Mighty Avengers #3

Story by
Art by
Jay Leisten, Greg Land
Colors by
Frank D'Armata
Letters by
Cory Petit
Cover by
Marvel Comics

The hodge-podge roster of the latest Avengers spin-off title make it official and declare themselves a team in "Mighty Avengers" #3, and it's not your father's Avengers, as some would say. In fact, this eclectic group isn't really anyone's Avengers, but writer Al Ewing gives the team its own personality by virtue of its downright unusual cast, and it's one that's largely powered by the dynamic between the characters more so than any kind of awe-inspiring plot or advancement of the "Infinity" event that it's tangentially tied into. Artist Greg Land gives the story a big-budget look, and all the characters an imposing presence, even the mysterious Spider-Hero, who could just as easily look like he got lost trick-or-treating.

The idea isn't new, of course; a team of mostly unknowns adopt the handle of Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the absence of the big guns. Ewing doesn't shy away from the idea and goes full throttle trying to sell the notion that some of the most obscure characters any writer could think of can convincingly be passed off as The Avengers. He takes the same route Brian Michael Bendis did after kicking off "New Avengers" in the wake of "Avengers Disassembled," and even borrows a couple of the same characters, forging ahead and unapologetically telling readers that yes; these are The Avengers, and yes; they're going to like them. With the conclusion of the series' first arc, he largely succeeds, having at least established a roster than has the potential for some pretty unique interactions in the coming issues.

This issue features some pretty interesting interactions already, among them Blue Marvel's issue-opening pep talk with White Tiger that immediately establishes an early bond between the two characters, and the ever-smug Superior Spider-Man's confrontation with his pseudo-doppelganger reveals some intriguing clues about Spider-Hero's knowledge and powers. And there's an apparent connection between not-Spidey and another team member, planting the seeds for a few more issues' worth of curious subplots. It's one thing to seemingly pick characters' names from a hat and throw together a team, but another to make it work; and while Ewing's team is a strange brew and probably a little off-putting to some, he takes the limited ingredients he's allowed himself and concocts something that's mildly tasty.

Land's characters appear static a good amount of the time, and in close-ups often look like they are posing for a teeth-whitening ad, but he can sure draw multi-tentacled eyeball monsters tearing up Times Square like few others can. The climactic battle, while stretching logic a bit, is pretty impressively rendered, and the preponderance of page-wide panels evokes a kind of subliminal widescreen feel. Inker Jay Leisten puts a nice polish on the characters and a shine on the battles, almost a little too shiny sometimes; bystanders with tentacles growing out of their mouths look a little too clean and not really all that creepy.

"We're not really Avengers; more of an ad hoc team-up," states one character, which kind of sums up the whole lipstick-on-a-pig idea that this comic pushes. While these characters might be Avengers in name only, that's not to say it isn't a fun and entertaining team book. "Mighty Avengers" #3 shows that Ewing is up to the challenge he has put up for himself, and gives readers something decent to read while he continues to meet it.

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