“Family Matters, Part 4”
Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artists: Jim Cheung (p), Livesay, et al (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Hulkling is part Skrull, part Captain Mar-Vell. Wiccan and Speed are part Scarlet Witch, at least they think so. Vision is partly his old self, partly Kang’s future tech. The Avengers have reassembled, just younger. Don’t tell Bendis.
Comments: What a great issue! Heinberg and Cheung end their first “season” on this book with style, panache and action, tidily avoiding the whole Civil War mess (though incidentally explaining some of it, at least why Cap was so anxious to liberate and enlist the Young Avengers to his cause) by taking place before it began.
This is the issue where they prove their mettle to him. They have some hard choices to make, and they make the right ones, mostly. We also get the New Avengers fighting alongside the YAs, under the pencils of someone who knows how to draw the freaky new obelisk atop Stark Tower. They’re fighting (as always) against the Kree and the Skrulls, who are fighting against each other, with the Super-Skrull thrown in for good measure.
All this martial action leads to some strong storytelling choices from Cheung and Co. After a hearty and well-earned two-page wide “Avengers Assemble!” that brings a tear to the eye, the heroes enjoy three successive pages of melee fighting. The first page showcases the Spider-y Avengers plus the girl everyone now calls Hawkeye; the second has Cap and Wolverine side-by-side with the Scarlet Wonder Twins (a connection Cap makes in the midst of trading blows); and the third lets Hulkling brawl alongside Luke Cage and Iron Man and Vision, who tosses off perhaps the best line of the entire series:
Iron Man: Vision, I thought we agreed you’d remain in the lab … you can’t join the Avengers in the field.
Vision: I understand … which is why I’m joining the Young Avengers.
Register that, Commandant Stark!
Cheung’s detailed pencils make sense of each of these figure-filled scenes, and let us keep track of the numerous players from beginning to end, important because Heinberg has several identity twists up his sleeve.
By the finish, the YAs have worked out a reasonable (and sneaky) solution to Hulkling’s divisive heritage, Patriot has finally gained real super-powers by means of a blood transfusion (lucky him, it’s not from Savage Dragon, or he’d soon blow up real good!), and “Speed” channels Quicksilver in a way that Son of M never managed.
Let’s hope Season 2 isn’t too far off, and that this crack team (responsible for delivering the sleeper hit of the past year or so) will be intact when that ensues.
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