The Initiative: Mighty Avengers #1 Review

With the advent of The Initiative comes an onslaught of new titles from Marvel Comics. It is similar to the move by DC Comics to flood the market with new titles after the end of Infinite Crisis. Basically, the plan is to throw enough crap at the wall and hope that some of it sticks. Mighty Avengers certainly appeals to me. Mainly, because maybe we will actually get to see the Avengers in action as a team for what has seemed like an eternity.

Plus, with the New Avengers slated to be Bendis’ soapbox for everything wrong about the Registration Act, I’m looking forward to the fact that we get at least one Avengers title concentrated on just delivering exciting super hero adventures. I also love Frank Cho’s artwork. I certainly dig his style far more than that of New Avengers artist Leinel Yu. I am cautiously optimistic about Might Avengers #1. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: Frank Cho

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with the Avengers consisting of Iron Man, Ms. Marvel, Wasp, Sentry, Wonder Man, Aries and Black Widow facing off with a horde of giant sized subterranean monsters attacking Manhattan.

We then cut to four hours earlier. Tony Stark is showing off his new gorgeous gold and red Iron Man style helicarrier to Ms. Marvel. Tony then tells Ms. Marvel that it is time to re-form the Avengers. That the world needs the Avengers. Tony mentions how the Avengers have always formed by chance. They always seem to gather by fate.

Tony and Ms. Marvel then enter room with tons of computer monitors on the wall. Each screen has a picture of a different super hero. Tony then tells Ms. Marvel that this time they can pick who is going to be in this version of the Avengers. Ms. Marvel comments that Tony has all the coolest toys.

We shift back to the present with the Avengers brawling with the giant monsters. Iron Man shows off some of his fancy new powers like full form repulsor rays.

We flashback to Ms. Marvel and Tony picking out team members. Ms. Marvel brings up the idea of having an all-powerhouse lineup. That it has never been done before. Tony counters that it has never been done before because the roster of heroes has to have balance for all types of situations. Street savvy, scientific acumen, dirty fighters and the other types. This creates nice team chemistry. Ms. Marvel retorts like the chemistry between Spider-Man and Luke Cage.

Tony tells Ms. Marvel that she knows they are going to have to bring Luke and Spider-Man in. Ms. Marvel comments that they should be protecting the world and not trying to apprehend people like Spider-Man and Luke Cage. Tony stares at Ms. Marvel and whispers “If we don’t…they will.” Ms. Marvel asks “They who?” Tony just stares at Ms. Marvel.

We then cut to the present and see the Avengers brawling with the monsters. This is spliced with Tony and Ms. Marvel picking out three different Avengers. They pick Wasp because she was one of the best Avengers. They pick Wonder Man since he is a powerhouse and Ms. Marvel calls Wonder Man the second best Avenger. Tony retorts that Thor was the best Avenger. They agree that they need to pick a “Thor” and a “Wolverine.”

Tony then selects the Sentry. Ms. Marvel says he is too much of a basket case to have on the team. Tony counters that is immensely powerful and has enormous potential. That the Avengers can give him the necessary guidance and growth to have him mature into one of the all-time greatest heroes.

Then Tony says they need a ninja. Tony suggests Black Widow. Tony comments that he loves her. Then retracts it by saying she is okay, but that Ms. Marvel looks better. That leaves a “Thor” and “Wolverine” left. Ms. Marvel mentions that she knows someone who is a “Thor” and a “Wolverine” all rolled up into one.

We then cut to Iron Man and Ms. Marvel at a construction site. They approach Aries who has been posing as a regular construction worker trying to earn a living. Aries says that he has a mortal son and is raising the boy himself to have a mortal life. That his son will be free from Aries’ horrible father, Zeus.

Iron Man tells Aries that he is going to register and then be an Avenger. Or, Iron Man will have him arrested and deported to Olympus. Iron Man says he respects everything Aries stands for and knows that it would take Iron Man and five or his more powerful heroes to take down Aries. And that Iron Man would bring six more just for sage measure.

Aries smiles and comments that he likes a man who won’t back down from a fight with a god. Aries says if Iron Man will pay him what he is currently getting at the construction job then he will join the Avengers. Iron Man agrees. Aries then chuckles and reveals that he has been getting paid $44 an hour.

We cut back to the present where Aries is just laying waste to a ton of monsters. Iron Man suddenly gets an emergency alert. There are eleven different natural disasters occurring all at the same time around the globe.

