Back in June, Marvel announced that Luke Cage would be coming out of retirement to lead his own team of Avengers again in a new incarnation of ‘Mighty Avengers’. Spinning out from the pages of ‘Infinity’, this new book from writer Al Ewing and artist Greg Land assembles a group of heroes that come together when Proxima Midnight of Thanos’ Black Order lands in New York City in search of the remaining Infinity Gem. It’s this invasion that brings the former Power Man together with She-Hulk, Falcon, Spider-Man, White Tiger, Monica Rambeau, Blue Marvel, the new Power Man, and the new Ronin.
However, in the first issue, we don’t get the whole team right away. First, we catch up with Cage, Spidey, Rambeau (who now goes by the name of Spectrum), the Avengers Academy grads Power Man and White Tiger, and “the Splendiferous Spider Hero”, a character that’s introduced as a shadowy figure visiting Monica while she’s shopping for a new costume to go with her code name. By the end of the book, a few of them stare down this new alien threat right in the face to protect the planet while the main team of Avengers is off fighting the Builders with the Galactic Council.
First of all, I’ve been begging for more Heroes for Hire for months and months, but when I finally get it, it’s gone after a few pages. Total bummer, but after seeing these heroes work together, I think I’ll get over it. What matters is that Luke Cage is back in the fight. It’ll be pretty cool to see how much he’s changed since he’s been spending more time with his family rather than out saving the world. The most intriguing thing will probably be the balancing act that he has to play as he tries to juggle being a dad and being a hero.
Next, Ewing’s story was very fast-paced, but the flow was natural. Everyone coming together wasn’t forced and there was a good reason for everyone to cross paths when they did. Sometimes with new team books, it’s hard to provide a really good reason for a group of people to form a team. A lot of the time it’s super forced, but everything in this book was very believable and fun to follow along with, especially with Spidey being snarky along the way. The best part had to be when he encountered “Spider Hero” for the first time.
Speaking of this cheap knockoff, a lot of my questions at the end of the issue pertain to the identity of ‘Spider Hero’. After looking at the complete team roster and seeing that he’s using nunchuks, I assume that this person will be the new Ronin. But still, we have no idea who he is. I mean, he’s definitely not She-Hulk, so that option is ruled out. Aside from seeing how the rest of the team joins the fight and interacts with each other, I look forward to discovering the identity of this mysterious Avengers ally.
Finally, the artwork is pretty superb. I first saw Land’s work in ‘Ultimate Fantastic Four’, and I was definitely a fan from panel one. His style has the same sort of smoothness as my favorite artist, Jim Cheung, but his characters aren’t as soft. They feel more real and tangible than Cheung’s heroes. Land’s pencils are further accentuated by the great ink and color job by Jay Leisten and Frank D’Armata. They provide blacks so dark that Proxima Midnight might come out of my comic and conquer Earth for real. Then when it comes to colors like the ones on Spider Hero’s costume, the captured the perfect shades that just scream bootlegged and knocked off.
Overall, this was a great first issue. I like the direction that it’s going in so far and from what we’ve already seen of the team interacting together, I can tell that I’m going to like the lineup. I look forward to issue two and seeing how the team manages without the big guns for back up.
MIGHTY AVENGERS #1
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Greg Land, Jay Leisten, & Frank D’Armata
Cover by Greg Land & Lee Duhig