Dark Reign: Young Avengers has been the best of all the Dark Reign mini’s to me and has also been one of the best mini’s of the year. I was incredibly excited to see how Cornell and Brooks close their arc of the Young Avengers and Young Masters as the Dark Avengers arrive. Let’s see if it’s everything I hoped for.
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Mark Brooks:
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Norman starts talking to the Young Avengers, telling them to stand down and that he’ll decide who’s an Avenger and who’s not. He says that nowadays what determines being an Avenger is him saying you are. Patriot doesn’t like this and tells of the Young Masters then says they’ll decide who are the real Avengers in a fight, the teams then engage in a fight as Patriot shouts “Avengers Assemble!”
Enchantress yells at Wiccan about them throwing her out, Wiccan insists that she doesn’t know what she is. While the two Hawkeye’s face off Executioner tries to get in the middle but Dark Hawkeye tells him to stay out of it and he likes Young Hawkeye and is excited to fight her.
Daken and Hulkling face off. Daken tries to use his pheromones on Hulkling but he’s immune and punches out Daken. Vision and Egghead are struggling when Egghead gets a punch phased through Vision, greatly hurting him.
Stature and Big Zero fight, Stature lectures Big Zero at how she’s fighting the real legacy of the Avengers then gets a punch in on her and knocks her back. Coat of Arms has been watching and looks on with frustration. Melter tries to talk down Speed but Speed gets a sucker punch in on him.
Norman is getting frustrated with this and tells the Young Masters to take out the Young Avengers already. Patriot gets pissed off, lecturing Norman that he stole the name Avengers, he stole the name Patriot and he tells him he’s not a hero. He leaps at Norman and punches him as he shouts “And you are not an Avenger!” knocking him back. (Moment of the week, month…year maybe. This was awesome. About damn time Patriot man up and be the badass of the team)
Patriot mumbles he broke his hand, Hawkeye says she loves him, he mumbles he may break his hand every day. (Ha, I know love makes you do crazy things but please Patriot, you only have 2 hands, leave crazy acts like that to Doc Ock) Melter rants to Norman about how pathetic his team is doing, Norman is in shock that he was knocked down and tells Melter to step back as he calls in the Sentry.
Sentry shows up telling them all to stop. Wiccan runs up to Enchantress and tells her the truth, she is in denial about this. Wiccan tells her that she can still chose to be an Avenger and that it’s not about her powers. Sentry blasts Wiccan and Coat soon hands Enchantress some chains, saying she can’t stand by and just watch.
With the combined magic of Enchantress and Wiccan the chains bind Sentry. Big Zero is in shock, saying they can’t (as in stop Sentry) when Sentry is sucked into Vortex then Patriot says to Big Zero “Yes, we can” (again with being a badass, someone’s trying to steal Vision’s spot in my heart as favorite Young Avenger)
Stature checks on Vision, he is okay and Melter goes to Egghead. Melter apologizes and says he picked the wrong team with how they where able to kill Sentry. Patriot lectures Melter, telling him they didn’t kill Sentry for one. Telling Melter to wake up and choose a side already. (I second this notion)
Dark Hawkeye and Young Hawkeye are still fighting, Dark Hawkeye is impressed with her. She grabs him and uses him to smash him into Executioner. He then tells her about how Executioner just killed his mother then grabs a card to cut her with when Executioner shoots him in the leg telling him to shut up (Dark Hawkeye just gets all kinds of messed up nowadays, shot at, eaten, maybe he should go back to being Bullseye since he’s gotten a bigger beating in these last few months as an Avenger then ever before) Executioner says they are not the students, they are the masters.
Norman tells the Young Masters to please finish them already, getting fed up with the Young Avengers. Melter says he chooses time to think, grabbing Enchantress and telling her if she ever cared about him to take him away. She says of course she cared about him then teleports the Young Masters away to a new hideout. Before they leave Coat and Speed try to convince the other to join the team. They both can’t but they share a kiss and Coat promises to see him again someday.
Patriot says it’s a shame that they left. They look at the Dark Avengers and figure it’s time to finish them already. Norman and his team just stare for a moment. Norman says this never happened and isn’t a part of Avengers history as they run with their tails between their legs.
In their new hideout Coat dreams of herself in a super deformed cartoony version dancing with Green Goblin. She awakens then smiles as she says to herself “Oh, well. At least I got to dream it”
The Good: the conclusion to Dark Reign: Young Avengers #5 was an amazing read, that only really suffers from the fact that it can’t totally end the arc of the Young Masters since they are no doubt going to be used in the Heinberg/Cheung mini-series later next year. Still Cornell takes what he can and turns out one hell of a great read.
The shining aspect of this issue was the character work. With an issue like this that is all fighting from page 1 to the very end it is often hard for a writer to interject and use his characters all well. Cornell is able to overcome this and makes sure every character is used well for at least one or two moments and it’s great.
This is exactly what works so well about team comics, when the writer can balance action as well as every member of the team. Bendis may want to take notes in this case for his Dark Avengers series. Cornell strikes that perfect balance to where you feel like the full team is being used in this issue.
Of course the best character here was Patriot. No offense to fans of his character, but usually I find him rather annoying in that he’s often very self centered and at times so stubborn that it borders frustrating. He only has glimpses of being a true hero but here he finally stepped up and it was great.
Patriot really impressed me and it did feel like it was a real moment for him. Not like something Cornell thought would be cool so he put it in there. The build up as Patriot gets angrier and angrier fits his character well but he takes that anger and hardens it into a strike that smacks down an Iron Man armor, something that’s not as easy as it looks.
