Mighty Avengers #4

"Mighty Avengers" #4 affords Al Ewing and Greg Land an opportunity to take stock in the collection of heroes that pulled together during Thanos' "Infinity" attack. Using Luke Cage as the hub of the team and the series, Ewing provides quick, light-hearted summaries of each character smartly produced by letterer Cory Petit in the same style as scene identifiers.

With the crashed remains of the Inhumans' former home city of Attilan still soaking in the Hudson, the Mighty Avengers begin to set up shop in the Gem Theater, tightly nestled between logos for Resilient, Cortex and Serval Industries. As Cage takes inventory of the facility and his colleagues, the Otto Octavius-infused Spider-Man issues challenge and derision after challenge and derision. In the face of this Ewing showcases Cage's patience in the name of the greater good. Every character is given a snappy line of dialog and a general position in regards to their interest in the team, which includes Jessica Jones, Spectrum, Power Man and White Tiger. Spider-Man stakes an interest in the team and Falcon campaigns for membership. In his dialog, Ewing provides Falcon with sassiness and wit, while also establishing what could eventually become a running joke throughout this series. The writer balances Cage's personal life and desire to do the most good possible with the realistic threat posed by the crashed Inhuman city and Terrigen mist-induced epidemic. S.H.I.E.L.D. shares a significant portion of this comic book and Spider Hero dons the identity and costume of Ronin.

As much as people knock Greg Land's seemingly photo-traced artwork, it functions nicely for the characters of this title. The slower moments of characters talking, like the three-page opening scene and Cage's discussion with his newly-minted team, are perfect vehicles for photo-realism. Where the art doesn't always work is when the characters are in action, even slow action, like the dramatic slow assembled team walk. In this panel, Land completely makes Ronin the victim of a Tonya Harding-baton attack to lower leg damage on Joe Theismann-like levels. If he were an action figure with that construction, Ronin would never stand up without a hand holding him. The art is serviceable for "Mighty Avengers" #4, but might require an infusion of imagination and energy when the adventures really get rolling.

While I'm not completely sold on the need for yet another Avengers title, I like the team that's assembling here and Ewing's comfort within the Marvel Universe. Through the filter of Octavius, Ewing expresses some doubts on the Avengers brand being implemented here, but does so in an entertaining, affable manner. "Mighty Avengers" #4 is thin on substantial action, but Ewing and Land use these quieter pages to establish a solid foundation for issues to come. Ewing's more light-hearted approach to threatening menaces is a fine blend for an Avengers book, and makes this title worth checking out for a little while longer at least.

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