Sunday, March 20, 2005

YOUNG AVENGERS #2

... I think I'm in love.

Allan Heinberg is doing what Brian Bendis and a boatful of Ultimateverse writers have failed to do -- get the Shrew interested in the recent events of the Marvel universe and do it through the vehicle of teenagers.

The Young Avengers have more in common with DC's Young Justice (as written by Peter David) than with, say, Gen X or the Ultimate anyone. They are sardonic, not completely successful, and start out as a group of boys with a definite "Ewww, girls" attitude. Despite the names -- especially Hulkling and Iron Lad -- Heinberg is a little more in the Bendis style of wacky than the PAD style, but the comparison holds. Especially if you throw in The Vision as this group's Red Tornado.

After the adventures and misadventures of last issue, we get a bit of an explanation of the whole Kang confusion -- between Kang here and Galactus over in Fantastic Four, it's really Deconstruct the Archvillain month over at Marvel, ain't it? -- and are introduced to Kate Bishop and Cassie Lang. Cassie, the daughter of the deceased Ant-Man Scott Lang, wants to join the gang and Kate, the young woman who helped the boys last issue, is tagging along. The boys versus girls confrontation ranges from the silly to the sad -- Cassie is legitimately upset at the boys' denial of her inheritance at the expense of their own claim -- and sets up a reaction that pretty much ensures that Cassie will get her way. It remains to be seen what Kate has to offer besides spunkiness, sneakiness, and a very rich father.

Heinberg, in the process of coming up with a setting and a raison d'etre for the Young Avengers, has managed to smoothly incorporate disparate elements of the Marvel universe into one logically woven whole cloth. The first issue, mostly featuring Jessica Jones and Kat Farrell, was infinitely more fun and relevant than any issue of The Pulse has been thus far. The chaos that has been Avengers Disassembled is also accessed and applied, as is the MGH scourge that ran as plotlines in Daredevil and Alias, among other places. Throw in that Cassie is the daughter of Jessica's ex... this could be a lot of fun. Certainly more fun than whatever House of M wreaks.

If you missed the debut issue, fear not. You can run off to your LCS and pick up the Young Avengers #1: Director's Cut as well as this current issue, both out 16 March. The Director's Cut features the usual assortment of artwork and scriptbook, plus an interview with Heinberg and the lengthy Marvel Handbook entries for both Jessica Jones and Kang the Conqueror.

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