Cage, Jewel and “Spider-Man” have a frank discussion of leadership styles. Cortex’s Quickfire stumbles across a problem in the ruins of Attilan but turns the tables on the Avengers following after her. By the end, the Mighty Avengers are going to find themselves less mighty by two members. Is the new Power Man less angsty? Is Monica still crazy powerful? And who guest stars at the end?
‘Out and About’
WRITER Al Ewing
PENCILS Greg Land
INKER Lay Leisten
COLORIST Frank D’Armata
LETTERER VC’s Cory Petit
ASSISTANT EDITOR Jake Thomas
EDITORS Tom Brevoort & Lauren Sankovitch
There are two battlefronts to this month’s story. Half the issue takes place on the street in front of the Mighty Avengers HQ; the rest goes down aboard what’s left of Attilan out in the Hudson River.
At Avengers HQ (and by HQ we mean abandoned theater) Superior Spidey has a rather violent discussion with Luke and Jessica about who is fit to lead the team and who is fit to shut up and follow. Superior Spidey’s Spiderling minions and mechs join into the fray and he even manages to get the upper hand with a new formula of strengthened webbing that binds Cage and entombs Jessica. Much to Superior Spidey’s chagrin, the Cage family’s lawyer shows up and Otto finds out he’s no match against the Sensational She-Hulk’s legal savvy. Jennifer proves to be such a game changer that Otto’s army stands down and refuses to fight, leaving the Superior Spider-Man to back down in disgrace as She-Hulk begins to talk lawsuits, investigations and lengthy trials. Fleeing, Otto fires his Spiderlings and exclaims “I have the real Avengers on my side.” Oh, Otto is about to have a very, very troubling short term future.
Back in the ruined husk of Attilan, Quickfire is searching for any sign of the Terrigen crystals that may have been left behind. Cortex’s annoying CEO Jason Quantrell is constantly blowing up her Blutooth, finding new and improved ways to be loathsome. Unbeknownst to Quickfire she’s being watched by Lichidus – “Third of the Four Who Rule” – who is a shadowy mage type with a three-headed Hellhound humanoid and a taste for blood. They’re after the Lost Amulet of Kamar-Taj, which is a nebulous magical artifact giving off an energy signature that Quickfire is able to track down. This results in a three-way brawl between Quickfire, the Hellhoud and the Avengers – Spectrum, Ronin, White Tiger and Power Man. Before the dust can settle Quickfire’s down, the Hellhound is turned into pâté by Power Man & White Tiger and Ronin and the artifact are long gone.
So what are we to make of this month’s issue? Well if Superior Spidey’s really off the team then my tenure as the Mighty Avenger reviewer for the site will be over reaaaal quick-like. I’m sure that when it’s all going south for Otto he’ll cross paths with one of the six trillion Avengers teams out there at some point. But it’ll probably be the “adjective-less” Avengers currently popping up so often in the Superior Spider-Man book. So when Otto says “I’m out!” with this team, I tend to believe him. Yet lest we forget, the real Peter Parker is returning later this spring. It’s not out of bounds to think they’ll throw him back into this title to boost sales, despite the nightmare the character will doubtless be facing in the wake of Otto’s tenure as Spider-Man.
It’s fun when Otto’s facade cracks and the supervillain comes back out. Here, when he’s telling Luke and Jessica that they can be in the upper echelon of his underlings it’s just more than the two lovebirds can take. I would’ve liked to have seen much more of their fight before She-Hulk shows up. By that same token I would’ve loved to see She-Hulk getting hands-on with some of Otto’s mechs – and even Otto himself! But alas, it was not meant to be. It gets us from Point A to Point B, which is Otto leaving the team, but still – the four-color fisticuffs could’ve gone on longer here.
I’m a big Monica fan and overall I like what Al Ewing has done with her so far – though I flat out hate that “Spectrum, if you’re nasty” line. It’s not a good fit with her character at all. As someone who was reading Monica’s time with the Avengers during the Roger Stern years it’s pretty damn jarring. Aside from that unfortunate bit I can tell Ewing’s a Monica Rambeau fan. Her leadership skills are constantly popping up, which is an acknowledgement of the time she lead the team “back in the day,” and he’s always finding interesting ways to have the heroine use her powers. I really like seeing that.
White Tiger is interesting but the new Power Man is redundant. We’re only five issues into the series and already the two have already yo-yo’d their powers back and forth for the other to use and unleash as a mega-powerful attack. While interesting, it needs to be dialed back a bit and not used every other issue. It’s obvious that the creative team is trying to show us that the two characters are growing closer to one another, which is fine – but let’s also allow them to have great moments apart as well so they don’t start becoming attached at the hip. Power Man also gave the “I’m angry at everyone” thing a rest this issue, and that was also very welcome.
What’s not so welcome? The continuing question of Spider-Hero/Ronin’s secret identity. For those who didn’t see his identity spoiled at Bleeding Cool last October there’s that wealth of occult knowledge and his preference for martial arts weaponry which should tip observant readers off. Time to let the cat out of the bag so everyone can enjoy it now. After all, we’re already at the fifth issue; that’s almost halfway to the point where Marvel will probably reboot the title to get yet another issue with a #1 on it. So let **insert Ronin’s secret identity here** come out n’ play already. That being said, Ronin doesn’t have much to do here. He explains a bit about the new group of villains that the Mighty Avengers are ostensibly about to face (the Deathwalkers; the Four Who Rule In Shadow) but then feigns being fatally wounded in order to grab the Lost Amulet of Kamar-Taj and flee the scene. I’m guessing Monica will manage to track him down next month; hopefully that will come with an identity reveal.
Finally – I get that this is an ‘Inhumanity’ crossover but I’m not following another mega event du jour. The only thing Inhumans related in this was the ruins of Attilan and maybe the magical artifact found on board.
Fairly solid issue that could’ve had more Superior Spider-Man, Cage & She-Hulk action. The back and forth between Otto, Luke, Jessica and She-Hulk is a lot of fun and Monica turning the tables on Quickfire was very enjoyable for the Monica fan. Yet this is the last review we’ll have of this series unless Spidey – any Spidey! – starts popping back into it.