Mighty Avengers #5

by

Or – “Human Sacrifice, Dogs And Cats Living Together – Mass Hysteria!”

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Peter Venkman was right! The world has gone mad, topsy turvy, everything you know is wrong! New Avengers (the Avengers book that I normally really enjoy) made me angry this week, and when I chose my reviews for today, I intended to start with the new issue of Captain America. My perusal of Mighty Avengers changed my mind. Four issues into the fight with Ultron, and we still have little-to-no idea what the heck is going on with this book, but in this age of six issue arcs for trade consumption, you might suspect that the heat would get turned up in chapter V. You, dear Spoilerite, would be right…

NAv1.jpgPreviously, on Mighty Avengers: With all the good Avengers having gone underground, Iron Man was forced to reassemble a team out of some unusual candidates. The Black Widow and the Wasp (both former Avengers chairpersons) were a shoo-in, and Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man got the nod out of loyalty, (Iron Man’s to Ms. M and hers to Wondy) while the need for a Thor figure led Tony to hire a manic-depressive and probably dangerous Sentry as well former Avengers VILLAIN Ares (at least until his cloning machines were repaired.) Their first mission put them in action against a mysterious foe who absorbed Iron Man’s Extremis-enhanced armor and body to build her own new Naked Ultron self. She then proceeded to punk out SHIELD and the Mighty A’s for three issues while Black Widow assumed command of SHIELD, Henry Pym was brought in for a consult and all of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armors were brought to life to fight the team, until Ares had an idea.

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Here’s my question about Tony Stark, just as an aside… I personally know of three situations when ALL his old armors were destroyed, and yet, here we are again with all his old faces back in action. This makes me wonder why he spends so much time rebuilding old armors that are no longer as efficient or powerful as the new ones, especially when it cuts into his time to do things like, say, manage a prisoner transfer so that the Sentinel of Liberty doesn’t get shot by a jack-booted thug with a sniper rifle. Y’know, theoretically speaking. Ares impales the closest Iron Man armor (the Mark II, the one with the pointy faceplate) with his knife, using it as a rudder to steer the armor back to the helicarrier. As for the OTHER godlike presence on the team, last issue, Sentry found his beloved wife Lindy eviscerated in their quarters, and when confronted with her killer, Naked Ultron, punched him/her/it so hard that he/she/it was thrown a hundred blocks across the city. Enraged, he goes for the kill…

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While the Golden Guardian of Prozac battles the Silver Playmate Of The Month, Ultron uses a portion of her computing power to try and override a mysterious system, and Ares steers his makeshift ‘horse’ back to the helicarrier in order to deliver his personal stratagem for taking down the big nude threat.

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“I invented the formula, yes,” replies Yellowjacket while thinking “There’s a mythological god of war IN MY FACE!” Heh. The thought balloons worked, at least in that instance, as Ares asks HOW small he can get. Hank replies sub-atomic, and Ares roars “Speak ENGLISH!” “I can shrink something down so that it would fit between the smallest of things that make things things,” replies Dr. Pym in true Bendis fashion, and Ares insists that he make “a sickness to that machine” and shrink him down to deliver it, and Pym rolls his eyes, explaining that he’s already on it. Ares roars again that the FIGHT is the distraction, that whatever she is planning is MORE than just a fistfight, and it’s obviously a thought that no one had yet considered in the ongoing fray. Black Widow tries to argue him down, but Ares knows that he’s right…

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Well, heck, how can we play America’s Favorite Gameshow (Crap! ON! YELLOWJACKET!!) if they let the big guy actually ACT HEROIC? Suddenly, the helicarrier springs back to life, and the computer systems begin operating again, and Stark’s Iron Man unit reports. “The following secured nuclear missile stations are declaring a high level emergency alert and request support.” As Ares is proven right, Maria Hill regains consciousness and order that they recall the Wasp to deliver the virus to Naked Ultron’s systems… “No,” says Ares. “You send ME.”

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Y’know what? I’m thoroughly enjoying this issue, and I have to say that I like Ares in this whole exchange. Out in the fight, The Sentry has brought the pain, lain the smack down, and declared that it’s time to play the game, declaring that Sentry 3:16 says he’s gonna punch Naked Ultron so hard that she’ll forget to be naked and shiny, but suddenly, her true objective is revealed. Naked Ultron manages to override the launch codes on one missile, and sets it flying.

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Ms. Marvel suddenly realizes that her comm system is back on, but when Black Widow shares the information, she turns steely and shoots into the air after the nuke. She smashes through the control systems, and physically alters the trajectory of the missile with pure super-strength. The missile clears atmosphere and explodes, but there’s no sign of Ms. Marvel. Things get worse when Naked Ultron finally finishes her analysis of the Sentry’s power and weakness, and manages to knock Bob Reynolds to upstate Pennsylvania with a single punch. Wonder Man finally stops holding back from hurting his friend (remember, she absorbed Tony Stark to make her current form) and unleashes his ionic energy directly into her skull, just as the cavalry arrives in the form of a founding Avenger…

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…to distract the strongest member still in the fight and take him out quickly. Hank tries to distract her by offering to let her win, to give her whatever she wants, but she tells him that she won’t hurt HIM. “You should witness what you’ve done for the world. If not for you, this would not be.” While they talk, the Iron Man system sneaks up behind her for a backstab attempt, but fails it’s obfuscation roll and gets nailed. Luckily for humanity, the distraction attack was, in itself, another distraction. Ultron starts freaking out, as her virus detection software goes off, and she suddenly panics, but it’s far too late for that…

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To be continued, indeed… Still, this was a pretty tight issue, and the plot is finally starting to dovetail into something that really moves… Frank Cho’s art is really awesome, as always, making me wish that he could keep a monthly schedule on a book like this. But this book had not one but TWO ‘Hell, YEAH!’ moments from Ares, a little heroism from Hank Pym, a lot from Ms. Marvel, and fewer annoying thought balloons than the last couple of months have had, making for a satisfying penultimate issue experience. Had this been a three issue arc, with this kind of momentum in each issue, I think my assessment of Mighty Avengers would have been completely different. All in all, it’s a 4 out of 5 star issue and the kind of book that I expected when I heard Bendis and Cho would be collaborating in the first place… Nice work.

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