Mighty Avengers has been hurt by the delays caused by Frank Cho’s inability to meet a monthly shipping schedule. So, Mighty Avengers #7 sports a guest artist in Mark Bagley. We are also going to finally get the beginning of the Venom symbiotes story arc that has already been concluded over in New Avengers. Yeah, nothing like getting the beginning of a story arc a couple of months after we have read the conclusion. At any rate, I just don’t have high hopes for Mighty Avengers until Bendis can catch this title up with New Avengers. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Mighty Avengers #7.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Pencils: Mark Bagley
Inks: Danny Miki, Allen Martinez & Victor Olazaba
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Spider-Woman sneaking into the medical bay of the Avengers Tower where Tony is recuperating. Spider-Woman throws the body of the dead Skrull at the foot of Tony’s bed. Spider-Woman fills Tony in on the events in Japan when the New Avengers discovered that Electra was really a Skrull. That Luke Cage thinks that the Skrulls have been pulling their strings throughout the Civil War. Tony claims that the Civil War was not a manipulation.
Spider-Woman mentions how these Skrulls are more advanced and not even Wolverine or Daredevil could tell by scent that Electra was a Skrull. Of course, Spider-Woman re-iterates the fact that the New Avengers all think that Tony is a Skrull.
Spider-Woman says that Tony was the only person that she thought could handle the situation and that the New Avengers will know if Tony is a Skrull or not. That if Tony is a Skrull then he will kill Spider-Woman right now to cover up this discovery. Tony assures Spider-Woman that he is no Skrull, but that they have to assume that there are Skrulls on the roster of the Mighty Avengers. (Oh, I can only hope that we get another rousing rendition of the “You’re a Skrull! No, you’re a Skrull!” game.)
Tony asks Spider-Woman where Nick Fury is currently hiding. Spider-Woman asks why Tony would ask her that. Tony replies because he doesn’t know what to do right now and Nick would know what to do. Tony says that the Skrulls are going to know that Tony and Spider-Woman know about them. Tony says that Jessica needs to join the Avengers. Jessica says she is not signing Tony’s stupid Registration Act. (Actually, last time I checked, Tony isn’t the U.S. government. And I’m pretty sure that Congress still writes all of our laws.)
Tony yells screw the Registration Act. (And that is how Bendis is going to follow on his promise to stop raping Tony’s character. Not to try and perform any hard work to actually try and make Tony’s position during Civil War seem more understandable or sympathetic. Nope, just sweep it under the carpet and ignore it in the face of a Skrull invasion. And hopefully, the fans will also forget the Nazi Tony Stark that we got during and after Civil War. After all, Marvel has an Iron Man movie coming out shortly!)
Tony exclaims that they are talking about a global invasion. Jessica agrees with Tony and asks him what he wants her to do. Tony says that Jessica will join the team and that will cause a reaction. That if there is a Skrull on the team then they will react. Tony says that he will run an autopsy on the dead Skrull to see how they are avoiding detection. Spider-Woman reiterates that they cannot trust anyone. Tony agrees.
We cut to the following morning where the Mighty Avengers are having a meeting. Tony thanks his teammates for saving him. They all joke Tony about what a hot looking woman he had turned into. Wonder Man then stands up to give a clumsily delivered toast to the team with all that they have been through with the Civil War and such. (We could have easily done without wasting several pages on all of this.)
Tony then announces that they have a new member of the Avengers. In walks Spider-Woman. Black Widow and Wasp are pissed that Spider-Woman is being brought back onto the team. Ms. Marvel is pissed as well and calls for a team vote. Tony responds that there will be no team vote. Tony says that this is a military operation and orders will be followed.
Ares is enamored with Spider-Woman and wants to nail her. Ms. Marvel confronts Tony that she really isn’t the team leader. Tony responds that she is. (I have to go with Ms. Marvel on this one.) Spider-Woman is sad that her good friend Ms. Marvel isn’t happy that she is back.
Everyone settles down and Wasp then asks for everyone’s attention. In walk five models wearing costumes that are uglier than Wonder Man’s current costume. Wasp says that Wonder Man needs a new look. That Simon’s leisure suit needs to go. Wonder Man responds that he likes his costume. Wasp says that this is a fashion intervention. Ms. Marvel agrees saying that Simon needs to listen to Janet.
We then cut to a couple of astronauts in space working on some satellite debris. They dislodge a small metal orb that then plummets to Earth. More specifically, it lands in the middle of New York City. (Naturally.) Out pops Venom symbiotes that begin to take over various innocent bystanders. Suddenly, the city is overrun with Venom symbiotes.
We cut back to Avengers Tower, where Tony is watching his teammates thinking that one of them is here to kill him. That one of them is a Skrull. Suddenly, Lindy walks over to Tony. Tony asks how Sentry is doing. Lindy responds that he has his good days and bad days. Lindy says that she loves Sentry very much. So, Tony will have to do her a favor. Lindy says that Tony has to find a way to power Sentry down or kill him before he kills them all. Lindy then walks away. Tony is stunned.
The Good: Mighty Avengers #7 was a terribly pedestrian read. We do get some humorous banter with the team joking Tony about being a hot woman and then joking Wonder Man’s costume. The overall flow of the dialogue was fast paced and had a pleasant flow. The smoothly delivered dialogue helped hide the fact that nothing happened in this issue. Bendis is quite talented at crafting well delivered witty banter that distracts and entertains the reader so they don’t realize that nothing of substance ever happens during the issue.
