First things first, buy Ms. Marvel #4. It’s fantastic and waiting for you at your local comic book provider. Now, this next book I’ve wanted to review for a while. Not because it’s a laughably bad book, far from it. Mighty Avengers actually captures quite a bit of the personal charm of books past such as New Avengers and Heroes for Hire with a stellar cast. The stories it uses are rather fresh as well. But the one reason I can never recommend this book to anyone ever is because Greg Land is the absolute worst.
Let me clarify my previous statement. Comic books rely heavily on a very visual language. The panels have to convey both movement and emotion; he stumbles on both of these. Ever since I can remember, every Greg Land drawing looks like nobody is moving, as if all these heroes and villains gathered together, picked poses, and stopped moving altogether no matter how strange or uncomfortable those poses. So instead of getting a glimpse of an ongoing fight, instead it feels as if I’ve wandered in on a statuary. Also? He doesn’t know how to draw little boobs. I suppose I may be in a minority of men but there was a time when Pixie from the X-Men was under fifteen and the way he drew her made her look like a twenty two year old sorority sister. So when this book initially came out I gave a great big sigh and let it pass by without so much as a second glance at anatomically ridiculous melons. But the story and characters just kept being great.
Mighty Avengers is what Avengers, Avengers World, New Avengers, Uncanny Avengers and every other Avengers isn’t; Mighty Avengers is a team of people that care about each other. The book doesn’t focus on team tantrums or dull drama that’s resolved a page later. It features Marvel fan favorites such as Luke Cage, She-Hulk, and Falcon. It even pulled some characters from the archives, resurrecting characters like Photon, The Blue Marvel, and even Blade. There was a spat where the “Superior” Spider-Man had to make an appearance but that was mercifully quick. The genial rapport that these characters have with each other really bolsters the book. Do they have arguments? Sure, White Tiger allowed herself to be possessed by some weird cat God and the team had to stop her. Because you know—comic books.
This issue is of course a tie in to that giant, story eating amoeba, “Original Sin”. But for a tie-in? It wasn’t so bad. The book actually took a different direction and dealt with the sudden emotional weight on The Blue Marvel. Sure, there was a fight with a mindless one, and it made a reference to “Nextwave”—which is important because Nextwave was the best thing in comics ever and it’s all your fault it was cancelled. Anyway, while the throw down in New York is busting cars and breaking buildings, The Blue Marvel makes a rendezvous with The Watcher’s widow—who has a huge rack! Surprise, surprise Greg Land! She then talks about not being so sad because after all, as a Watcher she saw the whole murder bit coming. Her emotional detachment makes me kind of feel all right. I mean if her widow can’t even pretend to be upset, why should we do more than get a Hallmark “Sorry he got shot” card?
I think Mighty Avengers captures what the essence of an Avengers book should be. At no point do we think the Avengers will ever fail in their mission; it’s an unwritten rule that the story arc will end with them standing triumphant. So why focus so much attention on the obstacle they’re trying to defeat? Mighty Avengers takes an alternate route and makes the reader care that these people are together on a team. It’s really cool that Luke Cage looked up to The Blue Marvel as a kid and the mixed history of Photon with Blade keeps the reader intrigued. Of course they’re going to win the day, these guys are Avengers and the Avengers win.
Team books these days seem to be forgetting that personalities mesh in different ways. It doesn’t matter if the team just formed or has deep roots together. When Invincible formed that team to take down the Viltrumites, he had his father, his brother, Allen the Alien, The Space Racer and that murderous cat thing, each with their own motivations—none of it got in the way of the mission but it always reshaped the mission in interesting ways. We all knew they would succeed in defeating the Viltrumites—I mean they kind of did, they blew up their planet so the Viltrumites infiltrated Earth but that’s beside the point. Instead what we got were interesting character moments like from Allen the Alien who was happy to be the soldier following orders until the general was killed and things sort of fell to him.