Now this is the Avengers. "Mighty Avengers" started off with a vast amount of potential, but got a little lost in itself during the storyline against the Unspoken. Now, Slott seems determined to get this book back on track and make it the best of the Avengers brand. To do so, Slott goes to the well that has lead to a number of great Avengers stories: Loki. As longstanding readers of this run know, Loki has played a major part in this team's fate. In this issue, Loki ties the fate of Hank Pym's team to the team of Avengers run by Norman Osborn.
This issue contains a mild tie-in to "Realm of Kings: Inhumans" #2, but the story in this issue is not at all hampered by the events of that one. One quick editor's asterisk box and we're on our way. Over the course of this single issue, Slott soaks this title in the Marvel Universe, travelling from Attilan to the Infinite Avengers Mansion to Project Pegasus. Along the way, Zzzax, Terminus, the Absorbing Man, and the Inhumans all make appearances. By jamming so very much into one single issue, Slott gives the impression that this is an extra-sized issue. It's not. It's just one heck of a great issue, and the first of a two-part story that pits two teams of Avengers against each other and a common foe.
Pham is back in his penciling glory. I'm hoping this time around, with the support of Craig Yeung on inks, that Pham goes a little longer between breaks, as this book is a much better experience with Pham's mighty pencil artwork gracing its pages. The action of this issue centers on over two dozen characters, all perfectly nuanced by Pham. My only gripe is that I wish I could see Pham draw more Avengers, like Captain America, or the real Scarlet Witch, Thor, or She-Hulk.
Marvel's putting out a load of very interesting stories of late, but none are as all-encompassing -- as Marvelous -- as this title. After all, where else will you encounter dialog like, "Zounds, man! Must thou be such a tool?" This is the stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift to give to that fan that has always enjoyed superheroes. That could even include yourself; after all, isn't that part of the holiday shopping experience? This is the Avengers, bold and bombastic, loud and lively -- superheroics at its best.