This series definitely played with some heavy themes from time to time such as fitting in and finding your place in the world. It also used the theme of leadership and it was great seeing that though Melter failed to come out as a true leader that Patriot really became a better leader and hero through this experience. Even if it didn’t seem like Cornell’s intention it was still great.
As I said there was the theme of fitting in, but not everyone finds their place right away and it seems Melter and his team of would be villains hasn’t found their place, disappointing as this was (more on that in a bit) I still did like that Cornell didn’t really go with the obvious choice of now their all just oh so evil and they kick babies and smack puppies for fun. It would have been cliché and an annoying turn.
It did make sense how Norman totally underestimated the Young Avengers and I actually like that he did because as I said it makes sense since their just kids and hey, he’s Norman Osborn, the man with an ego that could make Kanye West blush. It was very in character of him to only bring a few of his Avengers rather then the whole team.
Of course it was so awesome seeing the Young Avengers kick the Dark Avengers asses. Here we have the team (not the full team, mind you, minus a god of war, a ms. Marvel and a hungry space Symbiote) that the New Avengers and just about everyone else struggles with but this team of teens kicked their sorry asses like no tomorrow.
Maybe it’s just a generational thing and there’s something satisfying about seeing the underdogs win for once. It’s such a common cliché that the young team always gets kicked around when taking on the team of older and what are deemed to be stronger characters but this was just a nice change of pace to see.
Seeing the 2 Hawkeyes go at it was very cool, especially seeing that Kate can keep up with a serious threat like Bullseye very easily and making her just as credible a hero as the others even though she lacks powers.
Sentry is often a character that has plagued Marvel. How he can’t just go throw everything into the sun and make the day easier for the Dark Avengers no one knows. Bendis and other writers always have to work around it by “killing” him or making him go nuts, though here for the first time I think it made sense how they got rid of him.
Here it didn’t feel like some cop out of him blowing up or going crazy, the threat was legitimately removed and it felt in place with the characters who did it. Also it was just really cool seeing Sentry, this Superman like being, taken out by a bunch of teenagers.
I did like Wiccan’s little speech about how Enchantress can chose who she wants to be and doesn’t have to let her powers define her. How she can be good or evil and that it doesn’t matter where her powers came from or how she got them that as long as she uses them as she wants that is what will make her an Avenger. It’s a nice sentiment and it fits well with Wiccan since he doesn’t really fully comprehend where his powers come from either really.
Speed and Melter’s moment was a nice moment mostly for Speed showing off the rebel that he loves to be as usual. Melter trying pathetically to come off as some force of justice and trying to belittle Speed when it has no effect on him was just a lot of fun to see from these 2 as they do contrast greatly.
It was great seeing Stature tell off Big Zero since Big Zero is, in all seriousness, a bad person. She’s not nice. She’s mean. She’s racist and I don’t really like her. Seeing Stature finally tell her off and kicking her ass was just all around great and it was also nice to see Stature finally be more courageous then usual as often she’s not the best fighter of the group really.
Norman was frantic here. He had no idea what to do and how to handle the situation and he completely underestimated his enemy and got his ass rightfully kicked for it. I already mentioned that earlier but damn it is so satisfying seeing Norman have to pay for now properly accessing his enemy and really deserving to get his ass kicked.
Norman was way in over his head and it shows just with how flabbergasted he was when Patriot knocked him back. He thought this would be a walk in the park, as most people of authority underestimate the opposition, and then he got his face kicked in and was forced to run with his tail between his legs, saying this never happened. Just so damn satisfying and awesome!
The scene between Coat and Speed was kind of sweet. Cornell did a good job of showing that not only is there a history between these two but there is also a shared affection they have that goes with this history.
Of course how could I not love that final page? So hilarious and cute. It didn’t really have any importance to the story but it was just Cornell’s way of giving us a fun send off to what has been an amazing mini.
Mark Brooks on art was amazing for this mini. This has been by far hands down his best art yet and this issue was no let down in the art department. Every panel and page was drawn and done beautifully well making this one of the best looking comics out there on the shelves right now.
Overall this issue had a lot of great points making it an incredible read. It wasn’t perfect by any means but with what restrictions Cornell had with the up coming story next year it was impressive what he was able to do with this mini.
The Bad: As I said, this issue wasn’t perfect. Much as I wish it where, it did have one big flaw and a couple of little flaws.
It’s biggest and most obvious problem is that Cornell didn’t really get to close the story of the Young Masters. We can assume they will return in the 2010 mini-series. For those unaware it was recently announced the long anticipated Heinberg/Cheung mini-series will start in July 2010 and will be bi-monthly and is already a few issues in as far as the work process. This series has been in the work since the first YA series ended and a lot of people are anticipating it.
So of course with this coming up next year it makes sense that Heinberg probably wants to use the Young Masters and while this mini served a purpose of introducing them that they won’t do anything major until then. So Cornell didn’t really get to end the series fully by saying if they are going to choose to be good or bad which was rather disappointing and sad.
While most characters got some good page time, Vision was forced to have about one real line and that was disappointing since Cornell writes him so well.
It was kind of frustrating seeing Daken get beat so easily, satisfying as it was, I know he can do better then this and I wanted to see him come off as more credible threat still.
What is with Bullseye getting all kinds of messed up? I’m serious when I say it’s so annoying seeing him get tossed around constantly. He gets shot in the chest, the knee. Gets stabbed. After a while I’d just throw my hands in the air and give up because it’s a wonder he’s still alive.
Overall: Despite not really concluding the Young Masters story I still loved this mini-series and I give it a very high recommendation to anyone who loves the Young Avengers or wants to see Norman Osborn get his sorry ass kicked. It had great character work, beautiful artwork and was just all around a great read that I recommend to all.