Tomorrow's Superheroes Go Darker Than Usual

Marvel Comics is playing the teasing game again, with this preview image for Dark Avengers, launching in January. Right now, Marvel isn't even saying who the Dark Avengers are - but they're willing to hint at their identities to get people talking. Take a look at tomorrow's icons today after the jump.

Tomorrow's Superheroes Go Darker Than Usual

Marvel's official website is playing coy about the new series, but offered the following taglines to help fans guess their identities:

"What he does isn't very nice."

"Back in black."

"Not such a straight arrow."

"Men fear a powerful woman."

"The greatest hero in the Marvel Universe."

The first two are obvious allusions to Wolverine (who, for years, was fond of announcing that he was the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn't very nice) and Spider-Man (who starred in a series of stories titled "Back in Black" around the time of his third movie), and the third would seem to match up with the character in the back of the released cover image, Hawkeye (an archer with a criminal background, don't forget). But the final two...? Obviously the unknown woman (who wears a copy of Ms. Marvel's original costume) and the previously teased Iron Patriot. But who are they...? Editor of the book Tom Brevoort hinted to IGN that not everything was necessarily as it seems:

Are they clones? Doppelgangers? Future Echoes? Or something more immediate and horrifying? And once their identity is revealed, that will only propel the Marvel Universe onto a path that will carry it forward towards an inevitable, explosive climax.

Rumors are that the Dark Avengers are the "more immediate and horrifying" option, and looking at that image, that does look more like Spider-Man villain Venom than Spidey himself... With the most recent issue of Marvel series Thunderbolts (Venom's current home) showing that Norman Osborn is trying to position himself as "the greatest hero in the Marvel Universe" (and a great Patriot, too) post-Secret Invasion, perhaps it's not unlikely to guess that he will end up being the Iron Patriot, and the Dark Avengers will be a new take on the old "Bad Guys Pretending To Be Heroes For Self-Serving Purposes" idea.

We'll find out for sure on January 21st, when the first issue of Dark Avengers hits stories.

Who Are The Dark Avengers? [Marvel]