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Mighty Avengers #26

Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009
By: Shawn Hill

Dan Slott
Stephen Segovia (p), Noah Salonga, et al. (i)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Mighty Avengers #26 arrives in stores tomorrow, June 17.

"Mighty/Fantastic, Part Two: You Can't Get There From Here"

Plot: Reed Richards hurriedly sends the wife and kids to safety, and then lets loose an emergency flare to call in Ben and Johnny. Why the panic? Because the Wasp is coming with his army of ants!

Comments: Okay, well really it's because the Wasp has fooled them into thinking the ants are a sleeper cell of Skrulls, seeking revenge for the Invasion, but you get the idea. The promised assault on the Baxter Building by the Mighty (if not so New) Avengers is delivered, and it boils down to a mad scientist war, which is something that also delivers on Slott's promises to make this book the most "Avengery" of Avengers titles. It's strangely sort of nice that there are so many to choose from again, actually.

Quicksilver and USAgent sit this one out, and it's up to (a quite talkative) Jarvis and Amadeus Cho to keep the headquarters together while Pym searches for the device Reed won't let him have. Meanwhile, Hercules, the Vision, and Stature try to distract the Torch and the Thing. Slott has fun with their disguises: Herc as Red Hulk, Vision as the Red Ghost, and Stature's well, she's actually not playing along, as she decides to seek out Sue in honor of her father's former membership in the Fantastic Four.

That insight isn't the only awareness of legacy loyalty that Slott evinces. The relationship that has developed between Jocasta and Henry may squick Jarvis out a bit, but there's more going on than Pym replacing his dead wife with her robot double. Despite Slott's use of the wan and timid reconstructed version of the Vision masquerading as the Red Ghost, he's got an approach to artificial intelligence that resonates with Avengers history.

When Jocasta looks to be endangered by Hank's plans, the members jump to her defense. Only Jocasta's ability to choose as a free individual (despite being one based on the memories of another person) is something she asserts in a variety of ways in the issue, even as she undergoes a semi-predictable transformation. Slott makes it work because he gives her motivations for the choices she makes.

It's also semi-predictable (or perhaps inevitable) that the Richards/Pym throwdown ends with both big brains wowing each other with new scientific frontiers. Slott doesn't make clear what Pym's planning, or why he needed the disputed device so much, but he does manage to give us a Reed awed by what he sees. Just as Dwayne McDuffie did on his FF run, Slott seems to know what makes Marvel's first family tick.

Segovia makes some fun jokes this issue, especially with some of Reed's robotic servants and Pym's ant-sized antics. But his loose and fluid style isn't really perfect for this sort of big guns Marvel story that needs some rock-solid bodies delivering blows with cosmic force. The art seems more suited to a mystical story than a high-tech one (which he proves when the two eggheads start hopping dimensions, including a very Dark-looking one); but, hey, at least it's not a Frank Cho jiggle-fest. Segovia overall tells a mostly clear story (with just a few glitches when it comes to Reed's power), and would doubtless settle in given time.

Slott's new direction is more than I could have hoped for after the plot-driven first year of Mighty; now the story telling is sub-plot driven, and he's got plenty of them!






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