Tuesday, 19 June 2012

'The Mighty Avengers: Earth's Mightiest' - Slott, Pham, Sandoval & Segovia (Marvel)

As a rule, I generally stay well clear of the Marvel universe for the simple reason that it's pretty much impossible to get by readng just one of the series. Everything is tied together so cleverly that even with the best of intentions you will find yourself buying more and more comics in order to get the whole story. Is this approach about telling an integrated story, across several platforms, or is it an underhand attempt to get comic fans to part with even more cash? Being ever so slightly cynical I know which one I'd choose... I got my fingers burned collecting 'X-Men' comics and swore off Marvel after that. Until now.

The recent release of the 'Avengers' movie (which I still need to see at some point, probably at Christmas when the DVD comes out...) got me all interested though and I thought I read some 'Avengers' if I got the chance. Just to see what I was missing really. Where to start though? I mean, how long has 'The Avengers' comic book been running for? That's an awful lot of continuity to get caught up on... As it turned out, the best place to start was with 'Earth's Mightiest' which I saw on special offer in The Works. The story looked relatively self contained and I wouldn't be too out of pocket if it didn't work for me.

Did it work for me? I can't see myself going out and buying more 'Avengers' books off the back of 'Earth's Mightiest' but it made for a pretty entertaining read in the meantime.

The initial premise is simple, perhaps a little too simple for me. A new team of Avengers are assembled to take on a variety of threats; they meet the threat head on, deal with it and are moved on to the next threat. That's the main bulk of the plot really and you could argue that doesn't make for much of a plot at all. I'd have to agree with you there. Pham, Sandoval and Segovia all take turns at showing us what's happening and it all looks really dynamic on the page. It verges on the edge of being repetitive/monotonous though and it's only the fact that the book is so short (as well as setting the Avengers up against the Fantastic Four) that saves the day. There's enough action here to get things buzzing but I'd say that Slott does well to keep it on that side of the line.

It was the little hints at a wider picture that proved to be more intriguing for me, both in terms of plot and character. Everyone has their issues here but Hank Pym's struggles to be a leader, and pay some kind of meaningful tribute to his dead ex-wife at the same time, proved to be really engaging. The guy is totally off his head (I think) and I couldn't help but root for him a little because of this.

I also found myself noting little asides as well that hinted at the state of the wider Marvel universe. I don't want to give too much away but I'm sure that a particular Norse God was a guy the last time I saw anything of him. And what's going on with Norman Osborne? Shouldn't he be... Oh I don't know. These little snippets of information are all very interesting and clearly designed to have you picking up the next comic as well as all the back issues you can lay your hands on. I don't have the money, or the space, for that and I think a visit to Wikipedia is probably in order to answer those questions.

'Earth's Mightiest' is a very well drawn comic and I'd love to see more work from Pham, Sandoval and Segovia in the future. It's very lightweight though in terms of plot, a lot of fun to read but feels strangely hollow at the same time. Hollow enough in fact I'll probably only pick up future 'Avengers' books if they're on offer as well. There isn't quite enough here to make me want to dig deeper to get the whole picture...

Seven and a Half out of Ten

No comments: