Or – “Doubling Up To Keep Up With Bagley.”
See, the joke there is that Mark Bagley draws ridiculously fast.Â After the first seven issues of Mighty A’s took somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty-three years to come out, (even though they were supposed to tie into issues of NEW Avengers which then ended up having to be in their future… or however that sentence began) Marvel apparently wants to make up the difference, cranking out a Bagley-drawn issue roughly every seventeen minutes.Â The effect, whether intentional or not, has been to make Mighty Avengers feel like a completely different book…Â but, you have to ask, is it one I want to read?
Previously, on Mighty Avengers:Â During their first mission, Tony Stark’s hand-picked Avengers (consisting of a strong guy, a strong guy, a strong girl, another strong guy, a girl with no powers at all, a girl who’sÂ two inches tall, and Tony himself) ran afoulÂ of a naked woman claiming to be Ultron.Â Within seconds of stopping that threat, they combined forces with Luke Cage’s Avengers to fight an invasion of symbiotes, ala Venom.Â During all of this madness, it was discovered that (somehow) this was all the work of Doctor Doom, even though the question of WHERE all these symbiotes came from remains unanswered.Â Because this is Marvel as written by Bendis, they immediately leap into action with no though to the consequences and all hell is probably going to break loose as a result.
Issue #9 kicks off with a quiet moment, as Doctor Doom visits with a woman that he’s trying to woo.Â It’s actually a pretty interesting scene, especially as the woman in question is Morgan Le Fey, and he’s travelled back in time to the year 1211 to meet her.Â The implication here is that they just did some things not approved by the Comic Code Authority, and Morgan gives himÂ a seductive smile, asking for a present.Â Doom reminds her that if he brings her something from the future, it could damage the timestream, and bids her farewell.Â “I shall return to you,” he says, and Morgan replies “With a gift.Â Or do not come back.”Â As he teleports home, Doom finds his ancestral home under siege.Â The head lackey in charge explains that the Venom Virus was launched, and that Iron Man has backtracked it to them.Â “Damn it,” says Doom, somewhat out of character (at least in my mind.)
We see the Avengers in action, attacking in full force, and my first thought is “Bagley really can’t draw the new horrible Iron Man mask.”Â Doom launches his counterstrike, and the Avengers take fire until Ares has an idea.Â He flies the Quinjet RIGHT INTO CASTLE DOOM, at full speed, then leaps from the flames, hacking at Doombots with aplomb.Â “Do you have any ideas that won’t cost me north of 25o million dollars?” thinks Iron Man.Â Heh…Â We are then treated to six pages of splash, illustrating the huge conflict, and I’m a bit irritated.Â Yes, it’s very well drawn, but it’s a full third of the book used for fight scenes.Â Iron Man breaks into the castle, and places Doom under arrest, and the two armored dictators clash.Â Doom cheats a bit, using magic to overcome Stark’s defenses.Â Team leader Ms. Marvel (leader in name only, really, as Iron Man undermines or overrides her every decision) sends The Sentry in to take Doom out.Â The attack knocks down a huge chunk of Doom’s castle (“Holy $#!+!” thinks Spider-Woman) knocking all three warriors through the floor…Â and into the time machine!
While the Avengers regroup, Iron Man awakes on a rooftop, as his armor reboots.Â “Satellite connection cannot be made.Â Please stand by.”Â He looks out to see Times Square, and realizes that he is in his own past.Â Doom suddenly appears, roaring “You did this, not I!Â And you will pay for it with your dying breath!Â I promise you this!Â On my mother’s eternal soul, I promise you.”Â What’s got up his skirt, anyway?Â As Issue #10 dawns, we find our third time-tossed character, waking up in an alley, as a very retro splash page announces the fact that “All the answers you need are on the very net page!”Â It’s cute, and the coloring is done in a manner that evokes the process color that they used in Marvel comics of the 70’s.
