By: Al Ewing (Writer), Greg Land (Penciller), Jay Leisten (Inker), Frank D’Armata (Color Artist), VC’s Cory Petit (Letterer)
Sad times on the Blue Area of the Moon, and prices aren’t the only things being slashed at the Biggest Buy store.
One thing that’s rapidly characterizing Al Ewing’s run on Mighty Avengers is a good, conscientious use of continuity, both in context of the book itself and in the Marvel universe overall. This issue in particular picks up ongoing subplots and, even with a cross-over into the narrative of the Original Sin, does well to stand on its own as a solid example of comicbook storytelling.
The events of the Original Sin storyline show up twice here: One, as the Avengers battle a Mindless One in New York, and Two, as Blue Marvel checks in on the Watcher’s family. The battle sequence is quick– only three pages– although it offers Photon a key moment, where she builds a powerful attack that lays the monster low. It’s a nice moment for Photon, where she also explains a bit about her previous experience with NextWave. Unfortunately, it’s not a very clear explanation. It’s equally unfortunate that after her attack she only appears one more time, if you count being in the background of a small panel with her head cut off by the frame as “appearing.”
The more extensive use of the event brings Adam Brashear/Blue Marvel to the Watcher’s “family,” namely Ulana, his “wife,” and their baby. This naturally extends from the Brashear’s friendship with the Watcher (long-standing continuity, apparently), but it also provides a way for him to deal with the events of previous issues and the loss of his own family. It’s effective characterization for Brashear, while also providing a lot of humanity (for lack of a better word) in memorial for the Watcher. (That “humanity” is doubly ironic since the scene explores many quite alien concepts.)
The choice of using a slow-motion, falling/breaking mug of coffee in conjunction with this scene is interesting. I suppose, artistically, any loss can be metaphor-ed like that, and, as it’s paced throughout the scene, it’s definitely presented as slow motion. The voice-over of “You weren’t informed” is repeated, making it an echo/refrain that also emphasizes the isolation, sadness, and disconnect Blue Marvel has with the world around him. I only caught this on a sort-of re-read, however, because the panels of the mug were almost so disconnected that it disrupted the scene, and I was at first confused about the dialogue and what words were actually in what scene. Thankfully, the color art is meant to help portray this, but it wasn’t distinct enough for my first reading.
The non-Original Sin part of the story features Blade fighting Were-Roosters, and naming many other were-beasts that would have been cool to see, not just hear about. (Although the were-honey badger is a bit dated to really be funny.) The humor of the situation is in deep contrast to the amount of blood/gore in the same scene, and the significant beating Blade takes as he’s captured.
Many people already have their opinions for or against Greg Land’s art, and this issue will not do much to change that. Overall, the characters, their features and expressions, are depicted quite nicely in this issue, despite a couple of egregious examples. For example, I’m not sure what expression is on Cage’s face when he hears the word “homicide,” but it looks like he’s auditioning to be some kind of 4Chan meme.
The Bottom Line:
Three somewhat distinct plot threads are weaved together, making the book read as very dense. With each thread building from both short-term and long-term continuity, and each ending with their own kind of cliffhanger, Mighty Avengers has a sense of momentum and scale that delivers good action now and promises more action in the future. What’s really holding the book back from truly excellent comicbookery are more than a few art quibbles and the fact that the book has yet to really allow it’s full cast to interact all together for several months now.
The Grade: B+
My Rant D’Jour:
— I’m going to go on record now and say that any caption in any comicbook that does nothing but add snarky, self-referential quips actually creates a *worse* reading experience, since they take me out of the story I’m trying to immerse myself in. Once, they were there to aid the reader in identifying the key players of a scene, and now, what? They’re the writer-as-narrator trying to be funny? I don’t need a side nudge and a wink wink to get me to enjoy the story, thank you.