The cover to this issue promises ‘an epic struggle for the truth’, and whilst I’m not quite sure there’s any of that in between the covers, this was still a very enjoyable read that allowed the characters a bit of down-time after the relentless pace of the first 5 issues, and in doing so, gave a lot of them a bit of much-needed depth.
The main focus of this issue is an impromptu party at Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ new apartment (they are swapping with Dave so Baby Danielle isn’t sleeping at an Avengers HQ that is easily attacked), and it was a lot of fun to see these characters hanging out, even when it got serious. Jessica has the Blue Marvel use his super-strength and flying to help transport heavy items like the fridge. After an interesting conversation about how he managed to handle raising a child as a superhero, and what advice he can give her, she invites him inside. I was very pleased to see Iron Fist hanging out, because he really should be on this team. My annoyance at his absence has been mollified slightly by the announcement of a new solo series, but still, literally every single one of his superhero friends except Misty Knight is on this team, he should be involved.
Al Ewing once again shows a great knack for humour, as White Tiger makes fun of Luke after finding a box of his old Power Man costumes, including one that’s just full of Tiaras. White Tiger is one of those characters who got a bit more focus here, as we see her trying to leave the party early and go on patrol, and how she’s working way too hard. Part of this is explained in a nice bit of continuity, as this issue takes place after news of Avengers Arena has leaked, and she’s pissed about what happened to her friends, but she’s also just driven in general, and is still trying to find Gideon Mace, the man who killed her family.
Not at the party are Power Man, Spectrum and She-Hulk, who are training at the Statue Of Liberty. This scene is to show a bit more about how Power Man’s ‘chi’ powers work. Earlier this morning he was only able to withstand a blast from Spectrum for 16 seconds, but after spending all day studying the Statue’s history, he could do it for over 8 minutes. The more Victor knows about his surroundings, the more chi he can draw from it, and the more powerful he is. It’s a very cool idea, and it allows for a cool source of conflict for the character. He doesn’t want to study, but he has to. There’s another funny moment afterwards where Ewing seems to acknowledge complaints that Greg Land gave Monica Rambeau ‘white’ hair.
Speaking of Land, he’s off this book now, and replaced by Valerio Schiti, and artist who’s really impressed me when ever I’ve seen his work on the likes of Avengers A.I., he has a cartoonish style that works for this book’s comedic moments, but can also handle the big, action sequences.
Back at the party, White Tiger discovers a new Mighty Avengers signal device, but the real meat is the conversation between Luke and Blue Marvel, which was just fascinating. They’ve never met before, and they both agree that they thought they wouldn’t get along, but now they can because they’ve learnt from their mistakes. The issue is… they both think the mistake is on the other’s part. Adam mistrusted Luke because of his criminal past, and Luke was always angry at Adam for agreeing to step down and live in secret, for not standing up during the Civil Rights movement and being an inspiration. He even says that, if Adam had been public, maybe Luke wouldn’t have fallen into a life of crime. It’s very interesting stuff, and important too, given this title’s high number of black characters. Adam flies off on a mission, but this isn’t the last we’ll see of this debate.
Interspersed throughout this issue are scenes of a criminal, who burnt down a bookshop because it was full of ‘socialist propaganda’ trying to escape across the city. Only he isn’t being followed by any cops, but by birds. This is of course set up for him to run right into the Falcon, and it was very well done. Falcon, much like another superhero who can control animals in Aquaman, can quite easily come across as goofy and lame, but here, he was shown as bad-ass and actually quite scary. Ewing references Hitchcock’s The Birds here, and it’s an appropriate reference. Falcon easily dispatches this crook, and it turns out he’s working on the orders of a certain Gideon Mace, the man who killed White Tiger’s family. And just who is it who happens to be listening in on Falcon and Luke’s conversation on her shiny new signal device? You guessed it!
This just continues to be a great comic, it’s fun, funny and full of great characters. If the Avengers books have gotten a bit too heady and sci-fi for you, then pick up Mighty, Ewing and Schiti won’t disappoint.