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…  I wonder if “The Kitchen Sink” would make a good superhero codename? 



Previously, on Mighty Avengers:  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.  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.)  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.  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.)  Flash-forward to the present day, as the Unspoken prepares to declare war on the People’s Republic of China.  “I pray to all my ancestors they deserve it,” worries the Inhuman ruler, which kind of undermines his menace a bit.  He smashes “Xerogen” crystals and puts his evil paln into action.  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…  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.  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.  Hank grows out of our reality and into the “Macroverse.”  The Young Avengers battle Loki for a page and a half, and we’re back to China!  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.  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:  He leaps in and sticks his tongue down her throat.  The kiss verifies that she’s not what she seems, and a magic spell threatens to reveal who she really is.  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!  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  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.  Undoubtedly the weakest of the Avengers titles recently, this issue has left me wondering about the title’s permanence on my pull list.  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.  Dan Slott has done some wonderful work in the past, and I hope that greatness is in the future for the Mighty A’s.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Ricco
    September 23, 2009 at 8:21 pm — Reply

    I dropped this after the uber inhuman more powerful then Black Bolt showed up for no reason, seems I was right in doing so.

  2. Navarre
    September 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm — Reply

    I haven’t read it either. But it sure sounds like a disappointing place to be after making it to Issue 29.

    The Avengers have been so much in the Marvel spotlight recently. But I really feel the whole set of characters and the team needs some major work.

  3. September 23, 2009 at 8:46 pm — Reply

    There’s some definite imbalance to things in this book, which I attribute partly to the hodge-podge nature of the team, seemingly created to echo classic Avengers teams past.

  4. Mijder
    September 24, 2009 at 6:28 am — Reply

    Okay, is it bad I enjoyed this issue? Mind you, it may have been the Pumpkin Spice Latte I was drinking at the time, because it is a simple fact of science that pumpkin makes everything better.

    I am a big fan of this team line-up, it screams classic Avengers for me. I am also a big fan of Dan Slott. I do however, have a huge problem with Phan’s artwork. For a book with a suck a classic feel, this wispy, sketchy, smudged water colors look really does not work. I really wish they had someone like Grummet on the title (instead of the abysmal X-Men Forever).

    I will have to agree with Matthew though that the plot may have seemed a bit disjointed and the art was bad , and …maybe it was the coffee.

    Anyway, it is staying on my pull list (which recently lost X-Men Forever, which I picked up for the art, and Batman and Robin, which I’ll pickup in trade).

    • Jacin B
      September 24, 2009 at 8:46 am — Reply

      False. It is a fact of science that bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing make everything better.

      Have a boring bunch of lettuce? Bacon, cheese and ranch dressing.
      Tired of plain old chicken nuggets? Bacon, cheese and ranch dressing.
      What should I put on my potato to make it more exciting? Bacon, cheese and ranch dressing.
      What would be good on my cheeseburger? Bacon, cheese and ranch dressing.

      You can’t do that with Pumpkin. I think you see my point.

    • September 24, 2009 at 10:40 am — Reply

      Okay, is it bad I enjoyed this issue? Mind you, it may have been the Pumpkin Spice Latte I was drinking at the time, because it is a simple fact of science that pumpkin makes everything better.

      Not at all… As I am wont to say, your mileage may vary. And the simple fact of the matter is that all criticism is subjective, so if you dug the issue, absolutely feel free to point out what worked for you. After all, I’m a big fan of Marvel Divas…

  5. Brother129
    September 24, 2009 at 9:15 am — Reply

    Thanks for the review. I thought I was the only one in the wilderness who thought that Mighty is easily the weakest of the Avengers’ titles right now. I think this Dan Slott’s first real misifre in terms of utilizing characters and developing a plot. It would be more meaningful if we saw a stronger cohesion between this book and the others. These Avengers seem less legitimate than the New Avengers and they’re supposed to be the outcasts right now. Don’t get me started on the art, Koi Pham’s work is distracting and bad to me. I don’t think it fits the style of an Avengers ensemble book. At least Lenil Yu improved over time, I don’t see any development here….

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