AVENGERS: MECH STRIKE #1/ Script by JED MACKAY/ Art by CARLOS MAGNO/ Colors by GURU-EFX/ Letters by VC’S CORY PETIT/ Cover by KEI ZAMA & GURU-EFX/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
I must confess I did not have high expectations going into Avengers: Mech Strike #1. This is, after all, a comic book based around a profoundly stupid concept; turn Marvel Comics’ greatest heroes into mecha pilots. It sounds like an excuse to sell action figures, because it is; there’s a line of LEGO sets attached to the idea. I vaguely recall them doing this once before in the Marvel Adventures line and have it on good authority there have been more than a few Marvel-themed mecha toys and Transformers. And yet, for all that… this comic is not nearly as bad as it should have been.
There’s not much of a story to this first issue. A massive kaiju starts eating New York City. The Avengers from the movie (minus Hawkeye) plus Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Spider-Man barely manage to stop it and determine there’s more like it on the way. Faster than you can say “Go Go Power Rangers!” Tony and T’Challa have built eight distinctive and marketable giant robots that will channel the powers of their pilots. Even the Hulk. Especially the Hulk!
Jed MacKay ignores the obvious issues with all of this in his script, focusing on the action. As a result, none of the Avengers display much personality beyond Spider-Man, who is only there to make jokes and annoy everyone with his questions. While this would be fairly consistent with Tom Holland’s take on the character in the MCU, this Peter Parker comes off as more of an annoyance than a rookie who is nervous about being bumped up to the big leagues. This is odd as he’s meant to be a founding member of the Avengers in this reality and appears to be an adult male in the artwork.
Talking of the artwork, Carlos Magno’s artwork is generally impressive, but conflicted. Apart from the disparity between Peter Parker’s apparent physical age and personality, the story flow from panel to panel is a bit odd at times and many of the individual panels and close-ups seem forced and posed. That being said, Magno has a great eye for detail, and his work, brightly colored by GURU-eFX, resembles that of Bryan Hitch, only far less gritty.
The individual panels of this book look amazing, and there’s some great moments to be found. There’s one moment with Spider-Man carrying an exhausted Bruce Banner I swear was a tribute to the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15. It’s just unfortunate these fine things exist alongside oddities such as Captain America always looking surprised and Black Widow and Captain Marvel only having one of two expressions, regardless of what is happening in any given scene.
Despite its rough edges, Avengers: Mech Strike #1 is pretty good for a toy tie-in comic. It may even, I hesitate to admit, be good beyond being what it is; a simple story with largely decent artwork about superheroes fighting giant monsters and then getting giant robots to better fight the giant monsters. For as it is written in the songs of old, “You dig giant robots! I dig giant robots! We dig giant robots! Chicks dig giant robots!”