Mighty Avengers #21Mighty Avengers #21
From: Marvel Comics
Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Khoi Pham
Taking a decidedly different direction than the other Avengers titles Dan Slott kicks of his inaugural arc on the Mighty Avengers with a large scale threat that reintroduces a classic Avengers villain in a new, yet familiar guise. Further enhancing the story is the artwork of Khoi Pham who really does a good job a bringing a sense of history to the characters while maintaining a degree of realism throughout the issue.
If there is one hero in all of the Marvel Universe who gets very little respect - not only from his fellow heroes but from his own lack of self-esteem - it's Hank Pym. Always remembered as the man who hit his wife Pym (until he was replaced by a Skrull) was hesitant and inconsistent as a hero. Being replaced is one thing, but being replaced by a "better" copy is another matter entirely, it can do great damage to one’s ego, which is where we find Hank at this particular moment in his life.
Thankfully, Slott has a new path for Pym to forge and while Slott does a good job of moving the pieces into place as he assembles his team in a rather unique manner, he goes out of his way to bring some honor to a character that has been sorely abused by writers for quite some time by making him the focal point of the gathering.
The Scarlet Witch’s role in this story is an interesting twist and by the final page her importance to this particular story-arc is made clear. As Wanda makes her way to Hank, every potential member of the Mighty Avengers is given an effective moment of introduction, with minimal information. Slott is wise to save the majority of his exposition for later in the story as some of the scenes with Hank, while necessary, slowed down the flow of the story considerably. Slott packs a lot of story into this issue which is ably illustrated by one of Marvel’s rising talents.
While the majority of this issue takes place in Pym’s Dr. Who inspired “pocket office” the gathering of the various super-beings take place across the planet and Khoi Pham does a great job of rendering each scene appropriately. Each hero approached is given a nice introduction and at times Pham is wise to utilize a minimalist approach in his art for maximum effectiveness. Pham is quickly growing as an artist as he become more and more comfortable drawing the inhabitants of the Marvel Universe and his soft lines give his characters a very unique look. From scene to scene Pham draws a variety of backgrounds and environments without missing a beat.
There are a few issues I did have with the story. The Hulk’s introduction in this issue seemed odd. I know that Jeph Loeb is presenting a similar take on the Hulk over in his regular title, but I don’t understand how we got the dumb Hulk back after World War Hulk. Did I miss something? Was this shown in another title? Also, while I did enjoy Slott’s take on Pym, at times it seemed unnecessarily melodramatic.
This issue is essentially a new start for the title and does a good job of breaking away from its former scribes take on the team. It seems that Marvel is intent on having one Avengers title that utilizes the breadth of history that Earth’s Mightiest represent within the Marvel Universe while wisely keeping events like Dark Reign on the periphery. Mighty Avengers has taken a 180° turn from its sister books which gives the title a much needed perspective on the greater Marvel U and makes for an entertaining read.