Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers are known as the baddest superheroes around. This is not to say that the movies are mindless action (they’re not) or that they fail to write good characters (they don’t), but most casual moviegoers remember the big action scenes or witty quips more than their favorite superhero’s emotional nuances. Avengers: Mighty Origins revisits an early adventure of the team and thanks to Peter David’s excellent writing and great art from the team of Andrea De Vito, Jim Buran, Nigel Raynor, Mike Bowden, and Walden Wong, the book tells a story that is more about characters than action.
David does a great job of character building in Avengers: Mighty Origins. A new team of good guys not entirely trusting each other is not a novel idea, but David’s writing brings realism to the book. This is early in the team’s career and they still do not know each other. A small comment is enough to stir discontent. After all, why should Iron Man readily believe this buff blonde pretty boy he just met is a god?
The heroes’ inner monologues are also well written, if a little numerous. Whether in battle or sharing a milkshake, the characters are realistic. Each thought is a natural progression and comes to a logical conclusion. Nothing is out of character or confusing. Comics are a terrific form of escapism but it’s wonderful to be able to relate to a superhero.
(Without getting into spoiler territory, I will just say the heroes are not the only ones to benefit from strong writing.)
The art in Avengers: Mighty Origins is equally enjoyable, particularly the faces. Much like the writing, the reader is able to watch the characters’ thought processes and see (mis)understanding in their eyes. Many scenes also capture anger and introspection perfectly and Buran’s work is especially noteworthy. The art in Mighty Origins emphasizes David’s writing.
Avengers: Mighty Origins is a comic book with plenty of action and the art couples well with the story in these scenes as well. The book is filled with thought balloons but the story moves at a pace that prevents it from getting boring. The gorgeous battle scenes highlight the strength and ingenuity of the characters while also capturing the immediate danger. Best of all, the plot does not stop during these sequences and comments and thoughts keep the story flowing.
The bonus story in Avengers: Mighty Origins (The Avengers #1 from 2016) is not as fun, unfortunately. There’s nothing wrong with Mark Waid’s writing, however the comic is obviously in the middle of a larger story arc. It seems it was included to introduce a newly formed modern team which would tie the two stories together thematically, but being thrown into a story that has already begun and lacks a conclusion is jarring.
The art may be the most off-putting thing about The Avengers. Michael Del Mundo’s work is not bad — far from it, as the action scenes are beautiful. It’s the more intimate moments that suffer. Del Mundo’s style is better suited for fantastic moments and looks odd in panels when characters are simply having a conversation or even when focusing on one hero in a multi panel battle. (Ironically, the last page of the bonus story may be the best drawn page in the entire book.)
Avengers: Mighty Origins is an action-packed and fun book. The bonus story is not something you need to go out of your way to read, but David’s tale along with fantastic art make Mighty Origins a great addition to Avengers history.
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