Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Comic Review Wednesdays - Mighty Avengers #27

Mighty Avengers #27
Plot by Dan Slott
Script by Christos N. Gage
Pencils by Khoi Pham

Before Blackbolt took power there was another king of the inhumans. He was erased from history, but now he's returned. Quicksilver and U.S.Agent on the mission for the international super-hero trust (or whatever it's called) encounter the Unspoken, the former inhuman leader. Meanwhile the other Avengers are finally shown Pym's ultimate creation-- Salvation-2.

Scirpting duties have been passed off to Christos Gage with this issue-- presumably Slott is too bust with other projects and thus has pulled a Brian Michael Bendis. Often when the scripter isn't the plotter the quality of the title plummets, but fortunately Mighty Avengers manges to stay safely in the zone. If the reader isn't aware of the switch beforehand (as likely they're not going to be; Gage isn't listed on the cover, and credits aren't in the books until literally half-way) they're likely not going to notice a change in the storytelling. Slott's kind of sense of fun, and smart character moments are still there but they're to varying degrees less effective.

For instance only one of several jokes in the issue actually makes its mark. One particular stinker, following the arrival of the (apparently) formally named "China force" goes "They're called the People Defense Force now, idiot." Character moments are also much farther in between. Gage clearly doesn't have the grasp on the characters that Slott has. U.S.Agent seems to have been reduced for more a caricature, and Quicksilver now seems incongruous. Additionally, Hercules and Amadeus Cho-- surprisingly big draws to the series-- are not nearly as effective in this issue as they have been in the past. Still, many of these criticisms only come in retrospect when it comes to attention that this issue wasn't written by a bad-day Slott. They hardly break the title, but they're certainly there.

The issue begins with a rather lengthy section of exposition which details how the Unspoken came to be the Unspoken. Normally these sections are complete bores to read and are point-to examples of bad story telling, but Slott and Gage manage to make the section entertaining enough to keep one's attention. There is something attractive about seeing the infamous inhumans as teenagers that makes the section captivating. Seeing these often arrogant characters are young well-intentioned upstarts suits them, almost so that you might want to read more.

As is often the case with the new villain there is a certain lack of threat to them. Nothing he accomplishes in this particular issue is awe-worthy, and words can only go so far as it is. The arc promises to be a open invite to just about every hero in the marvel universe, and the reveal of Pym's salvation-2 seems to support that.

RATING: 7 out of 10
Though not quite as strong as a script written by Slott himself, Gage manages to give it some charm. This issue would be a solid jumping on point if you're interested in following the series.

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