The Revolution liked Slott’s debut issue on Mighty Avengers #21. It was not as good as I was expecting, but it was still a solid read. Hopefully, now that Slott has been able to get the set-up work over Mighty Avengers #22 will be a bit faster paced and exciting read. Slott’s roster for the Mighty Avengers has some potential to be rather entertaining. Let’s hope for the best and hit this review for Mighty Avengers #22.
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Khoi Pham
Inks: Allen Martinez and Danny Miki
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Quicksilver narrating the events of what he was up to prior to his body getting possessed by Chthon at the end of Mighty Avengers #21. Quicksilver’s narration looks live cursive script on pages of a book.
Evidently, Pietro had returned to Wundagore which was the only place that he every felt at home or where he had any family. Pietro was helping the Knights of Wundagore try and stop Modred from getting all the pages of the Darkhold. Unfortunately, Quicksilver is not fast enough to stop Modred from getting the final page to the Book of the Darkhold. Modred then teleports away with the final page.
The Knights of Wundagore then radio Quicksilver and tell him that Modred is back at Wundagore at the Darque Hold. Quicksilver races back to Wundagore. Quicksilver arrives at the Darque Hold and sees Modred standing above the bodies of the slain Knights of Wundagore. Modred is holding the radio and confesses that he mimicked the cry for help by the Knights.
Modred blasts Quicksilver and then has Quicksilver shackled to a cross. Modred says that he needs the body of a child of Magda to use as a vessel to bring Chthon back to this Earth. Quicksilver narrates that he now remembers where he is. Quicksilver then says that the next question is where in the world is he?
We cut to the Mighty Avengers discombobulated and arguing as to why Scarlet Witch brought all of them to this location. Stature goes to attack Scarlet Witch since Scarlet Witch did kill Stature’s dad. However, it turns out that it is just Scarlet Witch’s astral form that is present.
The Hulk rages that he wants to know why he was brought here. The other Avengers try and restrain Hulk. During the fracas, the Hulk punches Jocasta which causes her to become damaged. Jocasta then shuts down.
Henry Pym cradles Jocasta’s body. Pym yells for everyone to stop fighting now. The Hulk growls that he wants nothing to do with the assembled heroes. The Hulk then bounds off from the scene. Scarlet Witch complains that she brought Hulk here for a reason. That the Hulk is the strongest one and Pym is just letting him leave.
We see Chthon and Modred viewing the fractured group of heroes. Chthon says that he has faced the Avengers before. But, that this motley collection of heroes is pure chaos. That they are nothing like the Avengers he faced before. Chthon says that these heroes will be only a minor irritation.
Scarlet Witch then teleports away from the scene. Cho screams at Pym that the world is at stake here. Cho tells Pym that he needs to come up with a plan. Pym responds that Cho can worry about the world. Pym says that he is going to worry about his own world right now. Pym walks off with Jocasta’s limp body.
We cut to Chthon using Quicksilver’s super speed to race all around the world and spread his chaos cascade across the planet. Chthon is transforming the entire planet into living breathing chaos. That there will be no corner of the world safe from Chthon’s touch.
We shift to Tony in outer space tracking Chthon’s trail as he races around the globe. Tony notices that some kind of pattern is emerging in Chthon’s route. Some kind of reoccurring fractal. Tony then heads back to Earth and lands near where Wundagore where the Mighty Avengers are located.
Scarlet Witch notes Iron Man’s arrival. Scarlet Witch says maybe she was too hasty in selecting Pym as her champion. Scarlet Witch says maybe she can kill two birds with one stone. That for Stark she will create a test and for the Hulk a shiny bauble to get his attention.
The Hulk then sees Iron Man. The Hulk thinks back to the events leading up to World War Hulk and gets all mad at Iron Man. Again. Therefore, Hulk attacks Iron Man. Scarlet Witch frowns and says that her plan might have worked too well. Scarlet Witch then teleports from the scene. We see Hulk smashing away at Iron Man.
We shift to an inn located a few miles east of Iron Man and the Hulk. The Mighty Avengers walk into the inn. Pym re-enlarges a work station that he brought with him. Pym proceeds to repair Jocasta. Stature says that Scarlet Witch is leading them around by their noses and that they should not trust her.
Jarvis enters the workshop to get Pym. Jarvis is embarrassed to find Pym hunched over and working on what appears to be either Jocasta’s breasts or vagina. Either way, her legs are spread open. (This is getting creepy.) Pym says he is done. Jocasta is back online and better than ever.
Pym walks out of the workshop with Jarvis. Pym says that now that he has Jocasta repaired that they can get on the move. Pym asks Cho to stay behind and watch Jocasta. Pym asks Jocasta if she is going to be all right. Jocasta’s breast place is open and we see a glowing blue orb. Jocasta smiles and touches it and answers “Yes, Dr. Pym. I will be…now. Good luck.”
We slide back to Iron Man and the Hulk brawling with each other. We then cut to the Mighty Avengers entering the Darque Hold. We see a bunch of strange glowing ruins written on the walls of the cave. US Agent has his M9 semi-automatic gun drawn. In contrast to that, Pym has his little stinger gun set to stun.
Modred appears and says an incantation and the ruins from the walls spring to life and surround the Mighty Avengers. Pym orders that when dealing with a magic wielder that if you take out the spell-caster then you take out the spell.
We shift back to Iron Man and Hulk still fighting. Iron Man blasts the giant rocket boosters that he used to get into space. Iron Man then quickly puts a shield up around himself. The rocket boosters blow up in a massive explosion that takes out the Hulk.
We cut to Chthon sensing the Mighty Avengers attacking the Darque Hold. Chthon is enraged and races toward Wundagore. We slide over to the Mighty Avengers still fighting the shadowy figures in the Darque Hold. Pym tells the Mighty Avengers to aim for the glowing symbols on the shadowy figures. That the symbols must be what is animating the figures. Pym says that it must be like markings on a golem or code for a primitive form of android. Hercules laughs and says “Ha! Magic as science. Eh, Pym?”
Modred comments that it is a shame that Pym does not speak the language. Bova quietly whispers “Are you sure?” Bova then tries to attack Modred from behind with the Book of the Darkhold. Modred sense Bova’s attack and stops her. Suddenly, a repulsor ray blasts Modred in the face.
We see Iron Man on the scene. Iron Man drops an unconscious Bruce Banner on top of the unconscious Modred. Iron Man snaps “Gentlemen. Stature. If nobody minds. I think I can take over from here.” The Mighty Avengers stare at Iron Man.
We see Bova in the corner talking to the Book of the Darkhold. Bova says that they provided a needed distraction and that Pietro should be proud of himself. We see words on the page of the book appear and say “It doesn’t matter, Bova. Just take me over to the others. One of them has to know a way to get me out of here!”
The Good: Mighty Avengers #22 was a serviceable read. This issue is solidly paced as Slott begins to dispense with the set-up and focuses on moving along the story involving Chthon. Slott does a nice job cutting back and forth from dialogue heavy scenes and action packed scenes in order to keep this issue a lively read. The reader never goes too long without getting a little shot of action.
Mighty Avengers #22 was decently plotted as Slott continues to flesh out the main plotline involving Chthon and Modred. Slott also focuses in on the other main plotline involving Pym’s inferiority complex and his reluctance of being the leader of Mighty Avengers. The story moves with a clear purpose and is focused in its delivery. Slott has an obvious goal in mind with the end of this story arc.
And that goal revolves around the central theme of Mighty Avengers. And that theme is one of redemption. Redemption for Henry Pym. Redemption for Scarlet Witch. Redemption for Quicksilver. And redemption for the Avengers franchise itself. I would also like to see Slott give us the redemption of Iron Man as well. However, I just do not think that Slott is going to utilize Tony’s character for that purpose.
Bendis has proceeded to do nothing but engage in the eternal deconstruction of the Avengers ever since he took over the franchise. It is time for some growth. It is time to create. And that is what Slott appears determined to do with Mighty Avengers. Slott is accepting the difficult task of re-establishing the Avengers back to their glory as the 616 Universe’s premier super team. And in doing so, Slott has gathered together a great roster of underdog heroes. The selection of characters for this roster was done with careful planning and insight.
Pym, Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Iron Man are all classic Avengers who have been treated shoddily. All four Avengers have been morphed into villains at some point. Pym has never escaped his label as an insane wife-beater who created Ultron. Iron Man has been every Marvel writer’s favorite whipping boy ever since the road to Civil War and the most evil person since Adolph Hitler. Ever since House of M, Quicksilver has become rather villainous. And Scarlet Witch has become the biggest villain of them all with her murdering several Avengers.
Hercules is viewed as a poor man’s Thor. US Agent is viewed as a poor man’s Captain America. Jocasta is just an artificial imitation of the Wasp. Stature is the unproven daughter of Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man, and Vision is a fusion of the original Vision’s operating system with Iron Lad’s armor.
All of these characters have something to prove. Each one is an underdog. Slott even has Chthon diss the Mighty Avengers as nothing more than an annoyance. That the Mighty Avengers are not the organized and unified Avengers that he fought in the past. Slott certainly makes it easy for the reader to root for these characters to succeed and live up to their fullest potential as Avengers.
