Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Justin Ponsor, VC’s Cory Petit
And we come now, to the end. Issue 9 of 9. I loved the nuance to this final issue. Children’s Crusade doesn’t do what other Limited Series or major events do: “Crusade” doesn’t end with a huge, climactic apocalyptic battle that will decide the future of the rest of the world…they did that last issue, #8. Heinberg took this whole issue to wrap everything up. There’s no “The Day After” issue or anything. 9 of 9 is dedicated to showing us what happens after Doom’s been defeated.
This issue was pushed back a few times, which has been frustrating as a fan and a reader of the series, but I can understand if certain things needed tweaking or adjusting to make the issue perfect. Is it perfect? Well, not quite. While I did feel it had an appropriate ending, I felt it wasn’t as “big” or momentous as to pay respect to the rest of the series. And I don’t mean “big” as in epic-sized monster fights either - we’ve already discussed that. I just mean the weight of the events in the previous issues, and the decisions the characters make here, just doesn’t seem properly felt in this last one. Perhaps I just need to re-read the entire series to get the full effect. Perhaps those two months between 8 and 9 really made me feel the distance.
In any case, I’m very split about this issue. I like that we see the effects the events have had on the characters, but I feel like them all jumping to the same conclusion feels a bit off. I do like that we get to see more of Tommy and hear his voice, because that definitely hasn’t happened a lot through the series. For once, he’s not just sarcastically remarking about something…he actually has an opinion and something he wants to fight for.
Now, there IS one spoiler I will give away in this review - typically I don’t do that for major stuff like this, but I can’t help it in this case. A lot of people have been complaining about Billy and Teddy’s relationship and how they haven’t had their “moment”…but it was nice to see them finally get their kiss (and it’s a page-sized kiss, too). I like their relationship, and I like how it’s briefly challenged in this issue. Teddy mentions that he’s not going to break up with Billy, because he knows it’d just make Billy more upset (though that’s not his only reason, obviously).
Another really cool thing we get to see is this issue catches us up with current Marvel events. There’s a series of beautifully drawn panels where the kids witness a number of events like Spider-Island, and the Sentinel attack, and the return of Johnny Storm. It’s nice to see where this little event fit into all that. At the end of it, Teddy says, “…it’s been months,” signifying just how far back Children’s Crusade went.
HOWEVER…the main theory was that the events of this book would be the genesis of the upcoming “Avengers Vs X-Men” event happening this May. So far…we haven’t seen that. How could this book be that catalyst? We just saw…it’s been months. It doesn’t make sense for the big fight to break out months later. So something else must happen to trigger it (maybe Children’s Crusade will still have some kind of impact).
Finally, my favorite part of this issue has to be what we see happen to Iron Lad. Right at the beginning, and this has to be the most powerful part of the whole series (and it kind of feels like the whole of the “Young Avengers” mythology has been leading up to this), we see Nathan turn on his friends like Vision. Billy says it best: “…this is the moment you become Kang the Conqueror.” Outstanding.
And we’re treated, once more, by the incredible art talents of Jim Cheung and the gang. The art in this issue is bar-none. I love how after Iron Lad attacks Vision, even Iron Lad looks shocked at what he’s done. Ponsor handles colors brilliantly in this issue, too, though we don’t get to see much in the way of people using their powers like we normally do. Instead, there’s a lot of ambient and environmental color that really puts these characters and events into a “real” world. The sunsets here are amazing.
In all, I like how it ended, it’s been a really fun ride, though I wasn’t expecting this issue to be so focused on the Young Avengers alone and was a little let down when the effects on the other heroes wasn’t shown as well. But I’m not letting that keep me from loving this issue and this whole limited series.
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9, the verdict: I’m a huge Young Avengers fan. I love the characters, and the story has been really great. I love how Heinberg was able to weave this tale of young heroes who are all intimately tied to the main Marvel universe. I remember being all excited when the Skrull first revealed that Wiccan and Speed were supposed to be Scarlet Witch’s sons. I loved how, after the main series ended, Wiccan and Speed continued to work together to try and find their “mom.” In retrospect, I really do think Heinberg had it all planned out ahead of time…the whole story. He answered Scarlet Witch’s turn against the heroes, M-Day, he explained Iron Lad and his journey to become Kang the Conqueror, and how Doom was involved in just about the entire thing. I loved how the characters all interacted with each other, especially with the team-up of the YA and Magneto. There it was…my two favorite Marvel characters: Magneto and Wiccan, working together for the same cause in the same book. It’s been so much fun reading this series, and I was really afraid we were going to lose a lot more people than we lost. I can’t wait to see what happens from here on out, and I hope Heinberg considers another monthly series for the YA (or, excuse me, they’re quite so “Young” anymore, eh?). Excellent.
(Photo Source: iFanBoy)