I’ve criticized writer Brian Michael Bendis in other reviews for imbuing all of his characters will the same voice, and at least he doesn’t do that here. His Dr. Doom has a diction all his own: “You’re a fat piece of furniture I may need for trade!” he says to Ms. Marvel, “So shut your cow-mouth or I’ll remove your face by hand before I stop your whore’s heart.” That’s quite a verbal smack-down. I wonder if he enunciates clearly beneath that metal mask of his. “Cow-mouth” sounds wrong, though, doesn’t it? It doesn’t seem like a word choice Dr. Doom would use. “Bovine orifice” sounds more arrogantly regal, circa early 21st century Latveria.
That strange outburst aside, I appreciate Bendis’s attempt to infuse Doom with personality, even though Doom’s page eleven monologue/thought-balloon-barrage is a bit excessive and unnecessarily difficult to read. Bendis, historically, has a tendency to underwrite, leaving the subtleties of exposition implied rather than stated, and I admire him for that, but when he decides to overwrite, watch out! Or else you get Dr. Doom in “The Mighty Avengers,” page eleven.
The concept of this comic, as a counterpoint to “New Avengers,” is more interesting than its execution. The notion of a team of “underground” Avengers seems to work better, in the other book, than the notion of a superhero action team as we see here. The first story arc was mostly a showcase for Frank Cho’s beautiful artwork, and an opportunity to present a new facet of Ms. Marvel’s personality. With Mark Bagley illustrating, the book loses all of its visual charm, and this multi-issue Dr. Doom plot has been all sound and fury signifying, well, very little.
“Secret Invasion” mastermind Bendis can’t help but plant Skrull-tastic mysteries in this issue, namely in the form of Spider-Woman, who displays an unusual power all of a sudden. Is she a Skrull? Who do you trust? That’s the game at least, and Bendis plays it well. Without “New Avengers’” brand of paranoia, I doubt the suspicion raised by this comic would amount to much, but Bendis is shrewd enough to know that he’s not writing a single comic, he’s writing an interwoven narrative, and contextual knowledge is expected.
In “The Mighty Avengers,” Bendis has created a potentially interesting mix of characters, but he hasn’t done much with them yet. I hope “Secret Invasion” provides an opportunity for Ms. Marvel’s overt Avengers to show how dynamic an interesting they can be. Because, as of issue #11, I’m not very impressed.