Issues section
Main character(s)New Avengers
Iron Man
Norman Osborn
Dark Avengers
The Cabal
Thunderbolts
The Hood's Crime Syndicate
Dormammu
Creative team
Writer(s)Brian Michael Bendis
Jonathan Hickman
Matt Fraction
Rick Remender
Kieron Gillen
Peter Milligan
Andy Diggle
Greg Pak
Jason Aaron
Dan Slott
Artist(s)Alex Maleev

Dark Reign is a 2008 to 2009 comic book branding used by Marvel Comics. It deals with the aftermath of the "Secret Invasion" storyline, which leads to a shift of power in the Marvel Universe toward Norman Osborn.[1][2][3] The title refers to Osborn's rise to national power and the ramifications thereof.[4] Joe Quesada, then-editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, stated that "Dark Reign is not really an event, it's what's happening in the Marvel Universe." He believes that "Dark Reign leads to an interesting place in the Marvel Universe. I think you'll see a pulling back at the end of Dark Reign, but you'll understand at the end of it what we were trying to get to."[4]

Publication history

The story-line begins with the release of Secret Invasion: Dark Reign, a one-shot Brian Michael Bendis (writer) and Alex Maleev (art), in December 2008. It continued in standalone mini-series and some individual issues of ongoing Marvel Comics titles throughout 2009. Selected ongoing Marvel titles were temporarily renamed to highlight their involvement in the story-line.[5]

Initial promotional images for the story-line included a series of "We Lost, They Won" images showing: a severed robotic head of Iron Man, Emma Frost holding Cyclops's blood-covered visor, the new Captain America bowing to Norman Osborn's Iron Patriot form, Daken's Wolverine form looking down, Thor motionless on Loki's female form, Venom's Spider-Man appearance defeating Spider-Man, Henry Pym's Wasp alias (with Wasp's picture in the background), and the Green Goblin (which quotes that "He won").

There is no core limited series as there was in the preceding Secret Invasion event. Instead, the story-line is made up of one-shots that help fill in the gaps, limited series exploring the effect of the event on teams and individuals, as well as tie-ins with other ongoing series. The main story-line led into the 2010 "Siege" crossover event, although some plot elements are ongoing.

Plot

Following the Skrull invasion of Earth during Secret Invasion, Norman Osborn leverages his success in defeating the Skrulls to replace Tony Stark as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Deadpool plays a large part in this, as he is supposed to send the information on how to kill the Skrull Queen Veranke to Nick Fury. An error occurs during the process and the information goes to Osborn instead. Osborn shoots Veranke in the head and becomes the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which he replaces with H.A.M.M.E.R.[6] Osborn simultaneously forms an alliance called the Cabal with Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, Namor, Loki, and the Hood. He uses H.A.M.M.E.R. to carry out his agenda and, at times, the Cabal's. However, Osborn's actions and his reputation influence a number of heroes and villains to attempt to resist Osborn's rule and remove him from power by force, if necessary.[7]

Main characters

"The Hood, of course, may not be acting of his own volition, since he has an unholy alliance with the Dread Dormammu, who may want the zombies and the virus that creates them for his own nefarious purposes. Plus, the Hood doesn't just bring any group of villains with him on this jaunt. He brings a very horror-oriented group of villains with him."[13] (This group is the Night Shift.[13])

One-shots

One-shots help the transition from Secret Invasion and fill in other details behind the main story-line.

Dark Reign: Files

Dark Reign: The Cabal

Main article: Cabal (comics)

Written by Rick Remender, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, and Peter Milligan, this one-shot features five vignettes that provide further information about the motivations of the members of the Cabal.[citation needed]

It is reprinted in the Siege Prelude trade paperback.[citation needed]

Dark Reign: Made Men

Written by Frank Tieri, this one-shot features vignettes that explore the impact of Osborn's rise, such as Attuma's resurrection, the appearance of the new Enforcer, the return of the original Spymaster, and the appearance of a new Jack O'Lantern.[21]

Dark Reign: New Nation

This kicks off ongoing series Secret Warriors, Agents of Atlas and War Machine and limited series Skrull Kill Krew and New Avengers: The Reunion.[citation needed]

Dark Reign: Goblin Legacy

The comic sees Victoria Hand collecting info about Norman Osborn's past.[citation needed]

Marvel Spotlight: Dark Reign

M.O.D.O.K.: Reign Delay

Main article: MODOK

This story was written and drawn by Ryan Dunlavey and shows M.O.D.O.K.'s attempt to take over his home town Erie, Pennsylvania. It was serialized on Marvel Digital Comics before appearing as a one-shot.[22]

Other one-shots

Ongoing titles

Dark Reign has been used as a springboard to launch these ongoing series.

