Mighty Avengers #1
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten and Frank D'Armata
Lettering by Cory Petit
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by David Pepose
On sale 9/11/2013
'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10
And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's Mightiest Heroes... were out of town. What do you do when the Avengers are on the other side of the universe? The answer is assemble some Mighty Avengers. Yet this spin on Marvel's old Heroes for Hire concept feels a little haphazard in its first issue, with this band of second-stringers still feeling a bit more like zeroes than heroes.
To his credit, writer Al Ewing assembles most of his heroes very quickly, injecting the comic with a welcome sense of humor. Luke Cage as the den mother for a group of Avengers Academy graduates is a nice touch, allowing Ewing to portray Luke as both a hero and as a man with some serious rough edges. Watching him play off heroes like the new Power Man and White Tiger show that this concept - whether it's Heroes for Hire or Mighty Avengers - has potential. Additionally, Ewing's take on Monica Rambeau - now known as Spectrum - is a refreshing action sequence, as she takes down the roller-skating menace known as Blue Streak.
The problem is, this book also feels like it has to stack the deck, and every time Ewing does this, it winds up cheapening the rest of the story. Tied into Marvel's Infinity event, this series actually jumps the gun with Thanos and his lieutenants, causing this book to start off dragging. Additionally, the inclusion of the snide Superior Spider-Man already feels forced, as Otto Octavius might just be hitting his point of overexposure throughout the Marvel Universe. Inexplicably, Ewing also adds in another spider-themed hero to this lineup, with the haphazardly-dressed Spider Hero, a mystery that doesn't quite add much tension to the mix. (If he winds up being the Blue Adam, consider this the worst Marvel mystery in quite some time.)
Greg Land's artwork, meanwhile, is a fairly strong outing for him. There's one page in particular, a staggering 11-panel page introducing most of the cast, that is really dynamic and action-packed, particularly with the White Tiger throwing a flying kick in the middle of the page. Land's sequence featuring Blue Streak and Spectrum is the highlight of the book, as the speediness of the two characters keeps the page from looking static. That said, there are some big red flags here, too, particularly the chunky composition for the Superior Spider-Man, as well as Luke Cage having almost the exact same raised eyebrow expression on two separate pages.
Right now, with so many other Avengers titles on the stands, Mighty Avengers still has a ways to go before it can truly stand apart from its sister titles. While Jonathan Hickman is reaching the ends of the universe with his deliberately plotted Infinity, Mighty Avengers still feels a little too slap-dash, a little too convenient to really measure up. Unless you're a die-hard Luke Cage fan, this series is missing a key ingredient to really make it succeed.