Mighty Avengers #22

Story by
Art by
Danny Miki, Allen Martinez, Khoi Pham
Colors by
Jason Keith, Matt Milla
Letters by
Dave Lanphear
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Ever since his run was announced, Slott has promised that "Mighty Avengers" would be a retro-inspired, "classic" Avengers book -- an alternative to Bendis' radical overhaul of the concept some years back. This issue in particular demonstrates exactly what he means by that.

The story is steeped in Avengers history with the villain, Mordred, the appearance of Bova and Wundagore, and the sheer amount of Avengers -- new and old -- that grace the page. Slott is juggling a huge number of balls, but largely succeeds in keeping them all the in air. The dialogue is energetic, every character is neatly defined, but the plot, if anything, is a bit too breakneck. Scenes only have little time to breathe, and there's very little in the way of exposition -- it's all action on top of action.

The return of the Scarlet Witch, however, is the one plot element that sticks out like a sore thumb. The explanation is due next issue, but her appearances in this storyline have had a tendency to overshadow the rest of the events -- how could they not, after the few years she's had? I'd have preferred to see her return treated as either a central mystery or explained outright. Using it as a background element in the opening chapters is making for a frustrating read!

Khoi Pham's pencils are nice and fresh, with every character given a distinct look. I'm not convinced that the design of Pym/Wasp works, but Pham at least has a good stab at it. The only area the art is truly let down is the coloring, which seems a bit flat and muddy -- a traditional superhero title such as this really demands a bright, bold look, but Keith and Milla instead aim for something a bit more subtle, and where there are this many figures on each page, I'd like to see more done to make them stand out from one another.

Overall, Slott has brought a unique feel to the series most hard-pressed to justify its existence as the Avengers line expands. It's easy to see who "Mighty Avengers" is aimed at -- old-school Avengers fans -- and it should have little trouble appealing to exactly those people.

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