Agents of Atlas

Main article: Agents of Atlas

The Agents of Atlas are shown opposing Osborn's agenda by taking on the role of "super-villains". Their first act is to attack Fort Knox and steal the gold reserve, which Osborn planned on using to finance a secret weapons system.[23]

Black Panther

Main article: Black Panther (comics) § Passing the mantle

Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, attempts to recruit T'Challa for the Cabal, a secret council of super-villains. Attacked by the forces of fellow Cabal member Doctor Doom, T'Challa is left comatose. His sister Shuri is trained as the next Panther, with the mantle passing onto her officially after T'Challa awakens from his coma and attempts to recover from his injuries. This then leads to Doomwar.

Dark Avengers

Main article: Dark Avengers

Written by Bendis, the series chronicles the aftermath of the U.S. government's disbanding of the federally sanctioned superhero team, the Avengers, and its reconstruction under Osborn's control. Their first mission is to save Doctor Doom and Latveria from Morgan le Fay.

Punisher

Main article: Punisher § The Punisher and Punisher: Frank Castle

Marvel relaunched The Punisher War Journal in 2009 as simply Punisher, with a thematic link to the events of the Dark Reign story-line. It sees Punisher attempting to kill Osborn, but Goblin sends his cabal member Hood against Punisher. Punisher then goes against Hood's gang.

Secret Warriors

Main article: Secret Warriors (2009 series)

See also: Nick Fury, Agent of Nothing

This series, co-plotted by Bendis with Jonathan Hickman writing,[24][25][26] was launched as part of the Dark Reign story-line.[27] Following their introduction in the Secret Invasion tie-in issues of The Mighty Avengers, Fury and the Secret Warriors discover that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been controlled by HYDRA since its creation, and set out to defeat both HYDRA and Norman Osborn's H.A.M.M.E.R.

Spider Woman

Main article: Spider-Woman (2009 series)

After Veranke's actions leave her feeling mistreated, Jessica joins S.W.O.R.D. after she is recruited by Abigail Brand. Her first mission takes her to Madripoor where she takes on a Skrull posing as Spider-Man. After run-ins with HYDRA, another Skrull, and the new Thunderbolts, Jessica eventually finds a wayward Skrull and she takes it down with the help of her teammates in the New Avengers. After the mission, Brand offers her different, new opportunities within S.W.O.R.D

S.W.O.R.D

Main article: S.W.O.R.D. (comics)

Henry Peter Gyrich is assigned as S.W.O.R.D. co-commander alongside Brand. Gyrich is able to persuade the heads of S.W.O.R.D. to pass legislation to have all aliens deported from Earth while Brand was distracted with another mission. He manages to take several notable aliens into custody including Noh-Varr, Adam X, Beta Ray Bill, Jazinda, Karolina Dean, and Hepzibah.

Vengeance of Moon Knight

Main article: Moon Knight § Vengeance of the Moon Knight

Moon Knight returns to New York after faking his death with Jake Lockley as his dominant personality, but still struggles against his violent nature and is hounded by Khonshu in the form of a small imaginary tormentor resembling a man in the Moon Knight costume with a bird skull who goads him to kill.

War Machine

Main article: War Machine § "Dark Reign"

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man #595–599

Avengers The Initiative

Main article: Avengers: The Initiative § Dark Reign

Captain America

Main article: Bucky Barnes § The new Captain America

Captain Britain and MI 13

Main article: Captain Britain and MI13

Dark Wolverine

Main article: Daken § Dark Reign

Deadpool and the Thunderbolts

Main articles: Deadpool § 2000s, and Thunderbolts (comics) § Dark Reign

During Secret Invasion, Osborn steals information that Deadpool had stolen from the Skrulls.[28] The story "How Low Can You Go?"[29] deals with the fallout from that, as writer Daniel Way explains: "The first thing Osborn does to try and take care of the situation is to bring in a hired gun to take Deadpool down, which would be Tiger-Shark. That would be the standard thing to do, but of course everything about Deadpool is non-standard. So it goes completely awry and Norman has to get more serious about things."[30] The story also sees the return of Bob, Agent of HYDRA, as Daniel Way described: "I don't want the book to become 'Deadpool and Friends', so characters will drift in and out, but Bob was someone I definitely wanted to bring in. It just had to be at the perfect moment and when I was putting this story-line together that moment presented itself."[30] This all leads directly to a confrontation with the new Thunderbolts team (now composed of black ops mercenaries) in "Magnum Opus", which crosses over between Deadpool (vol. 2) #8–9 and Thunderbolts #130–131.[30] According to Thunderbolts writer Andy Diggle: "It's a natural progression for Deadpool to go after Norman, and for Norman to send his personal hit-squad after Deadpool."[31] In Deadpool (vol. 2) #10, Osborn discovers that the Thunderbolts failed to kill Deadpool, so he sends Bullseye, posing as Hawkeye, to kill him. However, Bullseye also fails twice, and then pays Deadpool the money Osborn owed so his life would be spared. The Thunderbolts recruit several new members as assassins, including Nuke, Ant-Man, and Grizzly.

