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Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1: Review

Jul 2009
Paul Cornell, Mark Brooks

Story Name:

Young masters part 1

Review & Comments

4 stars

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1 Review by (January 22, 2021)
The real Young Avengers aren't in this issue until the very last page.

The story-arc of this mini-series is called Young Masters. The opposition team don't actually call themselves that, but in many ways they are a young version of the Masters Of Evil. They are all characters we've never seen before.

Although I don't think they are related to them some of these youngsters do reuse names  of characters from old MOE groups. The original Enchantress, Executioner and Melter were all in Baron Zemo's original MOE. The original non-robotic Egghead led his own MOE. But Big Zero and Coat Of Arms are totally new names.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
4 young men rob a convenience store but are stopped outside by a group calling themselves the Young Avengers. 2 of them can levitate, a robot and a girl who speaks cod-Shakespearian (or cod-Asgardian which in Marvel is the same thing) but not very well. There's a giant girl. There's a guy with lots of guns and 4-armed girl with a sword. But their leader's costume just seems to be a neckerchief mask and a Spidey t-shirt, However when the thieves start shooting the leader starts melting the bullets and the Asgardian called Enchantress magics them away.

The villains run away and the giant-woman squashes 1 of them under her foot (making a Monty Python joke). The leader complains that wasn't a superhero thing to do and he stops the other 3 getting away by melting the pavement in front of them - but too enthusiastically because he sends molten debris unto the subway below the street. (Enchantress tells him she senses the people below are unharmed.) The gun-man calling himself Executioner shoots 1 of them, and Enchantress turns another into a dog. The sword-woman code-named Coat Of Arms pins the survivor to a wall and we see she's filming the encounter. She claims that they are misunderstood teen superheroes, hated and feared by those they protect. Then the robot Egghead puts him in a 30-year coma.

Then sirens announce the arrival of the cops so they head for a bar. The Asgardian keeps her 'costume' but the others change into civvies (which for the leader just means ditching the 'mask' and the 4-armed girl somehow loses 2 of them). The not-now-giant girl named Amity thinks the subway incident funny but the filmer complains that they must stay in superheroic character, while of course striving to be original. A new barman questions their age but Sylvie, the Asgardian, casts a glamour which makes him believe they are in their 20s, and also gets them a free round of drinks. The leader Chris, her boyfriend, asks her to drop the Asgardian-speak which makes her sound like she has a lisp. Then some police enter and Chris gets Sylvie to magic the gang to their base in Central Park ...

... which is something called the Invisible Manor. Chris calls a 'post-scene' meeting to discuss Amity and Danny (Executioner)'s unwarranted killing. Amity responds by going to bed, but Daniel has a defence lined up. He says 1 of the men they executed was convicted of aggravated murder and the other was a rapist, and he claims he knew this before they died. And since the event he's learned what they did to the store owner. Does Chris want to get real or does he just want to play superheroes? Chris calls it a night.

We now see what the chars do in the privacy of their rooms, and also get the rest of their codenames, if not the real names.
Coat Of Arms has painted a picture of Captain America killed by a hail of arrows à la St Sebastian. And she adds speech bubbles, starting with "Anything is permitted".
Sylvie joins Chris (who we learn uses the name Melter) in bed after watching Egghead do magic tricks. Chris thinks Amity and Egghead are in a relationship. He also knows that without Enchantress the team would be homeless and easily caught, and he suspects he wouldn't be the leader.
Amity (Big Zero) and Egghead are indeed on a bed together, but the girl is altering his programming. Apparently they've been together for 2 years, and she's made him 'not respect' minorities. But she still can't get him to call them by non-PC words. However she rewards him by triggering his pleasure circuits.
Executioner is hacking into secure databases like the FBI when he gets a call from his mother. She's sent him some more money by the usual secure channel, but he has to dissuade her from coming to see him because he still hasn't got a girlfriend.

Next day Chris talks to Coat Of Arms (we still don't have a real name for her) in a café. He moans that the team won't act like heroes. COA wonders what heroism *is*. Chris agrees that Captain America is a hero. But what about Wolverine? Punisher? And therefore their Executioner? The superhuman community supposedly now answers to both the President (Obama in the real world) and Norman Osborn. Heroes should aspire to join the Avengers, but is that the legacy Mighty Avengers, the government's Dark Avengers or the rebel New Avengers? She says she selected these team members and made him their leader to highlight the contradictions for her art.

Later Chris is remembering other conversations with other team members. Trying to persuade Executioner that his vigilante approach is only OK if he never hurts the innocent like Punisher. Enchantress persuading him that stealing diamonds from the safe deposit box of a millionaire is like Robin Hood. Going along with Big Zero and Egghead's anti-government stance but telling them to stop the racism. An old lady with her shopping trips (I think) over his extended foot. He starts to pick up her shopping but she screams "Mugging" and maces him in the face. Eyes streaming he automatically lashes out and reduces her to a puddle. Passers-by don't even notice.

Distraught he runs back to base and finds COA telling the others that Chris is the leader because he asks questions like what gives them the right to call themselves Young Avengers. And then the real YA are magically teleported in by Wiccan to ask the same question.

Mark Brooks
Mark Brooks
Christina Strain
Mark Brooks (Cover Penciler)
Mark Brooks (Cover Inker)
Christina Strain (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Big Zero, Coat of Arms, Egghead (android), Enchantress (Sylvie Lushton), Executioner (Danny DuBois), Melter (Chris Colchiss), Young Avengers.

> Dark Reign: Young Avengers: Book info and issue index

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