Or – “A Question Of Degrees…”
So, there’s this giant super-menace in China, and the Young Avengers coming together to help Stature figure out what’s up with the Scarlet Witch, something with Jocasta and The Wasp sort of being a couple now, The Scarlet Witch having a secret, Quicksilver’s big lie, the USAgent being an emormous tool, and now Ronin has arrived…Â I wonder if “The Kitchen Sink” would make a good superhero codename?Â
Previously, on Mighty Avengers:Â Henry Pym returned from the Skrull homeworld to find that his reputation (not exactly sterling to begin with, what with the personality disorders and the wife-smacking and the glaaayvin!) has been cemented as the founding Avenger who is a loony.Â Of course, when he took his identity back from the furrow-chinned invader who had usurped his name, he immediately named himself after his dead-ex-wife, started an affair with a robot who is sorta kinda his daughter, picked a fistfight with Reed Richards, and essentially declared war on the government (or at least it’s public face, Norman Osborn.)Â He’s also created a teleportal system that allows him to go anywhere, an extra-dimensional Avengers mansion, and an idea (as yet unexplained) that impressed even Mr. Fantastic, so he’s not ALL crazy guggenheim.Â Still, not realizing that one of his oldest associates is actually one of his oldest enemies, and allowing the one-two punch of superdickery that is the USAgent and Quicksilver on his team make me wonder if there’s a REASON why he’s generally considered to be the least effective/heroic/leadery of the founding members of the Avengers…
We open with more history of the Inhumans (*coughretconcough*) detailing how the lost king now known as The Unspoken did something horrible involving the Alpha Primitives of Attilan (caveman-type creatures who served the Inhumans as slave labor until recent years.)Â Flash-forward to the present day, as the Unspoken prepares to declare war on the People’s Republic of China.Â “I pray to all my ancestors they deserve it,” worries the Inhuman ruler, which kindÂ of undermines his menace a bit.Â He smashes “Xerogen” crystals and puts his evil paln into action.Â I know that he’s supposed to be a monstrous alien thing and all, but the art throughout this sequcne is spectacularly unattractive, giving him huge eyes and a squishy little nose and a series of grotesque expressions…Â The Chinese super-team (Collective Man, Radioactive Man, Lady of Ten Suns, and somebody else, all vaguely reminiscent of DC’s Great Ten) leaps into action alongside Quicksilver and USAgent, but before we figure out what’s goin on there, we cut back to Avengers Mansion.Â Ronin has arrived, and barely manages to keep the Scarlet Loki from murdering the Young Avengers.
Before THAT is resolved, though, we cut to Hank Pym and Reed Richards, working on his mysterious plan.Â Hank grows out of our reality and into the “Macroverse.”Â The Young Avengers battle Loki for a page and a half, and we’re back to China!Â Quicksilver explains part of The Unspoken’s plan, just as the Xerogen gas reaches the super-team and transforms some of their number into Alpha Primitives.Â As Collective Man, USAgent and Lady of Ten Suns transmogrify into cavemen, we’re back to Avengers Mansion, where Wiccan manages to blind “Wanda” long enough for Ronin to use his foolproof, never-fail, identity verification system:Â He leaps in and sticks his tongue down her throat.Â The kiss verifies that she’s not what she seems, and a magic spell threatens to reveal who she really is.Â Loki turns tail, breaking her spells as she goes, and Stature reveals the giant distress call that occurred last issue, insisting that they hae to call in ALL the Avengers teams to stop the menace of the Unspoken!Â All apparently includes Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers, proving that Cassie may not be as smart as she thinks she is…
This issue suffers on two fronts, in my opinion.Â The primary problem with the issue is that there’s just TOO MUCH going on in the issue, with three separate story threads, a whole team of Avengers that AREN’T the team that the book is about, as well as a new Chinese super-team in the mix.Â Hank/Jocasta’s romance is name-checked for a moment, and Amadeus Cho gets a tiny cameo in the book, but overall the issue could have been somewhat more successful by focusing on one or two fewer things happening.Â The second failing for me is the art, with Khoi Pham’s pencils creating some storytelling issues, as well as an unpleasant tendency to omit eyeballs ala Leinil Yu.Â The crushing blow comes for me when the mutated USAgent looks (aside from a couple of rips in the costume) indistinguishable from the unmutated USAgent.Â Mighty Avengers started off with such promise, giving us a chance to finally see Hank Pym showing Tony Stark how it’s done, but the team has yet to really gel, and the whole “viper in their midst” subplot with Loki has overshadowed a lot of the positive things that the characters have come up with.Â Undoubtedly the weakest of the Avengers titles recently, this issue has left me wondering about the title’s permanence on my pull list.Â Mighty Avengers #29 earns a confused and disappointed 1 out of 5 stars, with the hopes that the big crossover pulls this title back up to awesome.Â Dan Slott has done some wonderful work in the past, and I hope that greatness is in the future for the Mighty A’s.