Artists: Jim Cheung, Andrea Divito, Neal Adams, Pasqual Ferry, Michael Gaydos, Gene Ha, Jae Lee & Bill Sienkiewicz
I was never really a fan of the Young Avengers, as although they looked interesting they never really appeared in anything that overly interested me, but after deciding to get the new Young Avengers series, as well as having always wanted to get the Avengers: The Children's Crusade, I decided to get this, as I've heard a lot of good things about it. I also plan on getting the other Young Avengers mini-series that have been out, and review them as well.
When the Avengers split up (see Avengers Disassembled) a new group of "Young Avengers", consisting of Iron Lad, Patriot (Eli Bradley), Asgardian (Billy Kaplan), and Hulkling (Teddy Altman) appear, eventually being joined by Kate Bishop, who's the daughter of publishing magnate Derek Bishop, and Cassie Lang, the daughter of the late Avenger, Ant-Man (Scott Lang). Captain America, Iron Man, and Jessica Jones however aren't happy about these young superhero's and try to put a stop to them. There's also room for Kang to be somehow involved.
Although Cap forbids them from wearing their uniforms again, the Young Avengers continue to act as a team, sporting new uniforms, but when the come across Mr. Hyde there's a secret from Patriot that will shock the group.
After deciding to disband the Young Avengers can't help but want to be hero's, and when they gather to discuss whether they should continue being hero's Hulkling is attacked by Super-Skrull. Also a new Young Avenger named Tommy Shepherd, who'd later be known as Speed makes his début.
This was a phenomenal book, and one of the best Ultimate Collections that I have ever bought. Although I have never read any of Allan Heinberg's work in the past he really did a tremendous job with this book, and the entire series was truly magical. Talking about magic, the way he managed to add magic in a fun, and interesting way was one of the things that I loved most about the series as a whole, as although magic has been a subject that has featured heavily in comics over the years, as well as in the Young Avengers, the subtle way he did it in this story was amazing, and although the series wasn't fully magic oriented, the magic that was involved was spectacular. The emotion, and character development that Heinberg put into this series was also amazing, and it's hard to easily think of a series, or story that has been quite as perfect as this, as although there have been many better stories than any of these, there isn't many series that are this perfect all the way through. I also loved how Heinberg managed to balance out the development of the series with the brilliant action, and epic appearances as if it wasn't done as good as it was I'd have thought that the big name appearances would have been just for the sake of adding big names to draw in readers, but the way Heinberg handled this, as well as everything else was brilliant. The way that Heinberg was able to create all these then new characters, as well as giving them a connection to the Avengers, as well as something unique, and interesting was also amazingly done, and this was probably the thing that stood out the most to me in his writing, which was overall outstandingly brilliant.
The art was no less perfect than the writing, as Jim Cheung did a outstanding job, making everything look beautiful. Although I've seen Cheung's work in the past, on posters, and comic covers I haven't really seen a lot of it in comics, so was very happy to have seen it in this. His art was truly wonderful, and really suited Heinberg's stories, as it was very dynamic. The way that Cheung designed the new character's was also brilliant, and very clever, and I loved the way he managed to make similarities with well known Avengers whilst also making them unique. I also loved the fact that this book gave the extra at the back showing his character design sketches, which were brilliant in themselves. The way Cheung laid out his art was also outstanding, adding a lot of drama, and excitement to a series that already had plenty, which was brilliant. The detail in Cheung's art was also tremendously handled, as everything looks perfect, with the small details even looking fabulous, and there was only one panel of his art that I felt could have been done a bit better, which is saying something for the amount of art that Cheung produced. If all this wasn't good enough, the thing that really stood out to me was the way he drew the action sequences, as they were nothing short of epic, and truly outstanding, as was all his art. There was also other artists work featured in this book, with multiple artists working on the Young Avengers Special issue, including the likes of Pasqual Ferry, Jae Lee, Bill Sienkiewicz, and others, as well as Andrea Divito working on the Secret Identities story. All their work was excellent, and although none of their art was as good as Cheung's, they all did an amazing job, especially Lee, Divito, and Ferry. The colours from Justin Ponsor were also outstanding, and really suited all the artwork, making it much more vibrant, and lively.
Now I usually talk about certain things I liked throughout the graphic novel, or comic at this point, but due to this being a collection of three stories I felt that it'd be appropriate to talk about them individually, also rating them individually. I won't however be taking more on the writer, and artists unless absolutely necessary, as I've talked about there work in general throughout this entire book, and feel it unnecessary to add anything more.
Obviously with this being the first story to feature the Young Avengers, it was also the story to introduce them, and the way Heinberg did that was brilliant. I just loved how when the Avengers disassemble for a team consisting of mainly completely new characters to have them shown right from the start as a team was brilliant, and I think the story would have been much slower, and dull if they opened the series by introducing the characters one by one, as Heinberg would go onto develop the backgrounds of the characters, and how they became a team later. The team itself was also amazing, and although I've been enjoying seeing the members that are still part of the team in the new series, to see the original team, and how they interacted with each other was nice, and I much prefer this team, especially considering they all have clashing personalities, as well as resemblances to previous Avengers. My personal favourite Young Avenger is Kate Bishop, and always has been, but after reading this I actually like a lot of these character's, especially Iron Lad, who was very interesting, and well developed, and this story wouldn't have worked without him.
