Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dark Reign: Young Avengers TPB

What a strange story. Paul Cornell has become one of my favorite comic authors so I had to pick up his take on the Young Avengers, only to find out that this book is only partly about them. Since this is a Dark Reign book, it doesn't surprise me that there is an evil take on the Young Avengers, what does surprise me is that they end up getting more pages than the core team. The Enchantress, Melter, Big Zero, Egghead, Executioner, and Coat of Arms are all interesting characters (although I never really connected with Coat of Arms or Executioner, either good or bad). Big Zero and Egghead are clearly evil and they're fun to start disliking as soon as they show up (Nazis are like that). Melter is likable but so incompetent that he's worth worrying about, the guy is clearly dangerous, although I did enjoy seeing his attempt to become a hero. Enchantress is a lot of fun and should be the breakaway star of the book. Her affected Asgardian accent is wonderful and I loved how Hulkling and Wiccan took to her.

I was surprised at how confrontational Patriot is, considering he gets his powers from drugs. He's awfully judgmental for a guy who has that kind of origin. As usual, my favorite member of the Young Avengers is Cassie. I love growth powers and the ongoing conflict between her and Big Zero doesn't disappoint, they are natural, gigantic enemies. In the end though, I'm not sure we'll see much more of these characters. Norman Osborn sort of summarizes things in the last pages when he says "This is not part of Avengers history. It never happened." It was an interesting little story and I did enjoy some of these new characters, but did anything in this trade matter? I'm not sure it did.

Mark Brooks has a clean, bright style that would look appropriate in a cartoon. It works fine in this story featuring bright characters and dark villains, but I have to say I didn't care for Executioner's mask. I kept thinking Executioner was supposed to be Scourge from Thunderbolts. Melter's look was pretty odd too, wearing all street clothes. I guess it makes sense that some of these kids would dress like that, but I wouldn't have minded that old school helmet the original guy wore.


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