Mighty Avengers #31

Reading "Mighty Avengers" lately has felt like a slight exercise in frustration. The book is never bad, but the quality seems to fluctuate from month to month. Sometimes Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage provide an entertaining script, and then other issues feel uninspired. Unfortunately, for the end of "The Unspoken" story, it felt like a bit of the latter.

I don't mind if a story ends with a big fight scene; when there's a conflict, you need some sort of resolution, and that's often how a superhero book will choose to bring that about. For a book that hauled in all sorts of guest-stars last month, though, it's surprising how uninteresting the conclusion turned out to be. There's a lot of fists being thrown, shrinking to be done, and yelling to be called out. But nothing feels terribly original or even slightly out of the ordinary. It's just a lot of characters on the page (and considering how few of them actually get things done, I'm not sure why Slott and Gage brought in all of the guest-stars anyway) fighting until a deus ex machina is used to defeat the bad guy.

Sean Chen's pencils aren't up to their normal standards here, either. Some of the pages, like Hercules piloting the craft, or Ronin working with Stature, show off Chen's normal fine lines that I've come to expect from a book with him as the artist. Other pages, though, seem slightly rushed. I know the Alpha Primitives are supposed to be homogenous shock troops but here they're almost faceless in their background fodder appearance. Even Chen's normal grasp of anatomy seems off; I'm pretty sure Stature's power, for instance, doesn't give her legs over twice the length of the rest of her body. It's distracting enough that it actually threw me out of the book on occasion.

At the end of the day, I think I expect more from this creative team. They're certainly capable of things more entertaining, both independently and working together. Some issues of "Mighty Avengers" have been enjoyable and clever, but this one just feels like it concluded with a thud. Here's hoping the spark returns next month.

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