"Mighty Avengers", has, unlike its sister comic, "New Avengers", been largely staying out of crossovers-ville. There was that ill-advised tie-in with "New Avengers", and we‚Äôre getting frequent Skrull references, but with regards to the actual plot of the issues, it‚Äôs well out of the territory where you need to read other comics to get what‚Äôs going on. In fact, it‚Äôs quite openly Bendis‚Äô way of proving that he can write traditional, old-school Avengers comics. After the last two issues, I‚Äôm actually convinced.
After traveling back in time last issue, Doom, Iron Man and The Sentry struggle to get back to the present without screwing up the timeline. They eventually realize that the Sentry can do pretty much anything he wants because eventually, everyone‚Äôs going to forget he even exists. They get him to beat up Ben Grimm, allowing them access to Doom‚Äôs time machine which is being kept safe in the Baxter Building, and the trio make it back to the present ÔŅĹ" only for the heroes to find that Doom has double-crossed them as he disappears en route before blowing up his own castle. It‚Äôs littered with satisfying moments - Doom‚Äôs explanation of why Reed has a time machine ("He took it from me."), Doom using his sorcery against the Sentry, and Bob softly apologizing to the Thing shortly before he has to beat him up.
Bagley draws the issue so brilliantly that it‚Äôs going to make any die-hard Marvel fan wince at the thought that he‚Äôs leaving for DC. His pencils have always had a somewhat retro-feel, and look utterly amazing, colored with old-style Ben-day dots. The retro take even extends beyond the artwork, with faux-distressing on the page and old in-house adverts in the margins. Once the team‚Äôs in the present, it all snaps back to reality. It‚Äôs a real comics aficionado‚Äôs dream of an issue.
In fact, between recent "Mighty Avengers" and "Amazing Spider-Man" issues, it‚Äôs like someone, somewhere appears to have realized that pacing a comic for the trade is just one way of doing it. Could the shift back towards satisfying, single-issue stories be happening right now? Either way, this month‚Äôs "Mighty Avengers" is a ridiculously fun comic, contrasting well with the current depressive state of the "New Avengers" title.