Dan Slott's run on "Mighty Avengers" produces its second full volume, and its largest story arc to date, with "The Unspoken". The first volume contained basically three stories chronicling the foundation of the team and the settling of its lineup, and this one takes them out for a few spins. I was split on "Earth's Mightiest", which had both positives and negatives. This hardcover's issues #27-31 represent a notable improvement on the first, though still not without its flaws.
A number of plot threads are in play in this story, which begins by introducing the Mighty Avengers' base, the Infinite Avengers Mansion: it is a neat setup, not dissimilar to "The Authority"'s carrier. Firstly, there is the matter of Loki, the supervillain Norse god posing as the Scarlet Witch to put the team together. Her guise is a particular problem for Stature/Cassie Lang, whose father was murdered by the Scarlet Witch - Cassie's on the case to figure out what going on with her. All the while, USAgent and Quicksilver (accompanied by a Chinese speedster) investigate an Inhuman-related mystery in the Tibetan Alps; the titular Unspoken is on the move. And in yet another sideplot, Hank Pym embarks on a journey to the "Macroverse" and has a rendezvous with Eternity. All this, and a gigantic Avengers teamup (look at the cover).
Slott's run is, more than anything else, concerned with raising the profile of Hank Pym, the perennial whipping-boy of the franchise. This gets a bit tiresome at points, some people will doubtless take this as a case of trying too hard to sell something. Slott's not the first writer to attempt a complicated redemption arc for Pym, and it hasn't stuck in the past either; I don't know if he wouldn't have been better-served by just writing stories with him as a competent hero. Elsewhere, Cassie, who was written somewhat poorly at times earlier, gets some good moments here. Quicksilver has what is perhaps my favourite moment in the series so far, at the very end, when his attempts to use the Skrull example to escape the consequences of past actions hits a snag, and at the hands of the person he'd probably most like to fool.
A parade of guest stars includes nice bits for both the James Barnes Captain America and former Avengers mainstay Clint Barton (Hawkeye, currently Ronin). They mostly, though, serve as bodies in a big fight scene. The main villain, the Unspoken, is an interesting concept, though somewhat less so in execution.
Slott is an eminently old-school writer in his sensibilities. He made his mark at Marvel writing continuity-heavy light comedy writh the GLA and She-Hulk series. Transitioning to action leaves him at a bit of a disadvantage; he's really not a widescreen writer, which is the dominating style for action in the post-"Authority" era. This means the book has a rather old-fashioned feel, with I suppose you could take as a plus or a minus. His dialogue, likewise, is at its best with comedy, and can be a bit old-school-stilted in drama. He demonstrates, though, a remarkable knowledge of continuity and character history.
An enjoyable story, which will have particular appeal to those not fans of "New Avengers".