In Dark Avengers concept art shared by Mike Deodato, it turns out the twisted team originally gave new looks to Wolverine, Venom, Hawkeye and more.
In concept art recently shared by Mike Deodato, the dark avengers‘ original designs reveal that Norman Osborn almost wore very different Iron Man armor as the team’s leader, and that the designs for the twisted versions of Wolverine, Venom and more could have been totally new.
As part of Marvel’s Dark Reign event, Norman Osborn (the former Green Goblin) was able to use the Skrull invasion of Earth to elevate himself to a position of power while destroying trust in the planet’s heroes. With many heroes still on the run due to the Superhuman Registration Act, and Tony Stark disgraced by his inability to stop the events of Secret InvasionOsborn formed his own team of Dark Avengers – villainous characters who were happy to pose as iconic heroes.
Appearing in Dark Avengers #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato, the team was originally comprised of Sentry and Ares (prior Avengers associates willing to work with Osborn) as well as Wolverine (Logan’s son Daken), Hawkeye (Daredevil villain Bullseye), Spider-Man (Mac Gargan’s Venom), Ms. Marvel (twisted psychiatrist Moonstone), and Captain Marvel (the alien terrorist Noh-Varr.) Osborn rounded out the team in a modified Iron Man suit, attempting to combine the imagery of both Iron Man and Captain America as the twisted Iron Patriot. Of course, central to the ruse was the idea that the team looked like the classic Avengers, so it was ultimately important their costumes remained as similar as possible to the originals. However, past comics have included original concept sketches which show the villains in unique uniforms, suggesting there was a time where they’d have had distinct ‘heroic’ looks all of their own. Recently, Deodato also shared these sketches in a multi-image post on Instagram.
The first image shows a sketch of the costumes more or less as they appeared in the series. Here, the villains recreate the classic appearances of the heroes they’re aping, with Venom returning to its original form as Spider-Man’s black suit, Moonstone bringing back one of Carol Danvers’ first outfits, and Daken wearing his father’s yellow and brown costume , which exposes his sleeve tattoo. However, in the second image of the post, the characters are wildly different. Daken wears flowing robes, Venom replaces his white Spider-Man icon with chaotic yellow tendrils, and Moonstone wears a pink and purple outfit. Bullseye mimics Clint Barton’s Ronin persona (which he adopted after the death of Captain Ameirca), but combines it with a bow and some purple accents.
However, the biggest change is Norman Osborn’s Iron Patriot, who appears in overblown yellow and blue armor with huge shoulders and a flapping American flag-cape. Deodato’s other sketches later in the post show alternate designs for the Iron Patriot, with a more chrome-focused design in the second image, as well as a character design for Osborn’s consigliere Victoria Hand. These new designs are gorgeous, and find a way to project the fact that while these characters are presenting as heroes, they’re villains through and through. Marvel and DC famously tend to use red, blue and yellow for heroes, and green and purple for villains. Deodato’s sketches play off this idea, with ‘Hawkeye,’ ‘Spider-Man,’ and ‘Wolverine’ characterized by darker colors mixed with yellow, while ‘Ms. Marvel’ taps into softened villain colors. Osborn’s Iron Man armor retains red, blue and yellow, though in such an overblown style it’s clearly a result of calculation.
Sadly, this is likely why these designs weren’t used – dark avengers sees the public entirely taken in by the villains’ new personas, and so more heroic looks played into this. The fact that the villains look different out of the public eye – Venom expands to his monstrous true form, for instance, and Bullseye removes his cowl to reveal the ‘target’ scar on his forehead – ultimately serves as the best possible visual metaphor for how they’re fooling the country. Hopefully, the dark avengers will return in some form – both because the core concept holds so much inherent promise, and on the off-chance that Deodato’s new look for Iron Man, Wolverine, Venom and more can actually make an appearance.
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Source: Mike Deodato
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