Mighty Avengers #19

How this issue gets published under the title of "The Mighty Avengers" is completely beyond me. As with "New Avengers" during the summer melee known as "Secret Invasion," this book has been less about Avengers and more about the back story and side stories of the invasion itself. Not that they're bad stories, mind you. They simply seem misplaced.

With that out of the way, this issue focuses on the bits of story surrounding Captain Marvel (the double secret agent Skrull Mar-Vell) and his role in the pages of "Secret Invasion." Actually, it's his role off the pages of "Secret Invasion." For those keeping track at home, we've seen Skrull-Vell in the main mini launching an attack against the Thunderbolts, then likewise against the Skrull armada. This issue provides a little more depth beyond the headlines of Captain Marvel's seeming return. Bendis gives us a rare peek into a fractured mind. Skrull-Vell battles against himself to determine the true nature of his cause, or even the true cause of his nature.

It's not the world's most riveting read, but it is entertaining, especially when you adjust for the inclusion of Noh-Varr. The story of Noh-Varr doesn't advance much in this issue, but it is set up rather nicely, as Noh-Varr literally finds Skrull-Vell falling into his lap. What happens afterward will be told elsewhere and elsewhen. And therein lies the real problem. In the sprawl of summer events and their myriad crossover books, it is all too easy for a fan to spend a couple bucks (or more) to pick up an issue of something new and seemingly fresh, only to lose the trail as the story trails off into another title.

That's my concern here. While I enjoyed reading this issue, I'm not too certain it'll remain in my mind for a month, let alone in the forefront of my mind a month from now. If I forget about it, how likely am I to search out the next chapter? I have no doubt the next chapter will be entertaining and engaging, but I need to be able to know where to go, and heretofore, with the "Secret Invasion" Avengers tales, they've been more like brain-droppings, fitting in interstitials while Marvel determines the next steps for the Avengers.

All that aside, Pham brings the power to the pages here, as his line work is every bit as strong as it was on "Incredible Hercules." The inking however, is hit or miss. At least for now. I suppose it is possible that the inking is throwing me off simply because I expect Paul Neary's cleaner style.

In all, this tale moves way too quickly, has only a passing claim to the title of the book and is, in all summations, merely a setup. I have no doubt Marvel will do a fabulous job collecting all of these "Secret Invasion" supplementals somehow once the event is past, but for now, issues like this one seem to be more of a distraction than a positive.

Marvel's 80th Anniversary Continues with Marvel Comics #1001 in September

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