Review: Avengers The Children’s Crusade #5

Published on April 12th, 2011

What a great week for comics!  Throw a stone and you’re likely to hit one ofthe great books that came out this week, like Chew, Ultimate Captain America or Fear Itself.  Another one to add to that list is Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5.

Reuniting the original creators of the Young Avengers, writer Alan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is a mini-series about Marvel’s team of young superheroes, The Young Avengers.  Children’s Crusade has focused largely on Wiccan’s search for his supposed mother, Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch.  Wiccan and the rest of the ever loyal Young Avengers (with the help of Scarlet Witch’s father, Magneto), have come up against the Avengers and Dr. Doom in their quest to find Wanda.  Last issue heralded the return of the Young Avenger, Iron Lad, who had been gone since the end of the very first Young Avengers story-arc.

young-avengers-cover

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9 picks in the titanic battle with the Avengers, Young Avengers, Magneto, Dr. Doom and his army of Doom-Bots.  There aren’t very clear lines as to who’s fighting who, it’s pretty much one, big melee.  Iron Lad, who has triumphantly returned from the time-stream to help the Young Avengers, quickly gathers his team and whisks them away from the battle (along with the amnesic Wanda) into the time stream.  Their plan is to take Wanda back to the day when she had a nervous breakdown (Avengers: Disassembled) and destroyed half the Avengers, in the hopes that by witnessing it, her memory will return.  But, once they get back to the past, the proverbial shit hits the fan.

The sad thing about Young Avengers is the fact that we get so little of it, and it’s all very far between.  It’s a fantastic team and, when written correctly, the stories we get out of them are really interesting.  Avengers: The Children’s Crusade only seems to come out once every two months, but I realized that I’m grateful for that delay.  It means that this nine issue mini-series will continue for even longer.

Heinberg does really fantastic work with Young Avengers.  He makes every character not only very relatable, but also very unique in personality.  What’s really interesting is to see these young, somewhat untrained and inexperienced heroes dealing with events that could bring the bigger Marvel characters to their knees.  It’s not like classic Teen Titans over at DC, where the kiddie team deals with some lame, castrated villain of the week who’s barely a real threat, the Young Avengers really carry their weight.  Plus, you have to give props to Heinberg for his handling of time travel, which can be a really difficult subject to do well.  At the very least, it’s a ballsy idea, considering how easy it is to screw up.

There really is no artist alive who can do Young Avengers better than Cheung.  He is one of the better artists in comics period, but his young Avengers work is truly second to none.  His work is incredibly detailed, as evidenced by the double page spread on pages two and three, featuring the Avengers and Young Avengers fighting off a horde of Doom-Bots.

If you’re looking for a great book about a really dynamic, modern team, then Avengers: The Children’s Crusade should be just your cup of tea.  Unfortunately though, at this point, it’ll be a bit tough to catch up if you haven’t been reading it regularly and considering the bi-monthly (at best) schedule, the trade paperback probably won’t be out for another year.  Sorry.

Ian Candish
Ian@ComicImpact.com