With the introduction of a new team of Avengers it was bound to draw the attention of former Avengers, especially the ever righteous Captain America. I also found the fact that Iron Man was with Cap predictable, but to have Jessica Jones also alongside them was however very surprising, and interesting, although after thinking about it, as well as Heinberg giving a brilliant reason it really does make sense, and is appropriate. Anyway besides this these three aren't happy about these Young Avengers being a team, seeing them as too young. Besides the fact this makes for an interesting side plot, that would continue throughout the series, I did however question the right of Cap to question about these kids being superhero's, as he had Bucky Barnes who was only a teenager at the time working besides him. At the same time you could also use this as a reason for Cap's decision, as the fate of Bucky wasn't pleasant. Besides all that the difference of opinions between the Young Avengers, and Cap were interesting, and when they finally confronted one another it made for a really dramatic sequence.
Another thing that would be shown during this story would be relationships between certain members, with some being more obvious than others. I'll start with the one that I know would become a proper relationship, and in fact it happened not long during this series, and although I knew of it before hand it was still pretty obvious before being officially revealed, and that was the relationship between Billy, and Teddy. The way Heinberg handled this relationship was brilliant, as although gay relationships aren't a new thing in comics, there have been some that I have felt have been a bit forced, not really working, whereas the chemistry between these two characters is perfect, and their love for one another really showed through in this story, as well as the entire series. This wasn't the only relationship, or questionable possible relationship to feature in this story, as Iron Lad, and Cassie would share a kiss, and there was also some romantic tension between Eli, and Kate. Now the other two seemed a little sudden, as it seemed just an excuse to give everyone someone to care for, and although that was nice I feel it would have been more realistic to have a couple with no obvious, or questionable love interests. I did however like how Heinberg didn't actually make Eli, and Kate a couple, as the tease was nice, but due to them both being strong willed characters it's something that wouldn't just happen quickly.
As if this story wouldn't be good enough, Kang the Conqueror would be involved. Now I won't go into any details over Kang's appearance, as it contains huge spoilers over the story, as people who have read this story, or about it will know anyway. The appearance of Kang always has me excited, but that also leaves a lot of expectations, which sometimes aren't met. This wasn't the case this time however, as Kang was brilliant in this story, and the way Heinberg involved him was not just interesting, but unique, and genius. The way Kang interacted with both the Young Avengers, as well as Cap, Iron Man, and Jessica Jones was also very interesting, and the fighting that would happen throughout this story involving Kang was epic, and really entertaining, and although Heinberg's script was perfect, it was Cheung's art that blew me away.
A brilliant opening story that introduces these Young Avengers perfectly. The story itself was also very interesting, and entertaining, as well as being exciting. The drama, and suspense that would go throughout was also brilliant, and overall it was a truly brilliant story, and would make anyone a Young Avengers fan.
Now this was a much shorter story, so obviously the review for it will be smaller as well. The main development in this story was the reveal of a secret of Patriot's. Now I won't spoil what this secret is, as it'd ruin the whole story, but it was shocking, as having not read up on the character prior to this I didn't know about it, making it a total surprise. Besides that the way Heinberg handled it was simply perfect, something that he's seemed to do with almost everything in this series, as he made it really dramatic, and suspenseful, as well as surprising, and emotional. I also loved the way the other Young Avengers reacted to this secret, and overall it was simply brilliant, and a big thing to add to the series, especially at the point it was added.
This story also featured Mr. Hyde, a villain that isn't used as much as I'd like, and when he is used it's usually not in a good way. The way Hyde was added to this story was however brilliant, and it really helped to develop the secret of Patriots at a quicker pace. I also felt that having Hyde as the villain for younger, and inexperienced character's is perfect, as it allows him to be so much more of a threat, as if you put him on his own against the normal Avengers unless the writer was very creative he'd only last minutes, but with these character's he was a much more impactful force. The Young Avengers weren't no pushover though, as they brought the fight to Hyde, making it very entertaining, and exciting, as well as interesting.
This story would be followed by a one-shot extra sized Young Avengers Special issue, which would see Jessica Jones talking to the Young Avengers, learning how they got their powers. Although not a necessary issue to enjoy the series, this was a nice addition, and a really enjoyable read, and the way the origins of these characters was told was brilliant, and although some of the origins were obviously more exciting, or interesting than others, they were all brilliant. The fact that they were telling them to a relatively neutral party was also interesting, as although Jessica has been trying to make sure that these Young Avengers are safe, she hasn't went full out saying that they shouldn't be hero's.
Although not quite as good as the opening story, this was still a phenomenal story, with a lot of emotion, and excitement, and if it wasn't for the fact it was so short it could have even been better than the first story. At the same time if it was longer it could also have been worse, so it's best just to be thankful that it was this good, as it was really entertaining.
