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WonderCon 2012

WonderCon 2012: Dark Avengers

Jeff Parker, Declan Shalvey and Kev Walker place the Dark Avengers under the leadership of Luke Cage!

By TJ Dietsch

Sometimes, it takes very bad people to accomplish a bit of good in the world. Jeff Parker currently deals with this theme in THUNDERBOLTS and will continue to do so in DARK AVENGERS with Declan Shalvey and Kev Walker.

The series kicks off in June with DARK AVENGERS #175 picking up where THUNDERBOLTS leaves off in terms of more than just issue numbers. The new team consists of Dark Scarlet Witch, Dark Spider-Man, Trickshot and Ragnarok lead by Luke Cage with Skaar tagging along as well. While the events that lead to this new direction remain a few months off, Parker did have some things to say about what necessitates the change.

“They crash—eventually,” he teases when asked how the two teams come together. “But for now the overseers of [the] Thunderbolts don't think Luke can ever bring back the time-lost escaped team, and they have a hazardous new mission they think is perfectly suited to the Dark Avengers.”

In past incarnations, members of the Thunderbolts focused on rehabilitating themselves or at least doing something positive after years of the opposite. The question remains whether these baddies recruited by Norman Osborn can be rehabilitated or if it's even on the table.

Dark Avengers #175 cover by Mike Deodato

“That's the big question: do the people in charge of Thunderbolts even care about that, or [do] only Luke, Songbird and Mach V?” Parker posits.

Past the point of reforming super-criminals under normal circumstances, Cage must also deal with the history he shares with many of his new charges and their old boss.

“Luke certainly thinks he's died and gone to hell,” Parker says. “Or maybe that was the point, he's also being manipulated. And Luke Cage doesn't like being moved around like a chess piece, he's now actively going against the overseers plans.”

But, as Parker points out, Cage knows how to play the game and recruits Skaar, a man who betrayed this own Dark Avengers team.

“Luke isn't stupid, he needs someone who is familiar with this particular pit of vipers,” Park says. “Also, there will be smashing.”

Personal problems and vendettas aside, the Dark Avengers get sent on a mission right off that bat that might prove more difficult than they know, requiring that extra power that only a Hulk can provide.

“They are going to Sharzhad, a country we introduced in HULK [during the ‘Hulk of Arabia’] arc Patrick Zircher and I did,” Parker says. “[It] is the land [ruled by] Sultan Magus, a powerful new foe in the Doctor Doom mold with a healthy distrust of western society.”

Walker and Shalvey will continue to share art chores on DARK AVENGERS as they most recently in THUNDERBOLTS. Parker explains the split, also noting that DARK AVENGERS will continue to showcase the time-hopping Thunderbolts members:

“Kev is still following the escapee Thunderbolts, and will be ushering in the return of Man-Thing as well as some other surprises. Declan will be with the present day team, and when the two stories collide, we may have to flip for it. Because though they seem separate, everything starts coming back together at lightning speed now.”

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