Monday, June 11, 2007

Avengers vs Avengers

Strangely, in both Mighty Avengers and Marvel Adventures Avengers, one member of the team has been turned against the rest. Well, I suppose it isn't all that strange, since it's one of the time-tested tropes of the Marvel universe. Nor, with all the shape-shifters wandering around, is it all that unusual to discover that everything is not what it seems. Everything old, as they say, is new again.

But I'll bet that the average reader who hasn't been following the Avengers (difficult as that is, since there are three, or is it four, different groups traveling under that name) would never guess that the person on the cover of Mighty Avengers #2 is actually Tony Stark.

There's something that hasn't been done before.

Well, it's actually the latest iteration of Ultron, an artificial intelligence created by Hank Pym, which has taken over the body and armor of Iron Man and, through unknown / buzzword means, has transformed the organic and electronic source material into a shape of its choosing -- and since it "loves" Hank, the shape it has chosen is that of a stark (so to speak) naked Janet van Dyne. I wonder what its reaction will be when it discovers that, literally at this very same moment, Hank is in bed with Tigra the Were-Woman.

Whatever "at this same moment" means in an arc that has stretched across three issues so far with no real time having passed and no sign of a conclusion on the horizon.

But then, I guess the point of the book is to provide an excuse for Frank Cho to do what he does best: Draw women as close to naked as the market will allow. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

(Kind of makes you wonder why he's not drawing Marvel's version of "Birds of Prey", Heroes for Hire, doesn't it?)

At least, in Marvel Adventures Avengers 13, I know what's going on. In this all-ages continuity, Janet is Giant-Girl, whose costume Hank designed to make it possible to communicate with ants. (She can shrink to ant-size as well, she just doesn't, because she doesn't see any point in being ant-sized.) This facility also makes it possible for the insectoid PsyClops to exploit a flaw in the suit's operating system and take mental control of her.

Hence, the Attack of the 50-Foot Superhero scene on the cover, which actually does occur in the book.

I have to say that, in my advancing age, what I want in a comic book is (a) a story, that has (b) a beginning, (c) a middle, and (d) an end. The mainstream Marvel universe (see above) is an infinite middle. The "Marvel Adventures" universe consists of mostly self-contained stories. I like that.

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