Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Young Avengers: Sidekicks by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung

(oversized pb; 2005: graphic novel, collecting issues #1- 6 of the original series. First entry in the original Young Avengers graphic novel series.)

From the inside flap:

"In the wake of Avengers Disassembled, a mysterious new group of teen super heroes appears with powers and names resembling classic Avengers Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk. But who are they? Where did they came from? And what right do they have to call themselves the Young Avengers?

"When the Young Avengers' public actions draw the attention of Captain America and Iron Man, the old Avengers set out to learn the truth about their teenaged namesakes. Caught between a maniacal super-villain and their heroic idols, will the Young Avengers' first fight be their last stand?"


Sidekicks is a tightly plotted, tale-twisty series that recalls the past glories and characters of the Avengers-related Marvel Universe and promises to be an exciting update of familiar characters. When an "Avengers Failsafe Program" (set up by the now-dead Vision) inspires a new generation of superheroes who are somehow related to past Avengers -- the Ant-Man, Captain Marvel and others -- this fledgling group, grappling with their heroic identities (which are largely hidden from their families), must not only face down Captain America and Iron Man, but the villainous, time-traveling Kang the Conqueror, who has a personal interest in how the Young Avengers drama plays out.

In this first volume, the Young Avengers are: Hulkling, a.k.a. Teddy Altman, a shape-shifter whose Hulk-like powers hint at so much more; Patriot, a.k.a. Eli Bradley, whose domino mask and military suit recalls that of Bucky, one-time (and long-dead) sidekick to Captain America; Asgardian, a.k.a. Billy Caplan, whose resemblance to Thor and use of a lightning-blast staff often prove effective in battle; Iron Lad, whose Iron Man-ish, neuro-kinetic suit covers a deeper, tale-trenchant mystery; Cassie Lang, size-shifting daughter of the most recent (and recently killed) Ant-Man, Scott Lang; and Kate Bishop, whose physical prowess and abilities with a bow and arrow echoes those of a former Avenger, Hawkeye.

This is a fun, action-explosive and blast-through read, one worth owning. The ending, which closes out the first story arc of their origin storyline, is a not-quite-a-cliff-hanger one, so make sure you have the follow-up volume, Young Avengers: Family Matters, on hand while reading Sidekicks.

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