Saturday, July 10, 2010

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1 (of 9)

Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung

Young Avengers series creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung reunite on their characters for a new story featuring the younger versions of classic avengers, and they've never looked better.  During a routine mission, Wiccan, who can do some pretty amazing stuff by casting spells, demonstrates near-omnipotent powers.  Captain America and a few of his fellow Avengers witness the event and question whether Wiccan is dangerous.  Having speculated that his spell-casting powers come from The Scarlet Witch only intensifies the argument, as she was unstable and changed the face of the planet, making mutants an endangered species.  There is genuine reason for concern here, but Heinberg and Cheung also bring up some convincing theories that may rewrite history (well, Marvel history), as Wiccan questions whether the Avengers ever verified that it really was The Scarlet Witch who committed the atrocity in the first place.  He speculates that she may not have been in control at the time, and with his fellow Young Avengers, decides to hunt down his potential "mother" to find out the truth, once and for all.  Speed may also have links to The Scarlet Witch, especially as he is physically nearly identical to Wiccan, demonstrates powers similar to those of The Scarlet Witch's brother Quicksilver, and well, they also have the same given names as Scarlet Witch's twins.  So, yeah, there are some parallels.

I'm glad that this book focuses on Wiccan.  I actually like all of the Young Avengers characters, but Wiccan remains a really fascinating character with his origins shrouded in mystery, and has the best design, and coolest powers, of the bunch.  And he's a fully-realized gay character, which is nice to see too.  His scene with Hulkling here was kinda hot, I have to admit.  Anyways, I've also always really liked The Scarlet Witch, so if, as an extra bonus, we get her back by this mini-series' conclusion, I would be really happy.  Even a nice little exchange between mother and potential sons would be nice.  A cameo, anything.

Heinberg seems to really have his character voices down by now.  The creators took some time off from the characters, but it seems to have been for the benefit of the team, as they all seem more distinct and recognizable than ever, and their interactions with one another ring true.  The action seems to flow naturally, and I have to say Cheung's art is the best it's ever been.  I feel like he kind of nails every panel, with great pacing, beautiful art and a great attention to details.  This is easily one of the best books being put out by Marvel right now.

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