Iron Man then alerts the other Avengers to the fact that the entire world’s weather patterns have gone crazy. The Avengers believe that the Mole Man is controlling these monsters. Suddenly, the Mole Man comes out of the hole the monsters where coming from. Mole Man yells that he told them all to leave his kingdom alone. That his kingdom has been destroyed and his children are dead.

Suddenly, Iron Man’s army starts going crazy and begins to bend and melt apart like a Salvador Dali painting. There is a huge flash of light and where Iron Man was standing is a naked woman. Her name is Ultron. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Nice. Mighty Avengers #1 was better than I expected. I thought this was a pretty darn good read. Bendis delivered a solid debut issue that covered all the necessary requirements of a first issue of a new series. Bendis quickly introduced the new team and wasted no time at all kicking off the very first story arc. And he did it so in real style with the introduction of an all new Ultron.

I dig how Bendis plotted and framed this debut issue. Bendis wisely chose to start the issue with the team already assembled and facing a huge menace in a bunch of giant monsters. We then got a series of flashbacks mixed in with the massive brawl that explained the formation of this new version of the Avengers.

This was a good idea by Bendis. It allowed him to start the first issue with plenty of action and to get the initial story arc off to a fast start. And it kept the reader’s attention while he mixed in the flashback scene showing how the team members were selected.

Too often writers take way too long to introduce the team members and to establish the first story arc. I like cutting right to the chase and starting in the middle of the story and then sprinkling in the flashbacks to show how the team was formed.

The pacing on Mighty Avengers #1 was perfect. Bendis nicely contrasted the frantic paced fight scenes with the slower paced scenes where Tony and Ms. Marvel selected the new team members. This gave the issue a rather enjoyable flow.

I liked how Bendis explained the construction of this version of the Avengers. Bendis is totally right. A super team has to have balance and chemistry. And there are certainly certain types of members you have to have. And I agree that the ninja, the powerhouse and the dirty fighter are all necessary components of a successful super team.

And this collection of Avengers has all the necessary components to make one fantastic team. I absolutely love the roster for the Mighty Avengers. And this definitely seems to be one of the most powerful Avengers roster of all time. You got Sentry, Aries, Wonder Man, Iron Man and Ms. Marvel all on one team. Those are some insanely heavy hitters. Throw in the Wasp and the Black Widow and you have the makings of an excellent roster.

As always, Bendis crafted some great dialogue. If nothing else, Bendis can deliver some snappy and entertaining dialogue. What I found to be the most intriguing aspect of the dialogue was the Bendis employed the use of thought bubbles. That is a technique that I have not seen in a very long time.

Writers just use narration blocks in order to deliver the character’s thoughts to the reader. And I think that narration blocks make for cleaner panels and is much more stylistically pleasing. Initially, I didn’t like that Bendis was using thought balloons. However, after a couple of pages, I adjusted to it and actually really enjoyed it. It was a neat retro feel and was quite refreshing. Now, I don’t want to see thought bubbles making a comeback in ever comic book, but I got a kick out of Bendis using them in this issue.

The thought bubbles were a great way for Bendis to mix the rapid fire thoughts of one character in response to the spoken dialogue of another character. It gave the reader a great insight into what the character was thinking right at that moment during the conversation. Plus, it gave the scenes a realistic feel since we all think things to ourselves while we are talking with another person.

The scene with Tony and Ms. Marvel was a great example of this. Each one of their thoughts to themselves in responds to what the other person said were pretty funny. Plus, it let the reader know that there is definitely something going on with Tony and Ms. Marvel. Tony clearly appears to have the hots for Ms. Marvel.

I’m interested to see if Bendis investigates a possible relationship between these two characters at some point in the future. I think that Tony and Carol would make a pretty cool couple. Plus, Tony needs to date a chick that can take care of herself.

I love Aries. I am not familiar with this character and have never read a comic book with him in it. However, I am now officially a huge fan of Aries. This dude is Thor and Wolverine all rolled into one! I totally dig his attitude. His response to Ms. Marvel questioning him about his relationship with Zeus was priceless. “Is there anything about me that suggests I’m the kind of guy who wants to share his feelings with a woman?”

And Aries explanation as to why the God of War didn’t get involved in the events of Civil War was priceless. “That wasn’t a war. It was a slap fight.” I love it! Aries is a pretty interesting character that has plenty of potential. I am really interested to see what Bendis does with this character.

I like how Bendis writes Ms. Marvel. Seriously, I have never liked Ms. Marvel’s character at all. But, I have to admit that Bendis really warmed me up to her character. I really enjoyed the dialogue that Bendis gave Ms. Marvel. Ms. Marvel is a neat combination of confidence without arrogance. She is funny and laid back but is certainly not a ditzy character. Plus, Ms. Marvel got most of the funny dialogue especially her comments about the Wasp and the Sentry.

