Mighty Avengers, (or as CBR review jokester Hannibal Tabu would put it, the Republican Avengers) has, unlike it’s sister-comic, been largely staying out of crossovers-ville. There was that ill-advised tie-in with New Avengers, and we’re getting frequent skrull references, but with regards to the actual plot of the issues, it’s well out of the territory where you need to read oter comics to get what’s going on. In fact, it’s quite clearly become Bendis’ way of proving that he can write traditional, old-school Avengers comics. After the last two issues, well, I’m convinced.
After travelling 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 realise the Sentry can do pretty much anything he wants because eventually, everyone’s going to forget he exists anyway, so they get him to beat up Ben Grimm and get them into Doom’s time machine, which is being kept safe in the Baxter Building, and make it back to the present just to find out that Doom has double-crossed them as he disappears and blows up his own castle. It’s littered with satisfying moments – Doom’s explanation of why Reed has a time machine (“He took it from me.”), Doom using his sorcery against the Sentry, and Bob softly apologising to the Thing shortly before he has to beat him up.
Bagley draws the issue so brilliantly that it’s going to make any die-hard Marvel fan wince at the thought that he’s leaving for DC. His pencils have always had a somewhat retro-feel, and look utterly amazing, coloured 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’s in the present, it all snaps back to reality. It’s a real comics afficiando’s dream of an issue.
In fact, between recent Mighty Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man, it’s like someone, somewhere appears to have realised 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’s Mighty Avengers is a ridiculously fun comic, conntrasting well with the current depressive state of the New Avengers title.