Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #9

 Posted: 26 Aug 2021
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)

Background

The Mighty Avengers were the underdog offshoot of the Avengers that first launched back in 2007. Under the guiding hand of Brian Michael Bendis it became a hugely successful title, and it transformed Spider-Man from a solo/team-up star into a big-league team player.

After a while, Writer Dan Slott picked it up and Spider-Man slipped from the full-time roster. Then Al Ewing took over when the title rebooted to Volume 2 in 2013. It starred "Superior Spider-Man" for a bit – until he was revealed as being Doctor Octopus wearing a Spider-Man meat-suit.

After running only seven issues in Volume #2, "Mighty" was re-titled and renumbered to become "Captain America and the Mighty Avengers", where it ran for nine issues. The "Captain America" re-brand made little sense, since Captain America (Sam Wilson, formerly Falcon) didn't play a particularly major role.

Luke Cage and Jessica Jones were really the heart of the team, such as it had one.

Story 'Sorry, We're Closed'

The preceding couple of issues in this title ran as a side-show to the main storyline involving the cross-dimensional inter-Earth "incursions" which lead into the 2015/2106 updated "Secret Wars" event.

Now this final issue opens with Luke Cage and his wife Jessica Jones renaming the "Mighty Avengers" to "Mighty *****", following threats from Iron Man's legal team. With too many characters and not enough pages, we then have to race around to cover the various cast members as best we can.

Danny Rand (Iron Fist) and Ava Ayala (White Tiger) go out and try to keep the peace, while Kaluu and Wong have a cup of tea in Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum. Victor Alvarez goes home to see his family. Adam Brashear (The Blue Marvel) tries in vain to do something with science.

Monica Rambeau (Spectrum), Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk) and Sam Wilson (Captain America) join most of the rest of the heroes as they attempt to fight off a wave of attacks from the "other" Earth that hovers in the sky. Meanwhile, the Mighty Avengers help desk team answer the phones, although there's little they can do to assist.

At the end of it all, there's a funny sort of fourth-wall breaking "Point of View" scene where "we" appear in the comic as Mighty Avengers, with some sort of plastic Mighty Avengers ID. I guess that's support to be some sort of supporters, fan-club membership card? Like... we're all part of the Mighty Avengers?

In the end... the universe explodes as the two Earths finally crash and destroy reality as we know it. Secret Wars (2015) has begun, putting a full-stop to this confused little title.

General Comments

I confess that I never felt at home in this series. I never felt settled.

The title spent the first three issues torn apart from within thanks to the events of AXIS, which turned heroes into villains, and which itself came hot on the heels of Spider-Man having himself been revealed as a villain.

Then the long-running Cortex sub-plot fizzed-out when the super-powerful reality-warping inter-dimensional villain got shoved into a portal having done the square root of nothing in terms of actually doing villain stuff.

Somewhere in the middle of all that, the Cortex CEO's sexy sidekick bodyguard lady tried to get all "bad girl" by literally ripping people's hearts out... oooh... how bad! Like, a focus group of 14 year old boys got together and decided what would be like, the coolest, baddest thing for a villain lady to do! That kind of bad.

Then the final three issues are window-dressing on a story that is happening in another comic entirely. The Mighty Avengers were parsley on the side of somebody else's plate.

As for the "team"... well, they spend very little time being a team. Does Blue Marvel ever even speak to She-Hulk? Could Kaluu even name the rest of the members? Apart from White Tiger and Power Man hanging out together, mostly it's just a bunch of individuals collected together for tax and marketing purposes.

Overall Rating

This series had everything. Heavy hitting A-List heroes, the next generation of carefully culturally diverse young up-and-comers including the now-mandatory Muslim woman, four black Americans, two Asians, and a pair of Hispanics. Nothing wrong with that. Widespread representation is cool. I'm on board.

It had cosmic villains, but also a human interest side. It carried the A-list Avengers name, but gave them an underdog feel. It had demonic disembowellings, but also featured high-tech rollerblading baddies who were played for yuks in the best comedy tradition.

They tried to push all the buttons they could find. Long shots. Close-ups. Breaking the fourth wall. All the boxes had been ticked. All the angles covered. One of everything fed into the machine. Handle cranked.

And in the end, it all came to nothing. So much effort, such a forgettable comic.

Two Webs. You tried so hard guys, you really did.

 Posted: 26 Aug 2021
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)