I think that making Ms. Marvel the leader of the Avengers was an excellent choice. Tony is already the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and has enough on his plate. I’m glad that Bendis didn’t make Iron Man the leader. I think that this is a great opportunity for Ms. Marvel to grow as a character and develop into an A-list hero in the Marvel Universe. I’m actually pretty interested in seeing what Bendis does with Ms. Marvel. I’m still amazed that Bendis got me interested in her character with just one issue.

I have always been a big fan of the Sentry. I hope that Bendis is able to finally give the Sentry some quality character growth. I think that this character has tons of potential, but has gotten somewhat stagnant. It seems that most writers just don’t know what to do with his character. I hope that Bendis can work some magic and flesh out the Sentry’s character into something interesting.

I was intrigued by Tony whispering to Ms. Marvel that if they don’t get Luke and Spider-Man then “They” will. It appears that Tony is referring to S.H.I.E.L.D. or the government. Could he be referring to some other group? This was a rather titillating scene and I’m curious to see where Bendis goes with this.

And to top everything off, Bendis ended Mighty Avengers with a huge bomb! Ultron! A hot naked female Ultron! I most definitely didn’t see that coming. I cannot wait to learn more about this new Ultron and what exactly happened to Iron Man. This is definitely the beginning of what should be a pretty wild ride.

I love Frank Cho’s art. I have always like Cho’s style and it is great to see him drawing a big name super hero team like the Avengers. And maybe I’m in the extreme minority, but I am psyched that Cho put Wonder Man in the red leisure suit from the 1980’s. That costume rocks, baby!

Oh yeah, I also dig the Godzilla cameo that Frank Cho gave us in the beginning of this issue. I love any and all Kaiju so it was cool to see Gojira rampaging in a Marvel comic once again.

The Bad: Bendis just absolutely sucks at writing Tony Stark. Bendis clearly doesn’t get Tony’s character at all or what makes him tick. Honestly, I don’t even think Bendis likes Tony’s character or even wants to write him. Bendis’ Stark is nothing compared to what the Knaufs give us over on Iron Man.

Even though I enjoyed Mighty Avengers #1, I still think it is a mistake by Marvel to have the same writer writing both the New Avengers and the Mighty Avengers. You don’t see that with the X-Men titles or with the Spider-Man titles. And I don’t think we should see it here. Having two different writers helps to give each Avengers title their own unique voice and flavor.

Plus, it is hard for one writer to remain neutral and portray both Avengers teams as the good guys. It is easier to have two separate writers engage in a friendly rivalry to portray their team of Avengers as the real good guys. Yeah, I understand that some writers can properly write characters that have a different opinion than the author. Bendis certainly has displayed that ability during the Civil War tie-in issues.

And, I get that Bendis is going to deliver to different tones with the Mighty Avengers and the New Avengers. That still doesn’t change my opinion that Marvel should have used two different writers for the two Avengers titles.

Overall: Mighty Avengers #1 was a blast to read. Bendis did a good job delivering a quality debut issue that got this initial story arc off to a fast start. I think that this title has the potential to be a pretty good read each and every month. If you have been missing classic Avengers adventures ever since Civil War reared its head then Mighty Avengers is definitely for you.

3 Comments

  1. I thought the “they will” “who?” exchange was answered with a sledge hammer– in the last frame of Tony’s silent stare, there’s a red ‘SHIELD’ sign over his shoulder.

  2. I thought this was a really good issue.

    I was suprised that I enjoyed the thought bubbles, I normally hate them. It shouldn’t go any further than a few lines each time though. Its a slippery slope.

    I was kinda surprised for a second, by Tony and Carol’s comments about Pyms, and then thought that it was a really really well handled.

    As for the “they will” comment… I was thinking the Thunderbolts. I read somewhere that they are run by a division completly seperate from SHIELD, and from the few Thunderbolts previews I’ve seen so far, they aren’t really reigning the villians turned hero in very much.

  3. Rokk asked above about the difference between Tony, director of SHIELD, and SHIELD.

    As he says here Tony’s pretty aware that he’s not wanted at SHIELD by SHIELD, that he’s viewed as an interloper. One reason for that might be that he’s a superhero– to anyone suspicious of superheroes, it looks like one of the inmates has just been made warden.

    Looked at from the other firection, Tony could be afraid that the difference between him getting the renegades and SHIELD getting them is the difference between the renegades’ getting arrested and their getting killed.

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