Sunday, February 08, 2015

Young Avengers: Family Matters by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung

(oversized pb; 2005: graphic novel, collecting issues #7-12 of the original series, as well as Young Avengers Special #1. Second entry in the original Young Avengers graphic novel series.)

From the back cover:

"The newly formed Young Avengers take on super-powered sadist Mister Hyde, the extraterrestrial Super-Skrull and a full-scale alien invasion, juggling their parents and their private lives at the same time. Meanwhile, some of the super-teens discover they have unexpected family ties to the original Avengers."


Immediately after the events of Young Avengers: Sidekicks, the  adolescent superheroes wrestle not only with whether or not to continue with their group activities, knowing that the Avengers -- namely Captain America and Iron Man -- don't approve of their activities (and are willing to "out" them to their disapproving guardians), but how to deal with all the baggage of being in such a high-powered and volatile collective. Things get even more intense and violent when the Super-Skrull (Kl'rt) shows up to kidnap the Hulkling (a.k.a. Teddy Altman), and, in doing so, starts killing those close to Teddy. Not long after that, the enemies of the Skrulls, the Kree (from whom Captain Marvel originates), also show up with similar designs.

Of course, with a Kree-Skrull war exploding in their city, the Avengers -- Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman, Wolverine and Spider-Woman -- also find themselves in the thick of intergalactic combat, with the young superheroes caught in the middle. Even as these battles rage, so does confusion among the Young Avengers. Will Patriot, grandson of the original Captain America (Isaiah Bradley), forgive himself for deceiving his former teammates, and rejoin them? Why are the Skrulls and the Kree so keen on taking Teddy? Why does their most recent recruit, Thomas Shepherd, a speedster who can "destabilize atomic matter" by running, so strongly resemble  Asgardian (now called Wiccan)?

All of these matters and questions are resolved in a climax that feels familiar and fresh. This is a great set-up for future Young Avengers works -- of which there are a couple, penned by Heinberg and Cheung: worth owning, this.

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