I think I do a poor job of picking favorites in the various publisher’s respective heroes and teams. I dug on Young Justice, then it turned into a crossover mess until it was so confusing it was cancelled. Spider-Girl was cool, and then it vanished. Impulse, great fun though it was, has gone the way of the dodo. Moon Knight, Ghost Rider, Exterminators, the list goes on and on. It seems every time I grow an affinity for certain characters they disappear. So it seemed with Young Avengers. Sure, they showed up in big crossovers, but then ‘poof’. As if they didn’t exist.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere and totally under the radar, here comes Avengers: The Children’s Crusade. I can’t believe this hasn’t made more noise, considering from all outwards appearance this is the one that could finally lead to the big return of none other than the Scarlet Witch.
Teammates Wiccan and Speed look the same, and have powers derivative of siblings Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, the children of Magneto. It is Wiccan’s belief that he and Speed are the spiritual offspring of Wanda, also known as the bat sh-t crazy Scarlet Witch. Wiccan has decided to go look for his momma, and the grown up Avengers have decided not to let this happen.
First off, the art and writing is spot-on, which shouldn’t come as much surprise considering this is the same creative team responsible for the first Young Avengers series. While these characters have made other appearances, none of them have taken full advantage of the characters thus far, so it’s damn good to see Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung return. Both have such a deep understanding of the subjects, readers will find themselves instantly comfortable.
There is just so much good stuff to say about the feel of this book. I love the way Heinberg has positioned these young heroes against the standard bearers. Instead of welcoming them in, Cap and friends look upon the new generation with distrust, with one member of the Avengers even looking forward to killing one of the youth. Just like the in the real world, these replacements are feared for what they may become and for what they represent... the future.
The creative team also performs well presenting mature subject matter in *gasp* mature ways. One of my biggest pet peeves is when stereotypical types are shoehorned into a story just to fill some quota the writer thinks will make his or her work edgy. Not so here. For instance, two main characters in this book are gay, but that isn’t the point of the characters, just a part of who they are. Add to that the touching manner in which their relationship is handled and it’s some of the most emotionally charged dating drama I’ve seen in quite some time.
And wow is this book beautiful. Jim Cheung just knows this team, and treats them with such an amazing hand it seems as if the characters could crawl off the page.
The return of the Young Avengers may not have warranted much press from Marvel, but I’d suggest any fan of character driven works to run down to their shop and pick this up.