Sentry takes to the air, trying to figure out where he is, and I crack up at visual effects.Â See, back in the 70’s, Marvel used to put coming attractions for their other books in the margins of each comic, and the creators have used that technique here (along with cream colored pages that make me think of the days when comics were printed on actual newsprint.)Â He sees Thor in action, and realizes that Avengers Tower is missing (nobody points out the presence of two more towers at the end of the island, either) and suddenly sees a superhero leaping into action…
The Sentry!Â Bob, naturally freaks a bit, collapsing onto a rooftop as he watches himself fighting the Void.Â Meanwhile, Doom and Stark attack one another, and Iron Man spits “Cut the $#!+, Victor.”Â It’s another example of (to my ear) inappropriate dialogue.Â He talkes Doom down, and convinces him that they must work together, and Victor realizes the wisdom in his words.Â “Okay.Â Yes,” says the monarch of Latveria, and I don’t buy any of this.Â Still, Mark Bagley draws a really awesome Doom, giving the armor personality without cheating and having the faceplate change every panel.Â Without warning, Doom is poleaxed by an angry Sentry (the future one) who pummels him repeatedly, crying “PUT IT BACK!”Â
The two armored jerks put aside their differences long enough to calm down their crazed traveling companion, and Sentry reveals that he saw himself.Â “I want to get out of here,” babbles the Sentry, and Iron Man agrees that they all do.Â He turns to Doom, and says “Right, doctor?”Â “Is he insane?” is all Doom replies.Â Heh.Â The threesome puts their domes together, and realizes that the only way to get a time machine without flying to Latveria is to break into the Baxter Building, but doing so would change their past.Â “One would argue that a man like Richards, like you, like myself, has seen and done soe much that a time-space event like this wouldn’t matter…” says Doom.Â “I’d hate to be wrong and we get back home and the apes have taken over because of something we said or did here,” retorts Iron Man, and Doom… agrees!Â Both Stark and I are fascinated by the idea of Doctor Doom sitting down to watch ‘Planet of The Apes,’ when suddenly Iron Man has an epiphany.
“Bob.Â You, right now, can go into the Baxter Building and get the time machine.”Â Sentry doesn’t know what he means, but Iron Man reminds him that his past will be wiped away, that no one will remember anything that had to do with him.Â “The worst thing that’s ever happened to anyone, and now it’s their great news that could get us home,” Sentry ruminates, and flies off to get the machine.Â Doom admires the achievement of a man who could wipe his hated foe out of everyone’s memory, and Iron Man snaps “You are a horror.”Â “A lot more people hate you than hate me,” responds Victor truthfully.Â Can I get a witness, Spoilerites?
Sentry walks into the Baxter, and meets the Thing, who tries to slow him down.Â “No one goes in the lab, buddy.Â Not me, not you.Â Lock and key,” says Ben.Â He tries to call Reed, but Sentry smashes the phone.Â “The good news is you won’t remember any of this,” Sentry remarks, and punches The Thing halfway to Poughkeepsie.Â He knocks the Thing OUT OF THE BUILDING, smashing him into the pavement, then all three of them enter Reed’s time machine and head for home.Â “When we get back, you’re under arrest for crimes against humanity,” says Iron Man, but Doom doesn’t recognize his authority. They arrive in the present, seemingly immediately after they left, and Doom… is gone!Â As Sentry takes to the air, he sees Ms. Marvel, warning them both to get out, just as a massive explosion takes out the remains of the castle.Â An explosion with Iron Man at ground zero…
Part two of this story really was better, but mostly because of the character bits between Doom and Iron Man and the conceit of making the comic look like an actual Marvel from the 1970’s.Â Sentry’s histrionics got old very quickly, and the end was, yet again, a “WTF?” moment from out of left field.Â Since issue #1, Mighty Avengers has been like the middle 30 minutes of a Steven Seagal movie, heavy on action and momentum, but lacking a lot in the way of PLOT and that doesn’t change here.Â Still, Bagley’s storytelling is strong (save for a couple of strange assymetricalÂ faces on Sentry and The Wasp that make the art look somewhat rushed) and makes up for a lot of the story’s shortcomings.Â Unfortunately, it doesn’t fix all of them, leaving me with one issue that’s completely forgettable, and one that’s mostly memorable for it’s gimmicks.Â This leaves us with a combined score of just 2 out of 5 stars, as Mighty Avengers #9 & #1o don’t quite bring the awesome.Â Far be it from me to judge, but perhaps it’s time to let somebody OTHER than Brian Michael Bendis play with some of the good toys?