Why doesn’t Marvel use this classic Stan Lee line any more? It’s corny as heck, certainly, but occasionally it’s just perfect. Take Mighty Avengers #30, in which writers Dan Slott and Christos Gage ensure all sorts of pleasing things happen: Various members go ape, or at least Neanderthal; Jarvis is reunited with old friends; Hank Pym finds the universe provides a surprising confidence boost; and the Mighty, Young and New Avengers, along with the Anti-Initiative Avengers Resistance, unite to fight a common foe no single hero team can withstand.
While said ‘common foe’ – former Inhuman king the Unspoken – has been the least interesting part of recent issues, brooding around Tibet, bossing around Alpha Primitives and fighting Chinese superheroes, here he finally finds his mojo. I just wish he’d find his name, as The Unspoken sounds like something his successor, Black Bolt, rejected.
Nevertheless, it’s good to see him finally earn the build-up he’s been given by raising terror weapon the Slave Engine and unleashing it on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. He shows the determination and arrogance of a classic Marvel villain and guest artists Sean Chen and Mark Morales have him looking the part, complete with patented Kirby dots. It’s comic book action in the Mighty Marvel Manner (oh, there’s another one).
But it’s not the best part of the book. I got even more pleasure from the gathering of Avengers past and present who answered the Mighties’ call to arms. Just seeing a roomful of heroes steadfast and true took me back to the glory days of the Seventies and Eighties Avengers, when the old order would changeth every couple of years via mass meetings (rather than insane destruction) at Avengers Mansion.
Still, though, that wasn’t the best part of the book. That came with scenes of Hank Pym, the not so winsome Wasp, confronting a destiny he never dreamed of, and one that makes happy sense in the Marvel Universe. Likely there are spoilers all over the net, but on the off-chance you’ve not seen them, I’m keeping my big gob shut. For this is really one of those times when I don’t want to spoil the thrill of discovery. Where Hank goes, who he meets, what he learns and the effect it has – these are things anyone with even a vague interest in the oft-troubled hero will want to discover for themselves. I want all fans of good superheroics reading this sumptuous series. This is part #4 but there’s a clever recap page and other stuff is explained as the story rattles along like a quinjet that’s been bitten by a mongoose.
I adored the care with which this issue was put together. The smart plot by Slott, the crisp, witty dialogue by Gage; the gloriously clean, dynamic pencils of Chen and the sharp inks of Morales; the vibrant colours of John Rauch and pleasingly large lettering of Dave Lanphear. The beautiful cover by Marko Djurdjevic that says we’re going to lose this guy to film posterland any day now. There’s a proper roll call with headshots. And look at the ‘Avengers Assemble’ logo partway through – it’s not just the classic cry, it’s lettered to recall the mag’s original logo. Really, it’s time Marvel gave in and put the original Avengers logo on this book. Because I demanded it.