Mighty Avengers takes the idea of an entire team of street-level heroes and makes it official in a big way. When this title was introduced with the Superior Spider-Man in it, I was hesitant as Spidey, street-level though he is, is a massive A-lister who would potentially overshadow EVERYone else on the roster and risk it becoming “Spider-Man’s Mighty Avengers,” but it was clear that Al Ewing knew what he was doing and didn’t let that happen. We’re already plunged headlong into a very personal story about a very obscure character: Ava Ayala, the White Tiger. Ayala is tired of being held back by her teammates and, even, by herself and so she enlists the help of the Tiger God that gives her her powers. The rest of her team has to stop her before she does something she, and they, will regret. We get a great cross-section of characters here, from Iron Fist and the new Power Man doing what they do best to She-Hulk, or rather Jennifer Walters, throwing around her weight as a lawyer to try for as much damage control as possible. We’ve got Falcon on recon, Jessica Jones on support, while Spectrum pulls some distractions and WHAT A GREAT ROSTER THIS IS! I love it, you’ve got SO many different personalities and SO many different kinds of powers all under one banner and all meshing perfectly. Ewing gives everyone a chance to shine and makes sure the vast cast all have their own unique voices.
You guys remember when I hoped Valerio Schiti landed somewhere good after Journey Into Mystery folded? Spoiler alert: HE DID! I’m thrilled to see him on this title as its one that requires his unique touch of incredibly diverse facial expressions. Few artists do as much with eyebrows and upper-lips as Schiti does and the minutiae of expression he’s able to achieve is something else entirely. We also get Frank D’Armata on colors and they’re surprisingly subdued and toned down for an Avengers title, even one that features either non-powered or minimally-powered team members, and that perfectly fits it. This is a dark, rainy night in New York, and the colors never become gloomy nor grim, this is actually a very fun book despite it being about vengeance for the murder of a family.
This is an odd thing to quantify, but if you’re not a fan of Ava Ayala in the first place, it’s difficult to become emotionally invested in her struggle here. Don’t get me wrong, the basic human urge to sympathize is still there and is communicated very well, but this is the A-plot in this book and there is NO B-plot, you either care about this dynamic or you don’t, and if you don’t there’s no much for you here. The characters are all well-written, but as someone who isn’t terribly familiar with the core, I found a lot of the emotional moments ringing a little hollow and since there’s no B-plot to fall back on, the entire issue lost a very specific something.
This isn’t to say the issue isn’t worth reading. I’m going to take a very strange stance and say that, despite my above complaints, this is still a great book with some amazing writing and some incredible art, the fact that I still enjoyed it as much as I did despite knowing very little about its core character is a testament to how well it does. And those absolutely carry this into the realm where it can be recommended as I still care about the group as a whole and I care about, and am invested in, their dynamic and their future stories.