Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 (of 9)
In the flood of Avengers titles that followed the end of Siege and the start of the Heroic Age, one of the better reads has been Avengers: The Children’s Crusade… which sadly has not received the attention it is due. After a series of disappointing tie-ins with the Marvel event of the moment, the Young Avengers team seemed to have lost a lot of the fun and interest that it’s first two trade paperbacks had sparked in me. In part this was because of the lower-tier creative teams that were being foisted with a clear cash-grab story tie-in to Civil War… or Secret Invasion. But this latest series has brought back the original creative team that made the title so much fun to start with.
Allan Heinberg writes the characters as teenagers, but without the usual soapy, angsty, moaning that often seems to be associated with youthful heroes. The team’s complex relationships amongst the members are more realistic and real-world representative than many other teenage titles allow for. Jim Cheung’s superb pencils make ever panel shine, and when combined with the rest of the creative team… well, there is one panel where I was marvelling at the shadow from a necklace. Such a minor detail, and yet it made this clearly ‘fantastical’ scene so much more realistic.
My only complaint is how slow the title seems to be shipping, and the need to slow down the plot pacing with the constant rehashing of the same arguments between the team, Magneto, Quicksilver and the Avengers. But as this story explores the plot thread of whether or not Wiccan and Speed are actually the children of the Scarlet Witch – and sees the return of Wanda Maximoff to the Marvel Universe – I’m sticking with this immensely enjoyable read.