Dark Reign: Young Avengers #4 Review

While I haven’t been reviewing it for the Revolution so far I figure better late then never. Dark Reign: Young Avengers has been great so far. With a strong start it did get a little weaker with a slow 2nd issue but by #3 I was sold on this as being one of the best mini’s so far this year.

With #4 delayed I was worried if the quality would dip. This isn’t happens from time to time as to no longer further a delay sometimes the artist will be forced into double time and his art will suffer. Lets take a look and hope things are as great as they have been so far with this mini.

Creative Team
Writer: Paul Cornell
Art: Mark Brooks

Storing Rating: 9 Night girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We open to a big party hosted by Dianna Patton. Hawkeye and Executioner are arm in arm when the Young Avengers crash in. Hawkeye compliments Hawkeye (just go with it) on her dress and they soon run out. Executioner is mad as this disproves that he knew Hawkeye was Kate and right in front of his mother.

Later in the Avengers Mansion ruins Vision turns back to himself and mentions to Stature he can use Hawkeye’s body later. She reminds him he’s mixing up their fantasies again (can you blame him for trying? I don’t) as Wiccan then turns back to normal after disguising himself as a villain.

The next day the Young Avengers meet the Young Masters (the Young Avengers wannabes) and Patriot says Enchantress and Coat of Arms can join but the others have to remain their own team. Melter gets pissed off about this. Hawkeye also berates Executioner as Coat of Arms refuses to go without Melter.

Patriot tries to explain to Melter and Melter doesn’t buy it. Melter accuses Patriot of being a knockoff of a knockoff of another knock off (DAMN SON! Those are harsh words from someone who is a knockoff as well)

Executioner gets in Patriot’s face as well. Enchantress stops them and Executioner is still pissed off. He says he’s off to go find his mother after finding out she’s Princess Python from Hawkeye.

Later that night we see Melter sitting up in bed as Enchantress is beside him deep asleep. He reflects on his childhood and how one day when talking to his parents about a science fair his powers kick in and he melts them both. He gets up, looks at himself in a mirror and over at Enchantress then leaves the room.

He goes in to Coat’s art gallery and finds a card with Norman Osborn’s number on it. He dials the number and just as he gets through Coat walks in. We then see Norman Osborn talking to Loki who reveals that she gave Enchantress her powers to create mischief and Osborn lists off which of the Young Masters are useful and thinks about getting the Young Avengers on his side.

Coat of Arms walks up on Melter and says she wondered if anyone would use the card and call him. She is disappointed but doesn’t blame Melter since he’s got a super villains powers. She says she wanted him to work out how to be a hero again. Melter apologizes and tells her he’s not the guy for the job.

Big Zero and Egghead are in bed. They talk about how the only reasons they are there is because of Enchantress. She starts up Egghead’s pleasure sensors and lays on top of him as she tells him their going to download truth into the Young Avengers.

The next day we see Enchantress enter the old Avengers Mansion with the other Young Avengers and she is so stunned. Her and Wiccan go off to train as Stature and Hawkeye both talk about her behind her back. As Enchantress and Wiccan are trying to train she soon offers to have sex with him but he says he’s gay and she doesn’t care.

We later see (whoa, whoa, whoa! We’re just going to cut at that and not say what happened? Seriously?) Coat of Arms and Speed talking. She says learned that heroism is dead last night and Speed awkwardly looks away.

Executioner is talking to his mom on the phone as she leaves work. She sees her window smashed and gets angry. Executioner says goodbye as the bomb he put in her car goes off and he mentions her as Princess Python.

We see Stature and Vision at a café talking about all that has been happening. Egghead shows up and forces his hand into Vision’s chest, downloading something into him. Stature knocks him away and Vision says that they have to tell the others about Enchantress.

An hour later Enchantress has been kicked off the Young Avengers and is back with the Young Masters. Melter says he’s called over the Young Avengers. As the Young Avengers arrive the Young Masters are seen with the Dark Avengers.

Commentary
The Good: Dark Reign: Yong Avengers is definitely my favorite of all the Dark Reign mini’s so far. I have been keeping up to date on the events of other stories such as with Elektra and others. I must say that this series appeals to me as both a Young Avengers fan and as a comic fan in general.

For me the highest point of this mini has been the character work. With both teams of the Young Masters and the Young Avengers. Cornell has a great handle on all (but one) of the characters. I’d have to say the character he writes best is Vision which makes sense since he did an amazing job on a Vision one-shot with last years’ Young Avengers Presents.

Of course the moment where Vision told Stature he could use Kate’s body for later had me in stitches. Though funny as it was, it was also an interesting moment for implicating there could be a sexual relationship to these 2. Not something you see as much at Marvel with their teen heroes.

