REVIEW: Mighty Avengers #1

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Cage is back with a brand-new team (but the same old attitude) and the only question I have is with the art-team.  Will these new Mighty Avengers make the grade?  Your Major Spoilers review awaits!

SUMMARY

Pros
A nice group of heroes in play.
Greg Land on his best behavior.

Cons
Crossover madness in issue #1.
The ending feels very abrupt.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)


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MightyAvengers1CoverMIGHTY AVENGERS #1
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Greg Land
Inker: Jay Leisten
Colorist: Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort with Lauren Sankovitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Mighty Avengers: During the dark days of the superhuman Civil War, the artist formerly known as Power Man took his business underground, leading to the formation of the New Avengers when things finally settled down.  After the catastrophic blah blah blah of three events ago, Luke left the Avengers fold, telling wife Jessica that he had an idea of how to relaunch Heroes For Hire.  Now that Thanos is attacking Earth, will he let the cat out of the bag?

FIRST ISSUE PROBLEMS…

These days, the hype and prelaunch frippery surrounding a new comic title comes three to four MONTHS in advance, teasing us with membership, storylines and the coming attractions of a series half a year before we ever get to see the finished product.  So it is with Mighty Avengers, as we find Luke Cage, the new White Tiger and the new Power Man working in concert as the latest iteration of Cage’s H4H concept.  Their mission is interrupted first by the intervention of Superior Spider-Man, whose words convince White Tiger to walk away from the mercenary life in disgust.  It’s kind of an odd moment, given that the team has been active for exactly six pages when she quits, making the character seem like something of a hothead.  Then again, it may just be that lost comic art called “characterization”.  Either way, the quiet life Luke has been leading since quitting the big leagues is about to end, thanks to Crossover Madness Thanos lieutenant Proxima Midnight.  (Proxima is Latin for “Just Around”, and you totally should have heard her…)  The big fighty-fighty brings in the former Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, now going by Spectrum, as well as a mysterious friend of hers who (thanks to some PR issues) ends up going into action wearing a knockoff Spider-Man costume.

I’M HOPING HE’S THE CAPTAIN, BUT I THINK IT’S THE BLUE MARVEL…

I’m pleased to say that the issue works on an artistic level, with Land seemingly having grown out of the photo-reference problems that plagued his work on Uncanny X-Men a couple of years ago, which is to say that nobody is clearly traced from a photo of Triple H.  Monica has a few oddly glam/stiff poses that don’t quite work for her, but the action sequences go smoothly, and I didn’t have any moments where the use of a recognizable face or image pulled me out of the book.  From a story perspective, it’s kind of maddening in both its shortness and in a feeling of dissonance that stems entirely from the promotion of the book.  We know from the promos that the plan is for Spider-Man to join, for White Tiger to return, for more heroes than the five we see in action to join Cage’s neverending battle, but this issue chooses to be the first chapter in the formation of the team, set against the backdrop of the Infinity mega-event.  As a first issue, it’s successful in laying out our basic premise, and giving Cage, Spectrum and Power Man some nice character moments, as well as calling on the appropriate continuity references with overwhelming the story, but the big cliff-hanger (and the mystery of the Spider-Hero) feel kind of abrupt in their delivery.

THE BOTTOM LINE: SOME GOOD STUFF HERE, AND A FASCINATING TEAM.

This book follows the traditional ‘putting together a team’ routine pretty much to the letter, which suits the writer’s strengths, though, and since we’ve already been teased with She-Hulk, Blue Marvel and such, any questions about what the hell is going on here are somewhat assuaged for me.  In short, Mighty Avengers #1 reads very well, handles it’s characters deftly, looks nice and doesn’t let it’s crossover origins overwhelm it’s nascent super-team, earning a well-crafted 4 out of 5 stars overall.  If Marvel gives this book the right push and support, they could have another lasting mid-card team ala The Defenders on it’s hands, and the pedigree of the cast makes me hope that they’re on the right track to do so.

Rating: ★★★★☆