Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1 Review

Written by Paul Cornell
Art by Mark Brooks

Hmm, what to think, what to think? To be honest, I'm really not sure what to think of this issue. The concept has promise, I'll give it that. This is basically the Runaways crossed with the Young Avengers and Thunderbolts in that it's a bunch of teenagers on their own forming a new team comprised of "villains".

I use the term villains lightly, as I don't recognize anyone here outside of Enchantress, who I don't think is the actual Enchantress (she fakes her accent, horribly I might add, but looks the part and uses the name), and they are trying to be heroes. I think. At least, a few of them are definitely trying to be heroes. Characters like Big Zero, the size changing tattooed woman on the cover, is rascist and even kills a would-be thief with no remorse. This could be chalked up a character flaw and gray area killing alla the Punisher, but there's clearly no desire to "do good" as was seen with the team leader, Melter, who would be the guy with the Spider-Man shirt on the cover.

With such an ecclectic mix of non-traditional heroes, the issue makes for an interesting read, but gets held back by the need to introduce so many new characters, introduce the concept for the team and show off everyone's powers while, finally, setting up a conflict for future issues. In short, it feels rushed. We never get to sit down and find out who these new people are aside from a single page devoted to each, as seen in downtime after their first outing, halfway through the issue.

The only character that was remotely fleshed out was Melter, who is actually fairly interesting. He's Enchantress's boyfriend and the team leader and has a genuine desire to be a hero that makes what happens to him later in the issue all the better. As he attempted to help an old lady he accidently bumped into, she starts calling for help thinking he's a mugger and even maces him. Melter reacts by shielding his eyes and his powers flare up, which results in a liquified old lady and a not-so heroic action on his part, which leaves him freaked out as he heads back to their hideout.

While I would have liked to have gotten to know some of these characters during these opening issues, it looks like, based on the final page, that we'll be jumping straight into the action next month. As the team is debating their heroic nature and if they have the right to even call themselves Young Avengers, the actual Young Avengers team teleports in with some fisticuffs promised for next issue.

Verdict - Check It. It's a so-so first issue that doesn't immediately hook you, but there's something unique about the concept that appealed to me enough that I want to see what happens next.

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