Monday, November 9, 2009

Dark Avengers: Ares #1

Dang, if Kieron Gillen isn't careful, he's going to become one of my favorite writers. I wasn't as impressed with his Phonogram series as everyone else, but dang if he's isn't great at writing the gods of the Marvel U. First Beta Ray Bill and now this.

Norman Osborn wants Ares to train a crew of Hammer soldiers. Osborn is curious what sort of soldier would survive and pass a course taught by the god of war. It's a great idea, and Gillen delivers on this fantastic premise. The soldiers are fun hard cases, standing up to Ares but still willing to learn from him. The complicated relationship between the teacher and his students is the core of the book. Ares is definitely one of those bullies who believes he is the only one who can push around his chosen targets. Anyone who messes with his troops will have to deal with him. There's also plenty of time spent establishing that Ares is more than the god of ancient combat. He's remained totally current and up-to-date in the most modern ways of killing. He even claims to know humans better than his godly kin. Ares is so larger than life and confident that you can't help but like him. He's one of the best characters in the Marvel U right now. You can't even call him a villain.

Manuel Garcia's art is heavy with shadows, at times things look almost Michael Lark-ish. But his style fits just fine with the action and violence in the script. The casual brutality of Ares is clear in both his body language and his actions. It's a great package.


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