I had heard such great things about this book, it probably couldn't live up to my expectations. As it is, I very much enjoyed this first trade of Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's mythologically tinted super-book, but I'm a little surprised at a few things. I'll start with the art, since that is where my expectations were too high. I had expected Khoi Pham's art to be a little cleaner. I don't know if he was in a rush or if it was his inking, but I've seen his lines look cleaner. Sometimes it looked normal, but some panels looked like his recent New Avengers fill in, which was just not as good as I've seen him be. I've been a fan of his since he did a fantastic Giant Man piece for me in Chicago, so I'm hoping he uses this clean style when he takes over Mighty Avengers with Dan Slott. The preview art I've seen did use his cleaner style. His action sequences were great. I loved the battle on the helicarrior, two brothers smacking each other with missiles!
The story is pretty darn fun. I especially enjoyed the Mighty Avengers bits with Ares, Black Widow, and Wonder Man. I loved how Wonder Man came off as a believer in Iron Man and registration, but not like a jerk. He's a great character and I love seeing him used well. Ares using him as a walking excuse to attack Herc was pretty fun too, "I am sorry teammate Wonder Man. I cannot hear you over returning fire!" The flashbacks to Hercules' many myths was a tremendous addition to the story. The Marvel-ized Greek pantheon is fertile ground for stories, and I'm loving the possibilities using that storytelling method. The bonus Hercules vs. Hulk story was solid too, with Reilly Brown drawing the main portions and Bob Layton providing the 80s era Marvel content. Both of these artists are excellent.