Mighty Avengers #3

Posted by Donovan McComish 09 December 2013

Hello everybody and welcome to my review of Mighty Avengers #3. As Shuma-Gorath invades the Earth thanks to Thanos' henchman, the Ebony Maw, it's going to take a "Mighty" team of heroes to stop him (the pun was rather obvious, but I couldn't help myself).

Synopsis:

Fifteen minutes before Thanos' invasion of Earth, Power Man tracks down White Tiger, who is brooding over a family photo. She tells him that the White Tiger has killed her family and one day it will kill her too, so she wants to die doing something more real than guarding crates. Vic's response to her is that death doesn't matter, it's just something that happens to you one day, what's important is what you choose to do with your life, and somehow, he knows her brother (the previous White Tiger) is proud of her. This moment of bonding is swiftly interrupted however, by the sight of Thanos' invasion force.

We then jump back to the present, where Shuma-Gorath is wreaking havoc in Times Square. It grabs ahold of Luke Cage, noting that it can "taste a new soul" on Luke, his daughter, Danielle. It's at this point that Blue Marvel chooses to make his grand entrance, flying straight through Shuma-Gorath, which puts him down for a moment. Adam quickly introduces himself to the other members. Spider Hero (whose voice Blue Marvel notes as being familiar) gives him the sit-rep on Shuma-Gorath, saying what their dealing with right now is more akin to a fingernail than the full thing, and that if they disrupt the astral self, they can block it off before it gets a foothold in their dimension.

The "Superior Spider-Man" cuts in, expressing his admiration of Dr. Brashear's work (I think so anyway) before asking him to take a look at Spectrum, who is still in agony thanks to Proxima Midnight, since he's his own electron microscope. Blue Marvel complies and scans her at the quark level, discovering that Spectrum's protons are now being consumed by "anti-protons", which doesn't make sense given that the proton is it's own anti-particle. He decides to use his anti-matter projection abilities to infuse Monica with additional protons, so as to hopefully burn the infection out, the process of which will leave her stronger if it works. Suffice to say, it does.
As Shuma-Gorath begins to re-form his physical body, the Ebony Maw manipulates Dr. Strange into casting a protective spell around the demon, who also begins to possess the nearby civilians. White Tiger & Power Man arrive to back up the others, though they can't and a hit on Shuma-Gorath thanks to the shield. Monica then gets the idea of shaping her light form to copy the symbols, which will buy them some time to come up with a plan. SpOck scoffs at this, but Spider Hero thinks otherwise, which causes the two to start bickering again (guess whose side I'm on?). Spectrum breaks up the argument, reminding Spider Hero of his earlier comment about fighting the astrel self. He replies that it's the only way to send it away for good, asking how you fight a god. Cage's response is "a bigger god".
 
While Adam boosts Monica's shield with his own powers, Power Man draws on all the chi around him and feeds it to Ava, allowing her to summon the spirit of the White Tiger, which promptly mauls Shuma-Gorath, leaving Spectrum with the opening to enter it's eye and blow it up from the inside by utilizing it's brain electricity. His diversion thwarted, the Ebony Maw flees Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, pondering whether or not Strange subconsciously knew if his spell could be averted.
 
As the team catch they're breath for a moment, they are approached by reporter Kat Farrell, who asks if they are an official Avengers unit. Monica initially replies that their more of an ad-hoc team-up, but Cage offers up his own response, saying that "when we make the effort to help those who need us -- we are all Avengers. You are Avengers." Clearly impressed by this, Monica welcomes everybody to the team before they resume defending New York from Thanos' invasion...

Thoughts:

Overall this was a fun conclusion to the opening storyline, which is saying something since the series voice could easily have been stifled and buried by the attempt to tie-in with Jonathan Hickman's Infinity. Instead, this storyline merely uses Thanos' invasion of Earth as a backdrop for the teams formation. By the end of the story, Al Ewing has formed a team with plenty of interesting dynamics and with even more new members to come in future issues, I'm certainly intrigued to read on.

Shuma-Gorath's inclusion was an ace surprise last issue and it's clear that Ewing is having a lot of fun writing the cult villain. His appearance has helped to make this story stand out on it's own from Infinity, to the point where I kind of wish he'd been the main villain from the start. The appearance of Shuma-Gorath also allows for the fleshing out of the "mysterious" Spider Hero. In case you weren't aware, the identity of this mystery webhead was seemingly leaked online a while ago, and while this issue doesn't directly confirm that report, the character's dialogue certainly hints that it's true. If it is, then I for one am really excited.

White Tiger gets more presence and development here, not to mention she turns out to be a pretty effective opponent for Shuma-Gorath. Power Man serves her development here which is fine since a romance looks to be brewing between the two. Blue Marvel & the Superior Spider-Man however are just along for the ride, Otto especially, though both still look to contribute well to the overall team dynamic. Otto's sparring with Spider Hero still ranks among the comedic highlights here. Spectrum is saved perhaps a little too easily, but hopefully Ewing will be doing something with her new power boost in the future. I also liked that Ewing leaves it up to the reader to decide if Dr. Strange was actively fighting against the Ebony Maw or not.

While Greg Land doesn't exactly improve in terms of facial expressions, he certainly delivers on the action front and Frank D'Armata provides a wide variety of colours to go along with this unusual band of superheroes. The masked characters and Shuma-Gorath also compensate for the facial expressions. While the artwork has been a little hit-and-miss, this is a very enjoyable opening storyline to Mighty Avengers and I'm looking forward to seeing what Al Ewing has planned for this team and it's future members.

Oh and the Mighty Avengers name coming from a Twitter hashtag? Genius...

Score: 4.0/5.0

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