Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

24 May 2008

Young Avengers, v. 1: Sidekicks

Collects: Young Avengers #1-6 (2005)

Released: April 2006 (Marvel)

Format: 144 pages / color / $14.99 / ISBN: 9780785120186

When Young Avengers was launched, the title was universally derided. Then, when the first issues came out, readers were surprised at the quality of the book.

Why? This series didn’t take the “young Avengers” tag too seriously or literally, and neither did the characters. Allan Heinberg wrote a Kang plot that was interesting without being confusion. He had strong, new characters that clashed with each other and with established Avengers for solid, character-based reasons. The Young Avengers had individual personalities. He even has Jessica Jones speaking exactly as her creator, Brian Michael Bendis, writes.7

Young Avengers, v. 1: Sidekicks coverThe plot for Young Avengers, v. 1: Sidekicks could have been for a six-issue mini, self contained and complete. It works both to launch a new group of characters, the so-called Young Avengers, and to make their struggle against Kang, a world-shattering supervillain, suitably impressive. They even get tied to the Avengers via a secret program of the Vision, who has done that sort of shady plotting in the past.

I’ve enjoyed the art of Jim Cheung ever since he teamed up with John Francis Moore on X-Force in the ‘90s. His work remains very good, detailed without being too detailed, graceful without being too perfect. However, he does tend to give everyone a very similar face — it was difficult to tell who Jessica Jones was at times — with the exception that Hulkling and Asgardian, two gay characters, have more feminine features than other male characters.

All these positives aside, this TPB was released two years ago, and the second came out soon after. That caught TPB readers up with the floppies ... and there haven't been any new issues of Young Avengers since. (Young Avengers Presents doesn't count.) This is a series that, while potentially excellent, has little momentum at all.

Rating: Avengers symbol Avengers symbol Avengers symbol Avengers symbol (4 of 5)

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