Hulk

Main article: Thunderbolt Ross § Red Hulk

Incredible Hercules

Main article: The Incredible Hercules § "Dark Reign" (#127-128) and #129-131

Incredible Hulk

Main article: Skaar (character)

Iron Man

Main article: The Invincible Iron Man § "World's Most Wanted" (#8-19)

Mighty Avengers

Main article: List of Mighty Avengers story arcs § Dan Slott Era

Ms. Marvel

Main article: Ms. Marvel

Refusing to serve under Osborn, Ms. Marvel flees Avengers Tower and joins the New Avengers, becoming second-in-command. Osborn appoints former Thunderbolt member Moonstone (Karla Sofen) as the "new" Ms. Marvel to his Dark Avengers team; Moonstone wears a variation of Ms. Marvel's original costume. Osborn engineers a battle that results in Danvers' powers overloading, causing her apparent death. Moonstone takes over the title role in the ongoing Ms. Marvel series. Carol Danvers returns with the aid of the New Avengers, a group of M.O.D.O.K. embryos (creations of the organization Advanced Idea Mechanics [AIM]), and a character known as the "Storyteller" and reclaims the title of Ms. Marvel from Karla Sofen.

New Avengers

Main article: List of New Avengers story arcs § Search For The Sorcerer Supreme (Issues #48-54)

Skaar Son of Hulk

Main article: Skaar (character)

Thor

Main article: Thor (Marvel Comics) § 2000s

Uncanny X-Men & X-Men Legacy

Main article: Utopia (comics)

Wolverine Origins

Main article: Wolverine: Origins

Limited series

Dark Reign limited series look at the impact of the story-line on specific characters and groups.

All-New Savage She-Hulk

Main article: She-Hulk (Lyra) § Fictional character biography

Following the failed assassination attempt during which a key component of the male genetic birthing matrix—stolen to replace an identical component of the Femizon's matrix—is destroyed, Lyra is dispatched back in time to the era of Dark Reign on Earth-616 in a last-ditch attempt to prevent the extinction of her people.

Captain America: Reborn

Main article: Captain America: Reborn

A six-issue limited series.

Dark Avengers: Ares

Main article: Ares (Marvel Comics) § Fictional character biography

This saw Ares training H.A.M.M.E.R agents and then tackling some enemies from the past, including his son.

Dark Reign: Elektra

Main article: Elektra (comics) § Dark Reign

A five-issue limited series written by Zeb Wells with artwork by Clay Mann, the series explores the reaction of the world to the return of Elektra in the aftermath of the Secret Invasion.[32]

Dark Reign: Fantastic Four

Main article: Fantastic Four § 2000s

A five-issue limited series, written by Jonathan Hickman, explores the impact of an assault by H.A.M.M.E.R. on the Baxter Building and the team.[33][34]

Dark Reign: Hawkeye

Main article: Bullseye (comics) § Dark Avengers

Written by Andy Diggle and drawn by Tom Raney, this five-issue limited series follows the adventures of Bullseye in his identity as Dark Avengers member Hawkeye. The writer notes that the premise of the series is, "What happens when you hide that behind a hero mask? And what happens when the public is only allowed to see the hero mask, and not the monster behind it?"[35][36]

Dark Reign: Lethal Legion

Main article: Lethal Legion

Written by Frank Tieri with art by Mateus Santolouco,[37] the story shows Grim Reaper assembling a new Lethal Legion to combat Osborn. Writer Tieri notes that "they don't care who's in charge. They don't trust Norman, and they're not buying his talk. Not for a minute. Obviously that will bring them into conflict with Norman and the Dark Avengers."[21]

Dark Reign: Mister Negative

Main article: Mister Negative

A three-issue mini-series written by Fred Van Lente about a gang-war between Cabal member The Hood and Spider-Man foe Mister Negative.[38] The series reveals more about the character, something creator Dan Slott had planned. Van Lente says: "One of the major subplots of the book is Betty Brant, who in the 'New Ways to Die' arc of The Amazing Spider-Man was assigned the job of digging up as much dirt as she possibly could on Martin Li... She's continuing that investigation in the Mister Negative series and inadvertently digs closer and closer to his actual origin and her life will be put in jeopardy as a result."[39]

Dark Reign: The Hood

Main article: Hood (comics) § Dark Reign

A five-issue mini-series that details the actions of Hood and the entity possessing the Hood. It shows that Hood has weakness in the form of his family and how he will do anything to keep their presence secret.

Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man

Main article: Mac Gargan § Dark Reign

A four-issue mini-series by writer Brian Reed and artist Chris Bachalo.[40] On the genesis of the series, the writer notes: "The whole Marvel Universe thinks Spider-Man is living in Avengers Tower, when it's really Mac Gargan, who has a long history as a sociopath."[41]

Dark Reign: Young Avengers

Main article: Young Avengers § Dark Reign: Young Avengers

A five-issue mini-series by writer Paul Cornell[42][43] and artist Mark Brooks,[44] offered to Cornell based on the strength of his previous Young Avengers Presents story,[42] which focused on Vision and Stature.[45]

Following the events in Secret Invasion, the Young Avengers team heals the splits caused by the "Civil War", but find themselves fighting an even younger team. According to Cornell: "This is a story about what happens when the next generation come along, and suddenly you aren't the new young thing... There's this group of new super heroes who call themselves the Young Masters. They're young rebels on the run from the establishment, feared and hated by a world they've sworn to protect."[42] This team is made up of Melter II, Enchantress II, Executioner II, Big Zero, Coat of Arms, and Egghead II.[44][46] Cornell further said: "This is about what happens when a bunch of kids follow Osborn's lead, decide the world is hard and needs hard heroes."[43]

Dark Reign: Zodiac

Main article: Zodiac (comics) § Solo Zodiac

A three-issue mini-series by Joe Casey and Nathan Fox.[47][48][49] The series follows the adventures of a villain known as Zodiac (who kills the members of the criminal organization of the same name) and gathers a group of villains around him to take on Osborn.

Dark X-Men: The Beginning & Dark X-Men

Main article: Dark X-Men

It details the story of Dark X-Men members and how they come to join this team and the return of X-Man to Marvel Universe.

Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural

Main article: Brother Voodoo § Sorcerer Supreme and apparent death

A five-issue limited series, it shows how Doctor Voodoo faces the consequences of becoming Sorcerer Supreme and also takes down Nightmare.

New Avengers: The Reunion

Main article: The New Avengers (comics)

A four-issue limited series, it deals with the reunion of Clint and Mockingbird and how they come to terms with each other.

Skrull Kill Krew

Main article: Skrull Kill Krew

A five-issue limited series written by Adam Felber, in which the original team is brought back together to fight the descendants of the original Cow-Skrulls.[50]

The Torch

Main article: Toro (comics) § Thomas Raymond

The series brings original Human Torch and Toro back to Marvel Universe.

Timestorm 2009–2099

Main article: Timestorm 2009–2099

The series is a crossover between the mainstream Marvel Universe and a universe very similar to, but with notable differences from, the Marvel 2099 universe.

A 4-issue limited series titled Strange and 2-issue limited series X-Men vs Agents of Atlas was also released during Dark Reign.

Dark Reign: The List

A collection of one-shots dealing with different characters in the Marvel Universe who are hunted by Osborn, The List sets the status quo for many books.[citation needed] Every story also contains a back-up feature.

Issues

As of November 2009, the following issues had been announced as being part of Dark Reign:[27]

Involved, but not listed[citation needed]

Aftermath

Starting in January 2010, Norman Osborn's reign ended in the "Siege" story arc, which details Osborn's invasion of Asgard and the reunion of the Avengers. This then leads into a new era, called The Heroic Age.[90]

In other media

Video games

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Marvel Announces 'Dark Reign' at Diamond Retailer Summit". Newsarama. September 9, 2008.
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  5. ^ "NYCC: Way and Liu Talk 'Dark Wolverine'". Comic Book Resources. February 6, 2009.
  6. ^ Brian Michael Bendis (w), Mike Deodato (p), Mike Deodato (i). "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign" Dark Avengers 1 (January 2009), Marvel Comics
  7. ^ Brian Michael Bendis (w), Alex Maleev (p), Dean White (i). "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign" Secret Invasion: Dark Reign 1 (December 2008), Marvel Comics
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  9. ^ Wizard Magazine #212 (June 2009)
  10. ^ Secret Invasion: Dark Reign (February 2009)
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  12. ^ Thunderbolts #131 (June 2009)
  13. ^ a b Richards, Dave (March 20, 2009). "Fred Van Lente Talks 'Marvel Zombies 4'". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
  14. ^ Dark Reign: The Cabal (June 2009)
  15. ^ Black Panther (vol. 5) #2 (May 2009)
  16. ^ Thor #603 (November 2009)
  17. ^ Dark Reign: Made Men (digital comics) #1 (April 2009)
  18. ^ Siege: The Cabal Vol 1 (February, 2010)
  19. ^ Thor #600 (April 2009)
  20. ^ The Mighty Avengers #21–23 (March – May 2009)
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  50. ^ a b "Adam Felber – Hangin' With the Skrull Kill Krew". Newsarama. February 10, 2009.
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  52. ^ Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil (November 2009)
  53. ^ Dark Reign: The List – X-Men (November 2009)
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  57. ^ Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine (December 2009)
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