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Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1: Review

Jul 2010
Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1 Review by (October 30, 2012)
The Sons of the Serpent date back to Avengers (original series) #32. They are trotted out whenever a band of bigots is required for the plot. There have been some sightings of Scarlet Witch since House of M. Her appearances in Mighty Avengers during Dark reign turned out to be Loki in disguise. There are a couple of other apps which will be addressed in #6. Magneto found out about Speed and Wiccan recently in Uncanny X-Men #526. He's been a good guy (again) living and working with the X-Men since UXM#516.

The Failsafe Program supposedly kept track of youngsters with connections to Avengers history, even though the Avengers themselves didn't know about it or the connections. Patriot's link is obvious. The program could possibly have ferreted out Hulkling. But I don't see how it could know about Speed and Wiccan. Eli's grandfather Isaiah Bradley starred in The Truth miniseries. This issue and the YA series claim that Isaiah was the first Captain America, the only survivor of experiments which led to Steve Rogers. However it is generally considered that the post-Pearl Harbor Truth was an attempt to *recreate* the super-soldier serum after the death of Prof Erskine. -

The YA were recruited in #1-6 of their run by Iron Lad (who will reappear later in this series), the boy who will become Kang, dressed in an Iron Man-like armour. He downloaded the program of the dead Vision into his armour. Vision had a secret Failsafe Program set up to locate successors to the Avengers if necessary. With the Avengers still disbanded, Iron Lad used it to find Hulkling, Patriot and Wiccan (then Asgardian). Stature used her dead father's size-changing pills to gain entrance to the team. Kate Bishop tagged along and appropriated the weapons of several ex-Avengers, including Hawkeye's bow and arrows. After a fight with the older Kang, Iron Lad returned to the timestream leaving his armour as the new Vision. In #9-12 they used the Failsafe Program to find Speed, they learned that Hulkling was the Kree/Skrull half-breed son of Mar-Vell and Anelle (conceived during the Kree/Skrull War in Avengers (original series) #95 (1972)), and it was suggested that Asgardian (by then renamed Wiccan) and Speed were the reincarnated sons of Scarlet Witch and Vision. The compression of Marvel time which makes Fantastic Four #1 always about 10 years ago affects the history of some of these characters. Teen Hulkling must have grown up a bit fast, but then he's an alien (raised by disguised Skrulls) so that might be OK. Wanda's children died in Avengers West Coast #52 (1989), so there's no way they could have been reincarnated as Billy and Tommy without a bit of time travel. On the other hand it does allow Cassie Lang to have been a young girl in Marvel Premiere #47 (1979) and still be not quite 15 when YA start.

Physically the series began with cover date September 2010 (alongside Av#3), but was published very slowly until ending with cover date May 2012. So the publication dates can't be used as a guide to dating the story. The uniforms of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in this series are a source of confusion. Iron Man isn't in his post-Siege Stark Resilient armour, but he also isn't wearing the really old armour from Siege. It actually looks like the pre-Secret Invasion Extremis armour. But that would be impossible, so I'll just have to put it down to an editorial or artistic mistake. Steve is dressed as Cap. This would indicate either post-Fear Itself, or right at the end of Siege before he changed out of it. But that doesn't fit with anything!

In the opening pages of Avengers #1 and New Avengers #1 Steve Rogers organises the new Avengers teams, including inviting the Young Avengers to be official Avengers (in training). In I Am An Avenger #1 the YA come to live and train in Avengers Mansion at the invitation of Rogers. Patriot is no longer with them, despite being invited in Av#1. He won't be in any of their other post-Siege appearances until this current series. There is no explanation given for his absence, but it isn't the first time he quit the team. Various YA members pop up with various Avengers in Avengers Prime #5, Chaos War #1 and I Am An Avenger #5, sometimes in Avengers Mansion. The last published sighting of a Young Avenger before this series is NAv#7 where Stature is one of the applicants to be Danielle Cage's nanny. Thus the story fits in the 2nd half of the period between Siege and Fear Itself. There is no explanation why Patriot is back with the YA here, or why the YA aren't still living in Avengers Tower.

