Comics : Mighty Avengers (Vol. 2) #4

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This story is part of an Arc: "Inhumanity tie in"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: Jan 2014.

Background...

The war against the Builders and Thanos's forces is over. Fortunately the good guys won! However, part of the fight involved Black Bolt and destroying Attilan, home of the Inhumans, and spreading the mutating Terrigen mists across the Earth. Anyone with even a tiny part of Inhuman DNA in them has turned into a chrysalis before hatching and obtaining various super powers.

During Thanos's invasion of Earth, a team of Mighty Avengers made up of Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spectrum, White Tiger, Power Man, the Blue Marvel and “Spider Hero” formed to defeat the demon Shuma-Gorath. The citizens of New York were also deemed Avengers at this time but I get the feeling their membership cards may be lost in the mail...

In Detail...

"Spider Hero becomes Ronin"
Mighty Avengers (Vol. 2) #4
Feb 2014 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Arc: Part 1 of "Inhumanity tie in"
Editor:  Lauren Sankovitch, Tom Brennan
Assistant Editor:  Jake Thomas
Writer:  Al Ewing
Pencils:  Greg Land
Inker:  Jay Leisten
Cover Art:  Frank D'Armata, Greg Land
Lettering:  VC's Cory Petit
Colorist:  Frank D'Armata
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Issue
Review

Jason Quantrell, the head of Cortex Incorporated, is filming a TV commercial telling us how his company is going to improve the world. As soon the recording stops his bodyguard, Barbara Quickfire, callously dismisses the film crew. She has recently come into some Inhuman powers, specifically the ability to slow time around her, and her boss would like to be able to give others similar gifts under the Cortex brand name. He thinks paying the fallen city of Attilan may help his endeavour.

Meanwhile, across New York at the Gem theatre, the Mighty Avengers are setting up their new HQ. Yup, Luke Cage has teamed up with his old friend Dave Griffith and is back at the Gem Theatre. Spider-Man thinks the theatre is very suitable as it will never compare to Avengers Tower just as the “Mighty Avengers” will never compare to the Avengers. He suggests they use the name “Champions” instead and at least “Heroes for Hire” was accurate! Cage explains it was accurate but not any more as they are now a volunteer organisation that doesn't take cash. They have investors and some of Adam Brashear's patent money to help with set up costs but other than that they won't make money, they'll just help those that need it (be it regular people or S.H.I.E.L.D.). (Blue Marvel is there at the moment as he is in Germany helping Hauptmann Deutschland deal with some W.E.S.P.E. terrorists.) Spidey skulks off complaining at the lack of leadership and saying he'll come back to discuss that later. The others are starting to notice (finally) that Spidey has been acting differently and being a bit off a jerk of late. Falcon is also at the Gem and says that Tony Stark is fine with Cage leading a team of Avengers again. Luke tells him that he wants complete autonomy this time. Sam gets a bit cross as this, as he isn't there on “Official Avengers” business and just wanted to check place out; he says how he is not just Captain America's sidekick and wants to be part of the team in his own right. At that point White Tiger and Power Man enter, after a training session, and Vic gets excited at the Falcon's presence as it must mean Cap is there too!

Elsewhere, Spider Hero is discussing the events from the Infinity tie-in with Kaluu via crystal ball! Kaluu mocks his outfit and suggests he changes it, which Spider Hero agrees with as it will keep “the Walkers” off the scent. Hero also states he has worked with Dr Brashear previously and that he knows Luke Cage's father. Kaluu says he can detect one of the Walkers' creatures in Attilan, which is still in the Hudson.

At the Hudson, Maria Hill (director of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is giving her agents a hard time as they haven't removed the wreckage yet. We then see that the agents at the site are in fact possessed by the Deathwalkers (the Walkers of which Spider Hero spoke off earlier no doubt) and that Attilan must remain undisturbed. Nobody told Ms Quickfire though as she has sneaked on board, however she is not alone as three pairs of eyes follow her from the shadows.

