Written by Matt Fraction
Art by Luke Ross
Welcome to part three of the six-issue Utopia miniseries, where the X-Men and the Dark Avengers clash in the X-Men home of San Francisco after a series of pro- and anti-mutant riots. This particular issue deals with Emma Frost trying to get a hold of the new Dark X-Men while Norman and Dark Beast (A “Dark” that actually has nothing to do with “Dark Reign”) conspire in the creation of a power-sapping machine.
The actual issue is decent. There is definitely more of a focus on the Dark X-Men side of things than the Dark Avengers, or even the X-Men proper for that matter. The actual Dark Avengers, aside from Norman and Daken, don’t get much time in the issue. This issue is definitely more focused on Norman’s conspiracy of the week with special guest co-conspirator Dark Beast, with a little bit of Emma Frost and the Dark X-Men on the side.
The story may put off regular Dark Avengers readers, partially because it doesn’t focus much on the Dark Avengers and partially because it’s the middle of some other story from another book. People following the title go from Atlantean conflicts and Norman Osborn breaking down on the floor at the end of issue 6 to the middle of species relations breakdown and Beast’s bad hair day in issue 7. Even with the recap page Marvel puts in the beginning of the issue, it’s still somewhat confusing without reading the first two parts of the story elsewhere.
Crossing regular titles for one story arc is bad idea, especially when those titles are usually unconnected. This story should have been kept in a single Utopia miniseries title instead of book jumping.
If you’re coming into this issue because you’re a regular Dark Avengers reader but don’t know a some of the X-Men characters, or if you’re here because it’s part of an X-Men miniseries but don’t follow Dark Avengers well enough to know who’s who, don’t fret. Character introduction captions, themed for each character’s alignment, are more than willing to introduce you to every semi-important character. Trust me, that’s a lot. They tend to have a little quirky, comical line about each character if you take the time to read them. However, there are points where these captions flood the pages, which might become a tad annoying.
The blacks and colors in this issue are strong and bold. The coloring is fairly vivid and bright, making the otherwise dark colors really pop out. Inking is really heavy with thick lines and a lot of shadowing.
Unfortunately, the heavy inking and coloring causes a lack of detail in characters the further into the background they get, especially in the faces. Up close detail is decent enough. Some bland faces and motions here and there. Nothing really to write home about.
I must admit that I like seeing good old non-feline furry Beast again, even if it’s just technically Dark Beast and not the real McCoy we know. Not a fan of Cat-Beast. With two different Beasts of different persuasions, for now everyone except original bare-skin Beast fans should be at the least satisfied.
Decent continuation of a decent enough miniseries, but it’s probably confusing to people who just read Dark Avengers. The art is ok, but the heavy inking and coloring may drown out background character detail. Seeing ‘80s-‘90s Beast look is nice depending on preference.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10