Four issues in and the Avengers gain a new member, a new base of operations, and backing from a global agency that allows them safe harbor from Norman Osborn’s conniving. Juggling more than a dozen characters, this issue is pure “Avengers”-level entertainment.
Rafa Sandoval — the “new” Marvel artist, not the alter ego of DC Comics’ El Diablo — steps in for Khoi Pham, illustrating the heck out of this issue. Sandoval appears to be channeling his best impression of Jimmy Cheung mixed with a young Joe Quesada and a side of Carlos Pacheco on the visuals here. If you ask me, it’s a hefty winning combination as it becomes a style in and of itself, a style from the pencil of Rafa Sandoval. Sandoval’s layouts are cleverly crafted, as the opening sequence is treated as shards in a pane of broken glass, driving home the text of the cracks beginning to emerge in Norman Osborn’s Cabal.
Slott, meanwhile, offers a tale that would surely test the mettle of any artist, sending Hank Pym and his “real” Avengers around the globe on a series of adventures that are only shared with the readers in glimpses. We get Swarm in Buenos Aires, H.I.V.E. in Tokyo, and Titan in France, among other implied menaces. All the while, Slott maintains the nature of the characters from Stature’s sheepishness to challenge Pym’s dedication to the Scarlet Witch’s missions to Hercules bluster and bravado to Quicksilver’s impetuousness.
This book has quickly risen to the absolute top of my “must-read” pile and a “Mighty Avengers” week is one of the best weeks of the month for me. Regardless of the artist — Pham or Sandoval — the results to this point have been nearly the same: this is the Avengers title you should b reading. This may not be your daddy’s Avengers, but it sure beats the snot out of the crud Norman Osborn is trying to call “Avengers.”