Back at the Gem, Spectrum, Falcon and Cage are trying to device a system that will allow Falcon to be on two teams at once. Spider Hero turns up asking for a new outfit and saying he needs help breaking into Attilan. Jessica Jones digs out a box of Clint Barton's old stuff and Spider Hero becomes the latest incarnation of Ronin (with added leather coat). Luke sends the team off to Attilan as he has to meet with his legal representation, something that Jess isn't happy about as his lawyer is also his ex! Luke says he is not going to hire Matt Murdock but Jessica argues there are more than two lawyers in New York! Just then Spider-Man returns with a team of Spiderlings and a Spider-Robot; he wants to be the leader of the Mighty Avengers and has come to "discuss" it!

In General...

Good story. The fact that I needed all that text above to summarise the plot tells us that a lot happened. We got the Mighty Avengers' new HQ set up and an explanation on how they now work. We also got the introduction of not one but two threats they are about to face. I liked the way they explained how the whole team wouldn't be present all the time as they all have different priorities but they'll set up a system to allow them to assemble when needed. This will help if Falcon is with the main team of Avengers or if Blue Marvel is out of town (and is something Wolverine or Spider-Man could have done with a long time ago!). Tiny things like this make the story more real and keep it grounded, which I for one appreciate. I also liked the fact we heard characters speak in their natural tongue: when Dr Brashear was talking to Hauptmann Deutschland, and later when White Tiger and Power Man were speaking. This again keeps it real and highlights the fact that there is a whole world outside of America. This is something Marvel is beginning to realise more and more. That said, I glad it was only a couple of panels of text that were like this as it would get quite old quite soon if we have to translate half of our comics every issue.

This comic is certainly one for those that like continuity and have a long history with Marvel comics. We've previously had Kaluu and Shuma-Gorath, this issue reintroduces Cortex (from Iron Man stories), Hauptmann Deutschland (from Captain America stories) and Dave Griffith (who was Luke Cage's buddy way before Danny Rand). Speaking of who I'm guessing, and hoping, that Iron Fist is one of the Mighty Avengers' investors and will turn up a little down the road. I like the inclusion of little Danielle Cage, she's quite cute and funny, and her presence allows Luke to run the team without going back on his promise to his family. I also like the way they bring back the Ronin costume, returning to when Clint Barton wore it and how he left behind. Just another bit of realism – though I doubt Echo, Hawkeye and this new guy could all fit in the exact same outfit! I think this issue gives the biggest clues as to who is behind the Ronin mask. Now I could be wrong and I'm not going to say outright but anyone who doesn't want any clues to who it may be might want to skip to the next paragraph. So far we know he has a history with other Marvel characters, so he is not a new character, and he also has a strong link to the mystic realms. However, this issue makes a big deal about his leather coat and off the top of my head there are only two main Marvel mystic characters that wear a leather coat and as Johnny Blaze has recently joined the Thunderbolts it has to be the other one, right? Time will tell.

I find the comic genuinely amusing, there are plenty of one-liners and funny moments, which particularly as I Spider-Man fan I enjoy. Once more I find myself loving the captions used in this comic. The way they blend in to what has just been said by a character and also give a snippet of information for readers I think is great. A couple of examples: when Luke Cage tells us that Adam Brashear has his own priorities – next caption accompanying the doctor “The Blue Marvel (A man with priorities)”, and how the Superior Spider-Man is described as “Delicious Doc Ock in a crispy Spidey shell”, just wonderful! It's going to be interesting to see how Spidey will keep his place on the team if Cage doesn't submit to him next issue (which I'm guessing he won't).

As for the story itself, well as I said above, a lot happens – most of it setting up the new Inhumanity arc and the new characters within said plot. Therefore there is no real action but that's fine as the story moves along nicely. I'm not too sure about Barbara Quickfire, I mean it's classic Marvel that a person called Quickfire then happens to get the power to slow time, but she seems a bit of a Black Widow clone – particularly in the way she is drawn sneaking onto Attilan. I'm also not too sure on this whole line wide Inhumanity plot, it just seems a bit of a rehash of earlier mutant stories – normal people wake up discovering they have super powers and how will they fit in? Hasn't this been done already? However, that is going on through most Marvel comics at the moment and so isn't the fault of Mighty Avengers, so I won't hold the lack of originality against this issue. It does concern me that Mighty Avengers is going to go the same route as New Avengers (vol.2) and Avengers vol 4 in that it's just going to be used for tie in stories. So far it is managing to tell it's own story whilst fitting in with line wide events; I just hope it keeps up.

Overall Rating...

Good set up issue, with nice art, that keeps things moving along nicely.