It's hinted that after the current Siege event Marvel is returning to the days of brighter, shinier heroes. The funny thing is, we've had this concept for months since Dan Slott became writer of Mighty Avengers. Optimistic, bright heroes fighting supremely powerful villains while actually getting along and having fun. The transformation of Hank Pym from psychotic loser to the new Wasp - Scientist Supreme, admired and trusted by his teammates - has been a wonder to behold.
But it's not all about Hank - every player can surprise and delight; there's USAgent, with athletics and attitude; Hercules, heroism and hubris; Quicksilver, speed and spite; Jocasta, cybernetics and sauciness; the Vision, depth and perception; Amadeus Cho, brains and bravado; Jarvis, tea and cakes; Stature . . . er . . .
Anyway, this month the team has no choice but to join forces with Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers to take on the Absorbing Man, newly imbued with the power of a Cosmic Cube. Hank out-thinks Norman by looking at the problem from a devastatingly logical angle, while Moonstone - she's been reverted to an earlier state, auditions for the Metatextual Avengers with a much-deserved pop at DC Comics (click to enlarge and chuckle): Slott teases us with the return of the real Vision rather than the dull 'teenage' android while Jocasta receives an unwelcome guest. It's another issue choc-full of intelligence and wit and why it's not Marvel's best-selling team book I have no idea.
Khoi Pham's art is looking a lot sharper these days, perhaps due to the teaming with inker Craig Yeung. John Rauch's colours complement the illustrations nicely and Dave Lanphear's lettering sits seamlessly on the page, never distracting, simply pulling its storytelling weight.
Whatever happens after the upcoming Avengers franchise shuffle, I hope this title survives, as the book which embodies the spirit of the Avengers while finding new ways to tell classic stories.