The scene between Tony and Lindy was excellent. About the only thing that Bendis has really impressed me with his work on New Avengers and Mighty Avengers has been the handling of Sentry’s character. I find Sentry to be a thoroughly intriguing character. The combination of mental instability and earth shattering powers makes him an unpredictable and entertaining character. For Lindy to deliver such a hardcore request of Tony was stunning.
Bagley provides plenty of solid artwork. Being a huge fan of Ultimate Spider-Man, it is great to see Bendis and Bagley back together again. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed Bagley’s work until he left Ultimate Spider-Man. The quality of artwork has really decreased since then. I will admit that I personally find Cho’s artwork to be superior, but Bagley gets the job done and more importantly can maintain a monthly deadline.
Having said that, I was less than thrilled that Bagley got saddled with inking by committee in this issue.
The Bad: Mighty Avengers #7 was nothing more than pure filler. This was a time wasting issue on a title that already isn’t known for its blistering paced issues. The pacing continues to be an Achilles’ heel on this title. New Avengers and Mighty Avengers are already plagued with horridly slow moving story arcs. Honestly, the melting of the polar ice cap occurs at a more rapid rate than a Bendis penned Avengers story arc. And to throw on top the brutally slow moving and sometimes completely pointless and meandering story arcs, we have Cho’s inability to meet a monthly deadline backing up an already boring and pointless story arc involving the Venom symbiotes.
Since we have already read all about the battle with the symbiotes as well as the conclusion over in New Avengers that makes the ending of this issue completely moot. I wish that Marvel had simply decided to skip the next issue and proceed with the next story arc rather than wasting our time giving us a brawl that we already know the ending to.
The thought balloons, while a neat little literary tool at the beginning of this title, are now beginning to wear thin on me. I wouldn’t mind it if Bendis used them judiciously, but he isn’t. And the constant thought balloons make reading this issue a bit disjointed and often don’t really add anything to the story. The constant thought balloons also make the various Avengers come across needlessly snarky.
The Civil War event continues to lose more and more impact. I always found Civil War to be nothing more than a transparent excuse to have a hero versus hero slugfest with a bit of poorly constructed post 9/11 commentary hastily thrown on top in a pathetic attempt to give the story some artificial depth. But, with the current push to blame the Skrulls for manipulating everyone and the events of Civil War makes it an even less impressive big event.
Having Tony yell out “Screw the Registration Act, we are talking about a global invasion” only emphasizes how quickly Civil War and the Initiative are going to be pushed to the back. This line was a cue to the reader that the Act is irrelevant. That the Skrulls invasion supersedes the events of Civil War. That the Skrulls, while not the direct architects of the Act, were the guiding hand behind the scenes that manipulated both sides into entering the Civil War. After all, to divide your enemy is the easiest way to then proceed with conquering them.
And with this development Civil War becomes an even bigger waste of time. All it did was serve to ruin Tony’s character as he was repeatedly raped beyond recognition by writers like Bendis and JMS. It ruined Spider-Man’s character with the asinine reveal of his secret identity that helped bring about having Mephisto swoop in to hit the re-set button. And now, we are going to have the Skrulls revealed as the puppet masters pulling the strings in order to create the perfect storm that led to the events of Civil War. Despite the fact that Marvel promised us that there was no villain to blame for the Registration Act or the Civil War.
While the entire bit about Wonder Man’s leisure suit was funny, I found it to be played out way too long to the point where it got less and less funny. I don’t think it was necessary to devote three pages to this joke. Two panels would have been enough. One with the models walking in and one with Janet and the other Avengers surrounding Simon saying that this is a fashion intervention.
The static that Spider-Woman gets over re-joining the team seemed too forced and contrary to previous scenes. As a matter of fact, outside of making Tony look like a Nazi government stooge, Bendis has made sure that none of the other Avengers have ever relished the idea of having to go hunt down, fight and arrest their ex-teammates. The members of the Avengers have been presented as being hopefully that their ex-teammates would quickly return to the fold since the Civil War ended.
Bendis continues to have no clue how to write Tony Stark. It is obvious that Bendis doesn’t get Tony’s character at all nor does he even like Tony’s character. The scene where Tony admits to Jessica that he doesn’t know what to do and that Nick Fury would just seemed silly. I get that Bendis is trying to pump up Nick Fury’s cred since he will probably ride in on a white horse at some time during this Skrull invasion. But, c’mon, that simply showed a lack of knowledge for Tony’s character.
Tony helped found the Avengers who have dealt with multiple global and galactic crises. Tony is the guy who brought together the Illuminati to deal with huge threats. As the founder and CEO of Stark Industries Tony has dealt with more crisis situations than you could imagine. Tony was also was the Secretary of Defense for the United States for a while. Then he shouldered the burden of championing the Registration Act in face of impossible scrutiny and pressure. And now he is the Director of SHIELD.
Throw on top of that Tony’s natural genius as well as his incredible Extremis powers which give him a huge ego and tons of confidence. So, no, I don’t buy that Tony would helplessly look at Jessica and claim to not know what to do and to immediately hope to go run to someone else for a solution.
Overall: Mighty Avengers #7 was pretty much a waste of paper and time. And due to Cho’s inability to keep a monthly deadline, the next issue of Mighty Avengers is also going to be a waste. So far, this title has failed to do much to make me want to recommend that anyone spend their hard earned money on it. I’d definitely say that now is not the time to jump onto Mighty Avengers. Let the stale Venom symbiote story run its course and then maybe see if this title is worth picking up.