Avengers Mech Strike (#1 – 5) – Jed MacKay

3 out of 5

As per the big ol’ Kaiju Avengers plopped on the covers of this (good call on Marvel getting Transformers artist Kei Zama on covers), writer Jed MacKay stays mostly on a goofy tonal side of things, especially reveling in some good Spider-Man banter. But he also makes sure to give us some relatively justifiable lead-in for tossing thunder gods into big mechs: when some mysterious tech-fueled creatures – “biomechanoids” – start popping up and wreaking havoc, it turns out they feed on any form of energy, be it electricity or gamma or whatever stuff Captain Marvel blasts. As such, direct attacks are out, until Black Panther (via some mini-series guesswork) deduces that they can’t deal with vibranium, so Stark throws together our robot suits with some of the material, each designed to “take advantage” of its occupant’s particular powers, because this is surely the best and only way to take advantage of the biomechs’ weakness. Whatever – it works, because MacKay can be pretty funny, and he keeps a tongue in cheek about the whole thing.

Artist Carlos Magno is also an ace, here, drawing McNiven-like detailing and big, heavy panels stacked with destruction and chaos, but maintaining a great balance in each panel and page such that the action is always readable. Guru-eFX’s colors support this balance, somehow managing a very (palette-wise) colorful cast with often cosmic backgrounds – it should be a mess, but the colorist’s choice of tones keeps the focus where it needs to be.

But, overall, we’re still subject to the limitation of a mini-series – nothing can be very permanent – as well as having to deal with a whole Avengers ensemble within a few issues, meaning that much of the cast is severely under-utilized. Cap is pretty much just a cardboard cutout, for example, and Black Panther also rather personality-less. Captain Marvel and Thor just punch things. Stark, Banner, Spidey, and Black Widow have the most to do with the plot points, so they come across the best. And while we’re in tongue-in-cheek town, MacKay executes a good villain setup and reveal, but the conclusion boils down to some very rote dialogue, a lack of those titular mechs, and a cheeseball tone that suddenly aims for rah-rah heroism – all likely requirements due to having to get us back to a status quo, but making the final couple of issues pretty standard stuff, nonetheless.