This is Part 1 of a 9-issue mini-series. Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung were writer and penciler on the original Young Avengers series, and now they're reunited on this, which is really another Young Avengers series, possibly their last one. Heinberg's witty dialogue and Cheung's clean dynamic art make both series high on my hit list. And this one co-stars Scarlet Witch, one of my all-time favourite characters! This issue says it takes place after Siege. Wonder Man is in some issues, where he exhibits the anti-Avengers stance he adopted in post-Siege Avengers. But this obviously happens before the climax of that plot thread in New Avengers Annual #1 and Avengers Annual #1. These claim to be pre-Fear Itself, although published later. Thus this series must fit between Siege and Fear Itself. The Young Avengers make several appearances in post-Siege comics. The conclusion of this series will make it clear that they must all happen before now.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The first 2 pages establish who the Young Avengers are. They were formed after Avengers were Disassembled (and before the New Avengers began). They've fought Kang, and lived through Civil War, Secret Invasion and Siege. Individually they are:- Stature (Cassie Lang) daughter of dead Ant-Man Scott Lang. A version of the Vision, calling himself Jonas. Patriot (Eli Bradley) grandson of a different WWII Captain America. Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) who 'inherited' the weapons of the once-'dead' Hawkeye (Clint Barton). Speed (Tommy Shepherd) and Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) who think they may be the sons of Scarlet Witch. Hulkling (Teddy Altman) the son of Kree Captain Marvel and Skrull princess Anelle.

The YA are more than holding their own against hate-group the Sons of the Serpent, when Captain America (Steve Rogers), Iron Man and Ms Marvel join in to 'save' them. One Serpent intends to set off a nuclear device to kill gay alien Hulkling. But Wiccan saves his boyfriend, and everyone else, by putting all the Serpents in a coma.

The Avengers and his teammates want to know how he did it, but Wiccan doesn't know either. The Avengers are worried that he may have Scarlet Witch-level power. They explain that Wanda could alter reality, but she went somewhat mad. She blamed the Avengers for the death of her sons, and caused the Avengers Disassembled event, which killed Clint Barton, Scott Lang and the original Vision. Later she changed reality to a world ruled by Magneto for mutants, in House of M. And as that reality reverted to the main Marvel timeline, she took away most mutant powers and stopped more mutants being born with the phrase "No more mutants". And she hasn't been seen since then.

Speed doesn't believe him, but Wiccan is convinced they are somehow Wanda's sons, even though they have their own separate biological parents. With names William and Thomas like the originals, and as alike as twins. With magic and speed powers like Wanda and her brother Quicksilver.

But Wiccan is also convinced that Wanda couldn't have done those things of her own accord. And her Avengers teammates should believe that too. She must have been possessed or something.

Billy doesn't want to stay and have the Avengers keep him locked up. He walks out and his team follow. But some of them are also worried, and think he should let the Avengers test him. So Billy leaves them too, and goes home. Where he finds Cap talking to his parents.

Billy agrees to move in to Avengers Tower for the testing. He gives Cap a magic flying lift, and they rehash the above arguments on the way. Until they are joined by a winged Hulkling. Teddy isn't going to let his boyfriend go anywhere without him. Cap agrees to let Teddy join Billy.

They are assigned a spartan room with twin beds. Until a bit of magic transforms it, including a double bed. But then they are interrupted by Speed who has come to rescue them while Vision disrupts the alarm system. Before they can protest that they don't want to be rescued, Tommy has vibrated them all outside, where the others are waiting.

Cassie proposes they go find Scarlet Witch. She believes Wanda wasn't possessed, just insane with grief. If they show her her 'sons' Billy and Tommy, she might regain her senses. Then she can undo the curse on mutants, and bring back Cassie's dad. After all, she recreated Clint Barton at the end of House of M.

And then Magneto drops in, looking for his 'grandchildren'.

Jim Cheung
Jim Cheung
Justin Ponsor
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Jim Cheung (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Kate Bishop)

(Clint Barton)

(Teddy Altman)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel

(Carol Danvers)

(Pietro Maximoff)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

(Billy Kaplan)

Plus: Patriot (Elijah Bradley), Sons of the Serpent, Speed (Tommy Shepherd), Stature, Vision (Jonas).

> Avengers: The Children's Crusade: Book info and issue index

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