The Avengers have been more like the Earth’s mightiest non-team ever since the road to Civil War. It would be nice if the Avengers could gain redemption and return to their roots as Marvel’s premier super team that actually acts like a true Avengers team that is consistent with their long and storied history. That certainly seems to be where Slott wants to head with this title.
Pym, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are three characters who have been put through the wringer. Between Avengers Disassembled and House of M, Scarlet Witch’s character has been butchered like her name was Hal Jordan. Scarlet Witch is a good character and a classic Avengers who deserves better treatment than she has gotten over the recent past.
Slott has his work cut out for him to have Scarlet Witch gain redemption. And Slott hints at that by having Stature react with extreme distrust and anger toward Scarlet Witch. Unfortunately, Wanda has much to answer for and I was glad to see Slott have Stature ready to throw down with Scarlet Witch. I am curious to see how Slott will ever be able to have Scarlet Witch and Stature co-exist on the same team.
Pietro is another character that has plenty of potential and deserves better than what he has gotten since House of M. I enjoyed the more heroic version of Quicksilver that Slott gives the reader in the beginning of this issue. It would be nice if Slott can have Quicksilver gain redemption and return back to his heroic form. I do not want Quicksilver to be a perpetual whiney loser or just a junior Magneto. Quicksilver can be a cool character and would make a great addition to the Mighty Avengers.
Pietro has never really been given his chance to grow and evolve as a character. Pietro spends most of his existence in the long shadow of his father, Magneto. Even though Quicksilver has his roots with the X-Men, I have found that Pietro is at his most interesting when he is separated from the world of the X-Men and is involved in the world of the Avengers. Hopefully, Slott will be able to grow Quicksilver into his own man.
I was glad to see Slott returning Quicksilver to his roots in Wundagore. Often, in order to reconstruct a character the writer needs to return to where it all began. By going back to the basic origins of the character, the writer is able to then reconstruct a foundation for a new direction for that character.
It also seems that Quicksilver might be experiencing a power boost. The way that Chthon is able to crisscross the globe is a display of speed that I do not recall Quicksilver ever displaying before. Of course, it is possible that Chthon’s powers are boosting Quicksilver’s speed powers.
And then there is the redemption of Henry Pym which is Slott’s most prominent task. We see Pym doing a capable job leading the team against Modred. It is nice to see how the other Mighty Avengers are looking to Pym for direction. It is nice to see Pym actually getting respect from his fellow heroes.
Slott does a nice job further fleshing out the theme of magic as science that has not been explained that he mentioned in the last issue. In the final scene, Pym is able to figure out that the magic symbols on the shadowy figures are animating them like markings on a golem or code for a primitive form of android. Bova then hints to the fact that Pym might actually possess the ability to “speak” the language of magic. This is a very interesting concept and I am looking forward to Slott continuing to investigate this plotline.
Pym and Jocasta’s relationship keeps getting stranger. Slott makes a point of showing that Jocasta is more of a priority to Pym than stopping Chthon. While the other Avengers place the safeguarding of the Earth as their number one priority, Pym is still lost in his own little world. Pym still needs some time to get his own personal life together before he can start being concerned with the caring about the world in general. And this is understandable given that Pym is dealing with having been captured and replaced by the Skrulls and is also still trying to cope with Janet’s death.
And what is up with the blue energy sphere in Jocasta’s breast? Jocasta places her hand on it and acts rather strange in that scene. It would not surprise me if Slott would use the theme of magic and science being related to explain how Pym might have been able to capture Janet’s soul inside of that blue energy sphere. And that Janet’s spirit might actually be housed inside of Jocasta. C’mon, we all know that at some point Janet is going to be brought back to life. It is just a matter of when and how it happens and not if it happens.
Slott crafts some solid dialogue. Slott also gives the reader plenty of nice character work as he does his best to give each character their own definable and unique personality. Slott continues to do an excellent job with the chemistry between the members of the Mighty Avengers.
I like the one-sided rivalry between Cho and Pym, the little brother/big brother relationship between Hercules and Cho, the bizarre relationship between Pym and Jocasta and the extreme distrust and anger that Stature has for Scarlet Witch. I also dig that US Agent’s abrasive personality and more extreme approach to fighting bad guys causes some conflict on the team. Every super team needs a gadfly in the roster who makes things interesting.
Slott ends Mighty Avengers #22 with a solid hook ending as we learn that Pietro is trapped inside of the Book of Darkhold. We should be in store for another action packed issue with the next issue of Mighty Avengers.
