The Mighty Avengers #11

by  in Comic Reviews Comment

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.