Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is on my short list of highly anticipated upcoming mini-series. I am so excited about Allan Heinberg re-teaming with Jim Cheung to tell more stories about the Young Avengers that my heart is racing as I type this! I’m elated that this mini-series will focus on Wiccan, one of the team’s two openly gay characters (The other one is Hulking and yes, they do happen to be boyfriends). Thing is, when Heinberg crafted the Young Avengers team, he created one of the most diverse teams in comics. The team has one African-American member (Patriot, who is also the leader), two strong female characters (Stature and Hawkeye), a synthezoid (Vision) and two gay characters (the aforementioned Wiccan and Hulking). Wiccan’s twin brother Speed is also a member. However, none of these characters are completely defined by these aspects of these characters. I read this book because I am interested in how these kids try their best to follow in the footsteps of their heroes. Patriot believes in Captain America’s ethos and has an awesome connection to the star-spangled hero’s legacy. Hawkeye was given permission by the original Marvel archer to use his name (she even donned a purple costume in honor of Clint Barton), but now that he’s back (and using his old codename) will she have to create a new identity? Stature has her father’s size-changing abilities, but is still coming to terms with his death. Hulkling is half Kree and half Skrull, and the son of the deceased Captain Marvel. His metamorph abilities are nothing compared to his ties to two very distinct and often warring cultures. The fact that he has a stable loving relationship with Wiccan (whose magic powers seemed tied to his will) is a great part of why I read this book. Comics love the lesbians (whether they portray them accurately is another post), but it’s rare to see gay male leads and even rarer still to see them portrayed as well rounded people with loved ones just like straight people. It’s a testament to Heinberg’s writing that these characters come across as multi-faceted kids facing a barrage of problems to which any reader can relate.
The team is back! Jim Cheung’s art is terrific! I love his sense of action, his design sense and his layouts! It is a joy to read his work and his rendition of Scarlet Witch is out of the ballpark! Read this awesome article from Comic Book Resources about what to expect from this mini-series! Then go ask your local comic retailer to reserve you a copy!
Since a lot of this storyline revolves around the Scarlet Witch and whether or not Wiccan (who may or may not be her son) can control his powers (which may or may not be the same as hers), I am really hoping that Wanda Maximoff gets redeemed. I say reveal that it was the demon Chthon influencing her all along and be done with it (a la Hal Jordan and Parallax). Chthon is the demon that lives in Wundagore Mountain where Wanda was born. He’s always had a hand in nefarious things regarding her and it would be a nod to her origins and history. However, I am confident in Heinberg’s storytelling that whatever he decides will be a great read! Bring on The Children’s Crusade!