Now I could be wrong but I was under the assumption that Marvel was very uncomfortable with even hinting at Teenage Sex. Even though everyone else in the world who isn’t a 50 year old grandpa doesn’t seem to find it so taboo anymore. It’s something that’s real so seeing a Marvel comic reflect and at least hint at it was surprisingly nice. That and hilarious as all hell.

Now that I think about it there has been more of a sexual undertone then most teenage based Marvel Heroes. While Teen Titans doesn’t seem to shy away from it much it is an undertone that does somewhat fit teenagers. Teenagers are hormonal and off the wall with this kind of stuff so it was interesting to see a Marvel comic reflect that for once. Even if it was more humor based this time.

Executioner is an interesting villain. He’s cold as we can see, killing his own mother just because she never told him the truth. Though he’s been the blandest of the Young Masters so far with his only development being that he’s a mamma’s boy and not very good at hiding it either. Though this was a great and big twist for his character.

We’ve been building to what has been eating at Melter for some time now and this was a great if not haunting reveal. Now I can assume he got his powers from the science fair somehow but at age…what, 9 maybe? Melting your parents can f*** you up pretty good and I’d say it’s a fair explanation for him.

Patriot trying to be the inspirational hero was a great moment. Seeing him struggle to explain why he thinks Melter should lead the other team and how Melter rebukes it was all great. Patriot himself has really been trying to step up as a strong leader in this mini and while he may not be doing a great job it’s still great to read.

I enjoyed the twist that Coat of Arms baited Melter to call Norman Osborn, basically ruining all she had been working towards. It was a strong moment and Cornell did a great job of building the tension so thick between these two you could cut it with a knife. Even though it was a short moment.

Egghead and Big Zero are 2 characters that puzzle me. While they are at least interesting they have a little too much mystery to them so far. Also their relationship is really strange. I almost feel like it’s a cold alternate to the Vision/Stature relationship how Vision and Stature have something genuine whereas these two are brought together by some twisted bond they share.

This mini has had some plotlines that have been building nicely and while all is not revealed just yet it seems that Cornell is doing a fairly good job at tying up what he can but it seems like he’ll leave a good chunk left over to be revealed later on when the mini is either over with a new mini or at the very end of the mini.

Brooks’ art continuously impresses me on this series. He’s always been an amazing artist but I must admit that his cover work has always trumped his interiors .While he does a good job as an interior artist it was rare that what you saw in the comic was as good as what the cover was.

Lucky it seems he’s finally applying that extra polish to his art on the inside and it looks amazing as the covers. One of the few times where I don’t mind a delay so much since we got a great comic to read and the art was totally worth any delays.

While there was some mild pacing issues I must say this issue felt totally worth the 3.99 price tag. Something that less and less comics seem to be doing nowadays as a company will just charge you an extra back and expect you to live with it. Seeing a comic that feels totally worth the price like this was great especially for a mini-series.

I did love the Cliff-hanger (it was my moment of the week after all) as it left me really excited to see what happens next. All the while I was satisfied with what I got this time. A cliff-hanger that feels exciting and epic along with me being excited for next time but still enjoying what I read is something that all comics should strive for.

Overall on the good side there are a lot of reasons I could note this as one of the best mini’s I’ve read all year. Great characters, strong plot and absolutely amazing artwork. This along with it being so far into the series shows a strong use of plotting on Cornell’s part and that’s great.

The Bad: Much as I absolutely loved this issue I must confess there where 2 minor nitpicks to it.

Hulkling has been given the side-role and really has gotten barely 2 sentences in through this series. He may have a moment of dialogue here and there but an actual character moment seems to escape him whereas everyone else by now has been given some quality page time.

The moment with Enchantress and Wiccan left me scratching my head at what happened. Some fans have actually gone so far as to accuse she raped him. I thinks that’s a tad much as it seems more like she got rejected then whatever Egghead downloaded into Vision made them kick her out.

Cornell just sort of threw this page in there and it doesn’t really go anywhere or get explained. One minute she wants to f*** Wiccan’s brains out for no real reason and the next she’s kicked off the team and we don’t know why. It’s the one part of this issue that just left me confused and rather annoyed.

Also this is a very minor complaint but the issue does jump around a lot so it does get a tad jarring.

Overall: Young Avengers fans should most definitely not miss out on this amazing mini. From the story, character work and incredible artwork this mini is looking to be my favorite of 2009 and should not at all be missed. Very high recommendations.

1 Comments

  1. I like the interplay btwn the Enchantress wannabe and Wiccan. Too bad he is gay; it would have been more interesting if he was bi.

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