Review: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 of 9

Published on January 6th, 2011

Okay, let’s get the bad out of the way: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade has probably got the worst title of any book being printed right now. That said, it has some of the best story and art out of any book currently available.  Be advised, this review has a major spoiler in it.  Read/view at your own risk.

Written by Alan Heinberg with art by Jim Cheung, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is a mini-series focusing mainly on the Young Avengers, a group of teenage superheroes modeled after the classic Avengers.  Children’s Crusade has been about the Young Avengers Wiccan and Speed trying to find their supposed mother, Scarlet Witch.  Joined by the rest of the Young Avengers and Magneto, Scarlet Witch’s father, they are in a race with the Avengers and Dr. Doom for Scarlet Witch’s fate.

young-avengers-cover

Avenger: The Children’s Crusade #4 picks up with Wiccan in Dr. Doom’s palace, having just found Scarlet Witch.  Doom attacks Wiccan, who attempts to defend himself while trying to jog Scarlet Witch’s memory.  When Wiccan found Wanda (Scarlet Witch) last issue, he discovered that she had no memory of being the Scarlet Witch or any of her past for that matter.  It was also revealed that Wanda and Doom are set to wed that same day.  Doom finally overpowers Wiccan, knocking him out cold.  Later in the book, Doom magically heals Wiccan and explains to him that he is marrying Wanda and keeping her ignorant of her past for her own good and the good of mankind.  Doom explains that not only are Wanda’s memories gone, but her reality warping powers are as well.  To jog her memory may bring back her powers which could endanger the entire world.  Doom finishes by informing Wiccan that he’s welcome to stay for the wedding, either as a guest or as Doom’s prisoner.  He also tells Wiccan that the healing spell he cast on the boy also removed his powers.

Later, Wanda finds Wiccan trying to jump-start his powers.  He stops in his tracks, though, when he sees Wanda in her wedding gown.  He tells her that she looks beautiful and she tells him that her whole life with Doom has been perfect, until Wiccan showed up.  She tells Wiccan that she needs to know the story of the Scarlet Witch.  He agrees, under the condition that she get him out of Latveria.  On their way out of the castle, Wiccan relates the story of Scarlet Witch and her sons: she had fallen in love with the Vision, but, since they were unable to have children (because Vision is a machine!) Wanda magically willed twin boys Thomas and William into existence.  Eventually, a villain named Master Pandemonium stole the souls of the boys for his master Mephisto.  Later, Scarlet Witch went mad, blamed the Avengers for the loss of her sons and killed three team members.  Toward the end of his story, Wiccan begins to tell Wanda that he (Wiccan’s real name is Billy) and fellow Young Avenger Speed (whose real name is Tommy) look like identical twin brother and have powers that mirror Wanda’s (Wiccan’s magic) and her brother, Quicksilver (Speed’s…speed).  The theory is that Thomas and William’s souls were released from Mephisto and inhabited the bodies of Tommy and Billy.

Wiccan is cut short, though, because when he and Wanda get outside they find the Avengers, Young Avengers, Magneto and Quicksilver in a titanic battle against Doom and his army.  Wanda is then attacked by Wolverine who plans to kill her to keep her from harming mankind again.  He’s stopped by a sudden energy blast from out of nowhere.  When Wiccan turns to see who fired it, he is shocked to find Iron Lad behind him!  Iron Lad tells Wiccan, “I’m back, Billy.  And I’m here to protect you.  The future depends on it.”  YES!  IRON LAD IS BACK!  FINALLY!

Aside from the terrible title, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is a really excellent book.  Heinberg is the original creator of Young Avengers and nobody knows them better than him.  He creates a really interesting story and his dialogue is both natural and entertaining.

Cheung was also the first artist to work on Young Avengers and nobody does them better.  The art in this book is absolutely fantastic, it has tons of energy and all of Cheung’s characters are incredibly expressive.

If you’re a fan of Young Avengers, there’s really no better team than Heinberg and Cheung.  Sadly, this is only a mini-series and we won’t be getting a regular Young Avengers series from this dynamic duo.  On the bright side, it’s a nine part mini, so we’re not even halfway done with it yet.  Keep reading!

Ian Candish
Ian@ComicImpact.com