Review: Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4 By Allan Heinberg And Jim Cheung

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #4

Written by Allan Heinberg

Art by Jim Cheung

So….this is it? All the wait, all the promise, and this is the ‘triumphant return to the Young Avengers’? I’m underwhelmed, and it’s not even that this is a bad book, it’s just….we’ve been told for years now that Marvel wasn’t going to dishing out the Young Avengers to another writer until Heinberg got back, and this has led to stuff like Stature and Vision in Mighty Avengers, and the Young Avengers Presents miniseries, as well as the abysmal Runaways crossovers, and the Cornell written Dark Reign miniseries. The problem with all of this would have to be that, well, we haven’t had the Young Avengers in their own story since the original volume ended, and it was something that these characters needed for us to really care that they’re together now.

What they also needed now is a better point of view character than Wiccan, though that may just be personal preference as I find the character to be insanely whiny and I find myself groaning through about half of both his dialogue and his inner monologue. Especially since it feels like he’s been recapping the exact same story in every appearance he’s had since meeting Speed and realizing that they’re the sons of the Scarlet Witch. Everything is explaining how they exist, and why she needs to be found, and yadda yadda yadda it’s repetitive. If anything, I’m glad this mini is in place to finally so that writers can stop harping on it, I mean, now that he’s met the Scarlet Witch and given her is overdone origin he doesn’t really need to do it again. Thank God.

Dr. Doom baffles me in his appearance here, in part because I can’t fathom why he would do it, or even when. Between his issues with Osborn in Dark Reign, being attacked and brain drained by the Intellegencia in Fall of the Hulks, and his most recent appearance in Fantastic Four where he acknowledges that the fallout of his brain drain has actually damaged it. When did he find the time to pick up the Scarlet Witch, woo her, and set up a wedding, and how did nobody know? He feels shoehorned into the story by nature of the writer just wanting to use Doom, not unlike how (despite a story explaining his presence) Magneto fits into this issue…though at least Mags has family excuses for his presence.

This book is supposed to be the Young Avengers, right? Despite them not being in the title, that’s what this book was promoted as. Can’t we get a little more Young Avengers and a little less Wiccan and his Amazing Friends? Magneto and Quicksilver are more important to this story than Patriot or Hawkeye. Wolverine is given a chance to shine brighter than the Vision. These characters are getting short changed in an effort to build their profiles with a big name team up, but it’s not working. I’m not getting the feeling that the Young Avengers are ready to play in the big leagues, especially after Mighty Avenger did such a great job of that with Stature and Vision.

And then hey, arguably the most fun fact about this book? If you don’t care about the Scarlet Witch, or have no opinion on the House of M and the Decimation, then chances are this book is going to do incredibly little for you. Over in X-Men they’ve been dealing with no more mutants for the past five years, they’ve brushed extinction, had a Messiah Complex, and witnessed a Second Coming and they’ve found hope for their race within their race. So now all of the sudden Wolverine is in this book so he can be the generic kill happy d-bag who obsesses over the prospect of killing Wanda every time he pops on panel, and while I have no doubt that he would kill her, I always have issue with the prospect that Wolverine is hunting down a mentally ill woman with execution on the mind. Regardless of what she did. But this is the whole book, it’s all about Wanda and the obvious returning her to the Marvel Universe, but after everything that’s happened with the character I just can’t see it happening.

The art is the best part of this issue, and given that it’s Jim Cheung on art this isn’t surprising. Everything looks great, the layouts, the setting, the characters, the fights. It’s a perfect artistic package, and it makes me wish that he was doing Avengers proper with Bendis as I would love to see his renditions of those characters. I’d also be cool with an X-title, because, I mean, Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Dr. Doom, the Young Avengers themselves, everything is gorgeously drawn here. Jim Cheung is a solid professional who does incredible work and it just need to be more often!

Despite all my gripes though, this issue is pretty readable. Children’s Crusade has yet to really wow me and justify the wait, but it’s not a bad series by any means, just lacking. I guess the fact the name of the mini is “Avengers” and not “Young Avengers” should make me go easier on the title, but this book was promised as the Young Avengers, and they’re in the book, so is it really too much to ask that the team be given the focus and not the characters who have no trouble getting in multiple books a month? Or at least that we can get some better twists and turn, because the last page “shocker” I saw coming back in the first issue. The book just isn’t as clever as it tries to be. It will probably read nicely in trade, but reading it on whatever schedule it ships on is doing more harm than good. At least for me.



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