Khoi Pham, Allen Martinez and Danny Miki combine to deliver some solid artwork. Mighty Avengers is a pleasant looking issue and Pham nicely conveys the story to the reader. Pham certainly is capable of delivering some dynamic looking panels.
The Bad: While Mighty Avengers #22 was a solid read, it is still missing that something special that makes it stand out from the rest of the comic books on the market. I really want to love this title, but this opening story arc just feels a bit off. The main problem is that the scope of this story arc is simply not big enough.
The concept for Mighty Avengers is that this title is going to offer readers a more classic Avengers title. That the reader will get issues full of missions that are grand in scope, monster heavy hitter villains and plenty of traditional super hero goodness. Mighty Avengers is supposed to be an alternative to the decompressed, rambling and much smaller in scope New Avengers that reads more like a New Defenders title.
Unfortunately, Slott has not managed to create a story that particularly grabs the reader’s attention and interest. Chthon is certainly a big monster villain and his plan to engulf the world in chaos is certainly an adventure that is grand in scope. The problem is the execution has been off.
Chthon’s plan of attack and his assault on the world seems too vague. Chthon’s motivation and attack on the Earth comes across as too generic. The reader never really gets that interested by Chthon’s and his plans for the Earth. And the reader also never gets the feeling that a truly chaotic assault is engulfing the world.
The biggest problem with the execution of this story arc is that the setting is small and cramped. At no point does the reader ever get the feeling that this is a terribly large event occurring on a global scale. Part of the problem is that while Chthon is an appropriate big villain for the Avengers, placing him in Quicksilver’s body might not have been the best idea. This move does serve as a convenient plot device to pull Quicksilver into the story and allow Slott a platform to return Quicksilver to his former heroic self. However, the drawback is that the reader feels like the Mighty Avengers are simply battling an evil version of Quicksilver. Having Chthon assume the form of some giant sized mighty demon might have conveyed him as more of a monster threat to the Earth.
Another problem with the scale of the setting for this story arc is the artwork. It feels way too cramped. Slott needs to allow Pham to employ more one page and two page splash shots to give this story a more cinematic feel. This would help bring more intensity to the story arc.
I found Slott’s handling of Iron Man to be clumsy and obvious. It is blatantly obvious how Slott plans on utilizing Iron Man in this story arc. Once again, it appears that Tony will be used as the plot device to make some other character look good. This is a tired and reoccurring theme ever since the road to Civil War. And it seriously needs to be put to rest once and for all.
In the last issue, Slot traced back all of Pym’s mental health problems back to the critical moment when he learned that Tony Stark was Iron Man. At that moment, Pym suffered a crisis of confidence and a lack of a defined purpose on the Avengers that he never recovered from.
More than likely, Slott is going to have Tony act like a total dick. Tony will probably screw up at some point while leading the Mighty Avengers at which point Pym will assert himself as the alpha dog, save the day and prove that he is better than Tony Stark. Pym, will then be entrenched as the leader of the Mighty Avengers and the other members of the team will rally around Pym and support him over Tony.
More than likely Slott will have Pym display the deeper knowledge of science that enables him to understand magic as well so that he can free Quicksilver from the Book of the Darkhold. In the process, it will be emphasized that Tony was useless in trying to save Quicksilver since Tony’s scientific mind is not keen enough to understand the language of magic like Pym’s mind can. This will separate Pym’s scientific mind from Tony’s and make Pym a valuable and unique asset to the Mighty Avengers.
Slott will probably use Tony Stark as a jerk in order to gain reader sympathy and support for Pym. Unfortunately, it seems that every writer in Marvel cannot see any other use for Tony’s character other than to use him as a jerk to get over other characters with the reader. I hope that Slott avoids the perfunctory, unoriginal and tiresome Tony Stark bashing that we have gotten from every other Marvel writer over the past couple of years. However, I am not holding my breath.
Overall: Mighty Avengers #22 was a solid read. This is a classic super hero story that should appeal to readers who are not fans of what Bendis is giving us with New Avengers. However, it should be noted that Mighty Avengers #22 is not “gritty” or “realistic.” There is no “trendy” casual dialogue in this issue. If you are not a fan of traditional super hero tales then you might not enjoy Mighty Avengers #22.
Despite my criticisms with this issue, I do think that the current new direction of Mighty Avengers is a wise move by Marvel. Mighty Avengers offers more diversity in terms of storytelling than what we were getting beforehand with the Avengers franchise. Marvel is doing their best to make sure that there is an Avengers’ title for everyone.