This story was phenomenal, and probably my favourite in the entire series, and a great way to finish. The story itself starts with the Young Avengers disbanding, but when they soon meet up to discuss if this is the right thing Hulkling is kidnapped by the Super- Skrull. Before I get to the Super-Skrull's involvement it's only natural, and right to talk about the Young Avengers disbanding, even if it only proved to be very temporary. To be fair as the series was progressing it was obvious that it would happen, so the fact that it did didn't surprise me, especially after the events that preceded this. At the same time I also loved how Heinberg basically put them back together straight away, as although that sort of thing doesn't usually appeal to me, with these character's it does, as they clearly have the will to be superhero's, and it took a lot to make them disband, so it was natural that most of them, if not all of them would question whether it was the right thing.
Back to the appearance of the Super-Skrull. In most occasions I'd class a sudden attack by such a powerful character to be unrealistic, and forced, feeling that they're done solely to add more action, and excitement to the story, but in this case I don't think that as like everything Heinberg's done in this series, he's handled this well, giving a brilliant reason, and to be honest even if he didn't, this story was that good that it wouldn't have mattered to me anyway. Anyway the reasoning for Super-Skrull's appearance is that he's on Earth to take the heir of the Skrull Empire back to their home world, and Super-Skrull believes Hulkling to be that person. Now although I won't fully reveal whether this is true or not to avoid spoilers, as most people who know anything about Hulkiling will know is that he's a shape-shifter, so this would be an obvious theory as to why he's a shape-shifter, also making for an interesting story. I also loved that like the way Kang was added into a prior story, this was a brilliant way to add yet another high profile villain in Super-Skrull. Another thing I liked about the Super-Skrull's appearance was that besides all the fighting he was involved in, we also got to learn a little more about him, and his character, making the story more dramatic.
As if the addition of the Super-Skrull wasn't enough the Kree would also make an appearance. Now it's not unusual for the Skrull's, and Kree to feature in the same story, and there's usually a fifty percent chance that they will, as the Kree/Skrull War has influenced the Marvel Universe for years. Anyway although I won't go into details about the Kree's reason for making an appearance, as to avoid spoilers, I will say my feelings on the matter, as well as a few other things. To be honest if it wasn't for the fact that they were necessary for the story, as well as being involved in epic action, I could have lived without the Kree in this story, but for them reasons I loved their appearance, and although the dialogue from the Kree wasn't the best it could have been, Heinberg made up for this in so many other areas. With the Kree's involvement, as well as the Avengers connection, Captain Marvel was also brought up in the story, and although I won't go into details, I'll yet again say how nice it was, and although Captain Marvel didn't actually appear himself, it was a nice reference.
This story would also see the introduction of the final Young Avenger to feature in this series, and a character that would become well known as a valuable member of the team. Obviously I'm talking about Tommy Shepherd, who'd later be known as Speed, with the power of super speed , as well as the ability to cause explosions. Before I read anything to do with the Young Avengers it was Speed, and Wiccan that interested me the most, so to finally get to read a story that involves him was nice. Having read-up on the character I know that it was highly speculated that he, along with Wiccan was the son of the Scarlet Witch, which was the main thing that interested me about the character's in the first place, and this story would also be the first to mention this, which was nice. Besides that I found Speed a very interesting character, and loved how there was yet another different set of characteristics in the mix, as the fact all these character's have been so unique is one of the things I've loved the most about this series. The way that Speed was introduced as a criminal was also very interesting, as was the way he interacted with his teammates and overall I found him a very interesting character, and look forward to seeing more of him in the other Young Avengers stories I have to read.
This story would also see the first time the Young Avengers teamed with the New Avengers, also being the only time in this series. With Cap being all against the Young Avengers being a team it was nice to see him, and his then newly assembled New Avengers team with our young hero's, and if there wasn't already enough brilliant things in this series this would definitely make the series phenomenal. The way the Young Avengers interacted with the other members of the New Avengers was brilliant, and I especially liked how Wolverine, and Speed got along, and the dialogue between the two, as well as the other interactions was pure perfection. The way they all worked as one giant team, and the fact that Hulkling of the Young Avengers got to shout the famous, "Avengers Assemble," line also made this one of the best team-ups I've ever seen, especially between two different groups.
This story was truly epic, and Heinberg really did leave the best to last. The story itself was enough to be a brilliant story, but with all the additional appearances, as well as the fabulous action, and the way it was all pieced together really made this a phenomenal story, and it was the perfect way to end such an amazing series.
This was an amazing book, and one of the best reads I've had in years, and I'm really kicking myself for having not read this earlier. The action, magic, entertainment, and emotion that oozes though this series was brilliant, and this book was a true masterpiece. The character development was some of the best I've ever seen, and the series did a phenomenal job of managing to be both fun, and serious, whilst also managing to be exciting. Basically this was an epic book, and should be at least tried by everyone, as I for one am annoyed that I hadn't read it sooner, and would highly recommend it to anyone.
Overall Rating: 5/5
The next book to feature the Young Avengers that I'll be reviewing will be Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways.
Before that however I'll be reviewing Civil War itself.