Graphic Novel Review: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade
11:22 11 May 2012
THERE seemed to be an insurmountable series of obstacles facing writer Allan Heinberg when he began this 10-part epic, as not only did it have to wrap up the adventures of his creations the Young Avengers as a team, but it also had to deal with the outstanding issue of the rogue Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, whose out-of-control actions following the loss of her children resulted in the deaths of various heroes, the (albeit temporary) dissolution of the Avengers, and ultimately the events of M-Day, in which almost all of the world’s mutants lost their powers.
These were storylines which had been running through the Marvel Universe for almost a decade, and so any conclusion had to do justice to the sheer scale of the events behind the Witch’s breakdown, as well as effectively doing justice to the fascinating and much-loved characters Heinberg created for the Young Avengers.
Although he had only written the 13 original issues of the adolescent team’s adventures, they had been mainstays of the Marvel U ever since, with some of their members even graduating to the main squad of Avengers under the guidance of founder Hank Pym. It was therefore fitting that he was given the opportunity to conclude their story as a team which started off as little more than an alliance of Avengers fanboys, but soon became much more than that, especially as he is reunited with original series artist Jim Cheung.
It was Heinberg who also suggested that team members Wiccan and Speed were the reincarnated sons of the Scarlet Witch and her ex-husband the Vision, a plot which has been on the backburner for years and is finally addressed here.
With all of this going on, you could almost forgive Heinberg if he was unable to come up with an adequate plot to tie all of these disparate factors together, but that is far from the case, as what he actually produces is a moral dilemma which pits Avenger against Avenger, and sows the seeds for the current Avengers Vs X-Men series.
With Wanda apparently powerless and amnesiac and living in Eastern Europe, there are some Avengers who are happy to leave her that way, whereas others want a permanent solution to her reality-warping powers, and the Young Avengers, caught in the middle, are seeking answers to Wiccan and Speed’s parentage.
Enter Doctor Doom, not only the Witch’s unlikely suitor, but also a catalyst for events which will see some heroes resurrected, others killed, and will leave the Avengers forever changed in their wake…
Beautifully crafted by writer and artists alike (Alan Davis contributes to one chapter), this is a stand-out story which ticks all the boxes and provides a perfect coda to the Young Avengers saga. Outstanding.