There are two Steve Engleharts, obviously. One is the well-regarded comic writer who had a definitive run on Captain America and was one of the early architects of the Avengers, introducing concepts that would endure for decades (and, inadvertently, The Crossing) He is considered one of the greats of the early-to-mid 1970s Marvel writers.
The other Steve Englehart has written comics so bewilderingly insane the mind fairly shrinks from contemplating it. Yes, whether it's putting an entire interstellar empire in the hands of a shitty comic relief character named Clumsy Foulup; Creating a superteam with a gay hero named "queer" who gets AIDS after being bitten by a racist South African vampire named the Hemogoblin, and, it must never be forgotten, created the man/myth/legend Snowflame; this Steve Englehart is considered a bit mad, but on the plus side, whatever he's writing is going to be memorable, in a "will cause post-traumatic stress syndrome" sort of way.
All the way from ten years ago, Avengers: Celestial Quest is a story wherein Englehart returns to Marvel to continue writing about Mantis, considered his signature character. I'm going to let Wikipedia do the heavy lifting with regards to the character, because, for reasons which will become clear shortly, I kind of hate Mantis.
Avengers: Celestial Quest is, nominally, an attempt by Englehart to tie up a whole bunch of rogue loose continuity ends he left when he left Marvel around 1988, and naturally, doing eight issues in 2002 when none of the original material had been kept in print for decades was the perfect time to tie up all the loose ends.
It is, in a sense, precisely why this kind of backward-looking stuff can be a bad idea..
So. Let me try to summarise this book as best I can without weeping and rocking back and forth on the floor: Mantis seeks the Avengers help because she got split into multiple copies and Thanos is going around killing these facets of her because he loves Death and she's the embodiment of life or some bullshit like this (Jim Starlin retconned all this as being a clone of Thanos, and for all people give him shit about using that decide as a way of Control & Z'ing plot developments he doesn't like, but stories like this are adequate justification for why having a way to run them out is a good idea) Mantis' rebellions son, Quoi, wanders around and has sex with a lizard-woman while his mom has sex with the Vision as a way of helping him get over breaking up with the Scarlet Witch, who fights Thor for god only knows what reason. The Avengers are then called to help Quoi defeat the Rot, which is a black spot in the universe created when Thanos and Death mated which happened when Thanos died the first time.
Let me say that again: The universe is, essentially, under threat from Thanos' pecker tracks.
(And with that, "Thanos pecker tracks" joins "best dinosaur comics" and "power girls tits" joins my ever-more unfortunate top search results list)
This book barely makes a lick of sense, even to some fool like me who's steeped in this kind of thing. I think this is supposed to be some mediation on notions of love and family and anima and animus, love and loss, death and taxes, whiskey and rye, but what it actually is is a confusing mess featuring characters acting insanely out of character, plot developments pivoting on characters we just meet and are expected to care about and/or like, however, they're not likable and we're not really given a window into their motivation.
And then, there's a subplot involving Haywire. Haywire is one of the Squadron Supreme, and had been knocking around the Marvel Universe with his storyline responsibilities more or less fulfilled. The main thing driving his plot in this book is hoping to bring his girlfriend, Inertia, back to life (who was killed in a rather perfunctory and baffling Crisis riff ten years and change before) and acts wildly out of character. He then ends up getting killed, and the Avengers are like, "Well, damn. We were on an adventure the whole time, and even though he was with us, HE wasn't!" Because what this book needed is the Avengers acting even more like selfish dickheads to button this journey of self-discovery.
You were on an adventure? Man, fuck you guys--nothing in this book was an adventure. You're confusing it with "ordeal."
I don't know that I hate this book exactly. My relationship with it is far more complicated than this. I think, reading this book and re-reading it for the purposes of this review has given me a kind of survivor guilt. I mean, after reading it, you've experienced this horrible, wrenching, tragedy which has shaken your faith in life being fair and people being generally happy. Depression sets in, and as the trauma becomes permanent, you actually stop being able to feel emotions (not in the lurid sociopath sort of way, but more in the "life has no meaning" way) and the only thing running through your mind is a desperate breathless question, repeated over and over: "why am I alive?"
In short, I cannot recommend this comic, unless you really want to read eight issues of muddled overreach steeped in ridiculous characterisation, puzzling dramatic choices, overwrought melodrama, and unlikeable characters, culminating in an utterly bewildering resolution that, if it worked very hard and went through several rewrites, might well rise to the level of "making no sense at all." So for all you masochistic neurotics, your book has arrived at last.