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Young Avengers #12

Posted: Monday, July 3, 2006
By: Kelvin Green



"Family Matters" Part Four

Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artists: Jim Cheung (p/i); "Livesay", Dave Mekis, Mark Morales (i); Justin Ponsor (c)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Oh. No wonder this issue took so long to arrive. Jim Cheung has been one of my favourite comic artists ever since his CrossGen days, but I'm particularly impressed by his work in this issue, and I dare say it was worth the wait. We have a conflict between the Kree and Skrulls, with the Young and Not Avengers stuck in the middle, and it all looks great. George Perez type great (even if it took about three times as long as Perez would take to draw it). There's a lot going on in this issue, and Cheung and his art team are more than up to the task, one particular highlight being a sequence of double-page spreads in the midst of the brawl. Long-term readers will remember that I normally dislike overuse of such spreads (>coughcough<), but here they actually have a storytelling function and they still look fantastic. I wish the U.S. companies still published tabloid-size comics now and then, as this one easily deserves such treatment. As Inspector Gadget famously said once or twice, wowsers.

Sadly, the writing is not quite as gob-smackingly impressive. As a climax to the "season," it's a bit flat and feels a little rushed, suggesting that the decision to go on hiatus after twelve issues was not planned from the outset. The result is a comic that feels somewhat compromised as it rushes through an overly-convenient resolution to the ongoing plot (the Kree have been at war with the Skrulls for centuries, wouldn't they have plans in place to prevent exactly the kind of thing that happens here?), almost as an afterthought to the action. All that said, Heinberg's strengths are still very much in evidence. Characterisation is strong as ever, even if the main cast are shunted aside somewhat, and the relationships between the characters are complex and interesting; all of which makes the hiatus even more unbearable, as I want to see more of these kids interacting with the Marvel Universe and each other, even if that's perhaps at the expense of superhero action. And so, while New Avengers continues to clump aimlessly around like a lobotomised gorilla, Marvel's best Avengers title (yes, counting Ultimates) ends in style. It's not quite going out with a bang, as the plotting is a bit garbled for that, but it's certainly a wonderful finale, and I can't wait to see what Heinberg and Cheung put the plucky youngsters through next.



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