Late last week, I was asking my friend Neil (who is also co-owner of Kowabunga comic – shameless plug CLICK HERE!) to name me a book I should review that I normally don’t read. After talking about books that he thought were on either end of the quality spectrum, he got to the concept enigma that is The Mighty Avengers. He described what he called a “mass exodus” of readers from the book. This intrigued me because the last three issues (#21-23) were a new “jumping on” point and it’s being written by Dan Slott (possibly one of the most underrated writers out there), so mimicking Rorscharch, I thought “hmmmmmph” I took the issues and gave them a read.
The arc opens with the what looks like the End Times approaching, the oceans have turned to blood, the weather has gone deadly nuts and plagues have run rampant. The presumed dead Scarlet Witch starts appearing to a host of heroes trying to unite them to face Earth’s greatest disaster. Turns out, she is assembling the original Avengers, or at least those that fit the archtypes, to fight the cause of the turmoil, the villain Chthon, the God of Chaos who has now possessed the body of Quicksilver.
In some ways, this is much cooler than it sounds… Iron Man, US Agent, Hulk, Vision, Hercules, Amadeus Cho, Jocasta, Stature, and Hank Pym… sounds like an Avengers all star line-up. Some of the greatest writing moments happen when people are interacting with the walking failure, Hank Pym. Tony Stark totally disregards him as the leader, even though Scarlet Witch has deemed him so, to quote Tony,”reason number one that you can’t be leader is you are Hank Pym”. Herc and US Agent blow him off, because they “don’t want to back the wrong horse”. Ouch! Now, what is sad is that as the reader, you are right there with them thinking that Hank simply doesn’t have what it takes. Especially since recently he has renamed himself the Wasp, in honor of Janet… naming yourself after your dead wife does have an ook factor. Then you have the romance between the Stature and the re-booted Vision. And also Amadeus Cho who is not impressed by any of these big leaguers. These integrations and others of new and old Avenger blood give this book what it needs, some re-imagined life blood. Plus the Dark Reign tie-in of the Avengers’ ultimate baddie!
So, in my opinion Dan Slott is doing exactly what is should be doing, writing some great material that is both character and plot driven. So what’s this issue? Unfortunately, all fingers point to the art.
I know Khoi Pham is one of Marvel’s young guns, but his animation-based style lends itself much more to a kids-pointed Marvel Adventures series rather than to one of the supposed flagship books of the Marvel Universe. Overall, the art is average, but the frames that are bad are so bad that it would taint everything else. At one point the Hulk looks like something out of the movie “Ghoulies”. I do have hope because the book is getting a new artist as of the next issue. Enter another young gun, Rafa Sandoval.
With a writer like Slott and a positive switch in artist, The Mighty Avengers could once again become mighty.