When Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are offworld due to the events of the Infinity crossover, Thanos decides that now would be the perfect time to attack the Earth. Who will be the ones to defend us when our heroes are away? Enter the Mighty Avengers.
Mighty Avengers is the brainchild of writer Al Ewing and mostly drawn by Greg Land. This book is spread over three separate crossovers – Infinity, Inhumanity, and Original Sin, plus several standalone issues that bridge the gap between the crossovers. The lineup consists of the following members:
Luke Cage – Super strength, unbreakable skin
Spectrum (Monica Rambeau) – Can access any form of light in the electromagnetic spectrum
Power Man (Victor Alvarez) – Strength through chi
White Tiger (Ava Ayala) – Granted the power of the Tiger God via an amulet
Blue Marvel (Adam Brashear) – Super strength, flight, energy generation, nigh invulnerable
She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) – Super strength
Ronin – ???
Iron Fist – Master martial artist, chi concentration
Jessica Jones – Super strength, super durability, flight
Superior Spider-Man (Peter Parker/Otto Octavius) – Super strength, durability, assholishness
The series begins with Luke Cage having reformed the Heroes for Hire (Cage, Power Man, and White Tiger) taking on a two-bit gang of thieves lead by the Parnival, and they make short work of him – along with Superior Spider-Man, who wastes no time in chastising the Heroes. Meanwhile, Thanos is dividing his team of villains to find the Infinity Stones on Earth, and Proxima Midnight is sent to New York to hit the Avengers in the place they call home.
Elsewhere, the speed thief Blue Streak (so named because he can’t help but to call himself that every five seconds, thus nullifying a pretty cool moveset) has made off with a lot of money and is speeding off to his lair to count his winnings, when he comes face to face with someone who is infinitely faster than he is on his speed skates: the superheroine known as Spectrum. She incapacitates Blue Streak and zooms off to see her stylist and costumier, Luc. The two exchange pleasantries for a while until Monica meets up with a mysterious figure who asks her for help.
While this is going on, Victor and Luke are having a conversation about their issues with Spider-Man; Ava walked away from the team after Spidey gave her a once-over about her career choices. Luke tries to explain to Vic that his priorities have changed since he and Jessica had their daughter Danielle. Unfortunately, Vic isn’t hearing any of that and walks off. At that moment, Proxima Midnight makes her way to Earth and rains down fire and destruction to New York City. Hearing the explosions and destruction, Spectrum, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, and the mysterious man who has taken to wearing a knock-off Spider-Man costume, step into action.
Thus, the Mighty Avengers are born.
The first thing I noticed when I first started reading this story was how witty it was. Everyone had their own voice, and it didn’t seem like anything was forced. I’m tangentially familiar with the story behind the Heroes for Hire, and I was completely unfamiliar with anyone but Luke Cage and the original Spider-Man, but I felt like I had been reading their stories my entire life. I hadn’t heard of Monica Rambeau at all, but she became one of my favorite characters in all of the Marvel Universe with her opening panels. That’s a testament to powerful writing, and Al Ewing has that in spades.
Greg Land gets a bad wrap in comic circles; some of his criticisms (the use of hardcore pornography performers in his drawings) being spot-on, but I didn’t have a problem with his art in this book. His work, alongside inker Jay Leisten and colorist Frank D’Armata, popped off the screen and kept my attention from start to finish. It was vibrant and beautiful, and it complimented the story being told.
The primary job of a first issue to a series is to make you want to come back for more. The first issue of Mighty Avengers did just that.