Just to make it perfectly clear to anyone who might read this, I didn't like Secret Invasion, so therefore, by proxy, I don't like the whole Dark Reign idea. To me, this whole Dark Reign thing seems to be a blatant ripoff of the Secret Society from DC. I've already seen this story before in DC, why is Marvel replaying it???
Overall- Not surprisingly, this comic didn't really do much for me, but anyone who read my intro probably knew that already. Basically, Norman Osborn calls a meeting between Dr. Doom, Namor, Emma Frost, Loki, and The Hood. Norman tells everyone that if they work with him, he'll allow them to do whatever they want. To show he means business, he immediately puts Dr. Doom back in charge of Latveria. He tells the rest that whatever they desire, he'll make it happen, as long as they don't screw things up for him. In other words, commit any crime you want, just don't do it publicly.
Anything the group needs, Norman will get them, as long as everyone plays ball with him. After his speech, Norman leaves and all of the people at the meeting leave, with the exception of Dr. Doom and Namor. We learn that Doom and Namor already have a side alliance, and are planning on taking everything over once Norman implodes like he always does. Doom tells Namor that once Norman is out of the way, Doom will own the land, and Namor will own the seas. Namor asks Doom what their move will be if Norman doesn't fall apart, and Doom tells Namor that if that were to happen, the world would see a war the likes of which they have never seen before... Ah-ha, so there we have the set-up for summer 2009's Marvel crossover event... Yay, another crossover... We also learn that Emma is being haunted by dreams of Kitty Pryde asking why Emma didn't save her, and Norman kills the Swordsman on his way out of Thunderbolt mountain. After killing Swordsman, Norman seems alarmed by his actions.
That was pretty much the gist of this story. It was a bunch of villains(and Emma)talking to each other. Oh, and the artwork was just ABYSMAL! Alex Maleev really didn't do this story any favors. His artwork was horrible. His rendition of Namor was one of the worst I've ever seen. Seriously, the artwork in this book was some of the worst I've seen in a while. I'm not one to really take notice of the art in a comic book, but this was really bad!
The back of this comic did provide a trio of 3 page previews for Secret Warriors, Agents of Atlas, and War Machine. S.W. is about the team of Nick Fury put together during Secret Invasion, you know that bunch of no-name losers. I'll definitely pass on this comic... Sorry Nick, I like you, but the rest of those losers have got to go. AoA looked totally uninteresting, so that will be another pass. As for W.M., since I don't ant to read about Iron Man, why the hell would I want to read a comic book about his longtime lackey? Once again, I'll pass on that. What I was hoping for was a preview of Dark Avengers, but I was out of luck. I will pick up D.A. #1, ONLY because I hear Marvel Boy will be on the team. Of course, I'm sure Bendis will screw Noh-Varr's character up(it's what Bendis does), but out of loyalty to Noh-Varr, I'll at least give D.A. a look for a few issues.
For a score, I'll give this comic a 3 1/2 out of 10. This was one of those comic books that was only released to further future plans, but unfortunately for me, those future plans are very unappealing. Since I am a life long Marvel fan, I will invariably at least give Dark Reign a chance. However, just like I had with Secret Invasion, I have a sinking feeling that once again, this storyline is going to be another massive disappointment.