Hello everybody! I apologise for the delay in this and other reviews (I blame Christmas and the New Year!), but I'm going to make sure I catch up as quick as I can, starting with my review of Mighty Avengers #4.INH, or "Spider Hero No More" as I like to call it (once you've been Ronin you won't go moanin').
Synopsis:After recording a brief video for his company, Cortex Industries, Jason Quantrell talks in private with his personal security Barbara, code-name Quickfire, about her recent metamorphosis into an Inhuman after the detonation of the Terrigen Bomb in Infinity. Barbara now has the power to slow down time, though at the moment she can only use it on one target at a time. Desiring to bottle and sell these abilities for profit, Quantrell sends Quickfire to the ruins of the Inhuman city Attilan, which is still being excavated from the Hudson by S.H.I.E.L.D, to retrieve some fresh Terrigen crystals.
Elsewhere, the Mighty Avengers are setting up shop in their new headquarters, the Gem Theater, as well as a hotline room where they will take calls from anyone who needs them, regular or S.H.I.E.L.D-type people alike. The "Superior Spider-Man" however, is bitching non-stop at Cage over practically everything, saying the "whole operation is screaming out for some competent leadership" (this from the guy who couldn't even manage a team of five other supervillains?). He then leaves to deal with a looter reported by one of his Spider-Bots, leaving everyone disgruntled by his rudeness. Luke tells the Falcon (who tagged along with "Spidey") that he needs to speak to Tony Stark about having more autonomy than before, assuming he's here on official business from the main Avengers team. It turns out however that Sam actually came to join the team instead. Cage apologises, saying he knows that Falcon gets that a lot, illustrated when Power Man walks in and says, "Oh hey! Falcon! Awesome! That means Captain America's here too, right?"
Meanwhile, the mysterious individual known only at this point as Spider Hero is conversing with Kaluu via crystal ball about his new identity, which Kaluu thinks he should change as the costume is hideous (speak for yourself dude!). The pair also mention the term "Walkers" (hmm?), and comment on the formation of the Mighty Avengers, with Spider Hero revealing that he knows Cage's dad, Jim Lucas. Kaluu comments that this kind of synchronicity indicates that they're running out of time. Spider Hero agrees and affirms that they need to find "the Walkers" now. Kaluu is able to narrow them down to New York. Unfortunately, their current locations seems to be Attilan.
We then jump to the Inhuman city itself, where Agent Tremaine is being yelled at over the phone by S.H.I.E.L.D Director Maria Hill, who wants to know why the city is still buried in the Hudson. She interrupts Tremaine's excuse that Hank Pym and his A.I Avengers had business in the wreckage, saying they got it done already, and warns him not to patronise her before ending the call, causing Tremaine to mutter that he misses Daisy Johnson as Director. Tremaine and the other agents stationed at the site are then suddenly possessed by a mysterious force, which says that "until the Talisman is found", "Attilan must not be disturbed".
While this is going on up top, Quickfire infiltrates Attilan from underwater using a light bending suit crudely modelled on Stark technology. She contacts Quantrell, informing him that she has breached the objective, unaware of several pairs of red eyes glinting at her.
Back at the Gem Theater, as Falcon is discussing membership with Spectrum, Spider Hero arrives, with Cage commenting that he shouldn't wear the same "nasty-ass coat" if he doesn't want to be recognised, to which Spider Hero responds "you dream of a coat so nasty (I second that!). He asks for help getting into Attilan, to which Cage agrees, as well as asking Jessica if they still have that big box with Clint Barton's stuff. When we next see Spider Hero, he's strolling out of the building with the rest of the Avengers, but he is Spider Hero no longer. Now he is clad in the slick ninja threads of Ronin!
Cage decides to stay behind and let Monica lead the team on this occasion so he can spend time with his family, as well as make an appointment with their legal representation. Unfortunately, this causes friction with Jessica as the lawyer in question is Luke's ex, which means ol' Lukey-boy will be spending the night on the "power couch". Their little domestic is cut short however by "Spider-Man", who's brought an Arachnaught and several Spider-Lings with him. He threatens to tear the place down unless Cage comes outside and essentially relinquishes his leadership to SpOck...
Thoughts:Having to tie the first storyline of a series in with a crossover event is hard enough. Having to tie your first two in with two separate events is somewhat ridiculous, but Al Ewing looks to be handling it rather well as he kicks off his next story with the Mighty Avengers.
I'm starting to think that the "Superior Spider-Man" works better in a team book, as while he's as outrageous as ever, he's not nearly as irritating as he is in other series since he's not the main character, as well as the fact that the other members of the team frequently point out that he's a jerk, though Jessica Jones' reaction to this is a little off to me. Considering that this is the guy she was in love with back in high school, you'd think that his sudden swing in behaviour would bother her more on a personal level. While SpOck doesn't hold any actual jokes to his name in this issue, his hypocrisy is hilariously apparent in the final panel and (though I can't believe I'm actually saying this) I'm looking forward to seeing "Spider-Man" get his butt handed to him by Cage next issue.
Cage himself is, of course, way more sympathetic and his characterisation is still in line with Bendis' run on New Avengers, and though his approach to setting up these Avengers base and the way they operate is pretty grounded, it looks as though Ewing will also be continuing the contrast of street-level heroes going up against supernatural and cosmic threats. I like how Cage is throwing himself into managing this team instead of doing so reluctantly as it's more in-keeping with his character and allows for better drama between him and Jessica, though I hope Ewing is not headed towards making these two divorce as it's nice to have an actual married couple in the Marvel U.
As I hinted at earlier, this issue features our mystery hero retiring his Spider Hero identity and assuming that of Ronin, which is both a little sad and really cool. We aren't outright told who we're dealing with, but the inclusion of the leather coat and the sharp weapons are painting a pretty clear picture. I suspect that we'll get a full confirmation next issue, especially if the Avengers are dealing with what I think their dealing with. The rest of the team are in the background for this issue and right now that's fine, though Falcon's inclusion provides some good comedy as well as a brief commentary on people's general perception of the bird-man.
If Jason Quantrell was the only villain of this story, then we'd have a problem as he's pretty bland, but with a more interesting threat lurking in the background, his presence is acceptable at best and his segment features a really clever demonstration of his assistant's Inhuman powers, so I can't really complain too much. Greg Land's art is the same as ever, good, but full of weird facial expressions, though Frank D'Armata still provides a nice mix of colours. Next issue looks to be very exciting, though hopefully we'll be able to get to a point where the series isn't having to tie-in with every current event...