Here’s the latest one-off from Marvel reminding us that there’s a team of heroes named the Young Avengers. Heaven knows why they don’t just assign someone to create a new series featuring the whole team; co-creator Allan Heinberg gave us some lovely scripts, but so did Stan Lee on Fantastic Four back in the Sixties and that book continued after he left.
Never mind, Marvel aren’t listening to me . . . so to the product at hand*, a story focussing on Cassie Lang, daughter of the second Antman, heir to the size-changing Pym particles and possessor of possibly the worst superhero name ever. Stature? Stat you? I ask you! I even gave them a great name in the YA lettercol, Big Girl, but as I say, Marvel never listen to me. I am a voice whingeing in the comic wilderness.
Anyroadup, fellow Young Avengers Patriot, Wiccan and Hawkeye are worried because Cassie is all silent and shrunken and foetal. Luckily Wiccan can use his apparently unlimited powers to shrink Patriot, who is able to persuade her to tell her sorry tale.
That morning, after rowing with him in her surly teenage way, Cassie flattened her bystander stepdad Blake while fighting the Growing Man, and he may die. Patriot gives her a pep talk, she lectures her mother about danger for all being a byproduct of the superhero game and besides, stepdad’s a cop so he’d understand, and all is well.
Sound rather pat? It is. Certainly writer Kevin Grevioux gives us a few nice character moments, but all this spotlight tale really does is make Cassie look rather crap. Maybe that’s the point; there are crap people in all walks of life, so why not the Young Avengers? My beef with the issue is the level of coincidence. Size-changing Cassie steps out into the city and immediately bumps into size-changing villain. Of 37,838 police officers in New York City (this is a responsible review which looks things up, at least so far as Wikipedia) her stepdad is the one standing underneath the Growing Man? Even for a comic featuring a size-changer, that’s stretching it.
Mitch Breitweiser is a new name to me, but I like his work with colour artist Brian Reber. It tells the story well, while having a pleasant roughness; there’s certainly room for Breitweiser to grow, but the art reminds me of the British girls’ papers such as Bunty and Jude – strong on facial expression and body language, and in a tale that’s going for the emotions, that’s perfect.
So, not the best Young Avengers special, but certainly a decent read, and you know what? I’m just glad to see these kids getting any panel time at all. Which is kind of pathetic, I know!
* The other product at hand is an iPhone, a photograph oh which is plonked into Cassie’s hand for one very embarrassing panel. How much did you get for that then, Marvel?