I do have a soft spot for female characters and I get my fix with Young Allies. I am also a sucker for Sean Mckeever writing teenagers. David Baldeon art is a bonus. I am enjoying this action packed issue of Ugly Green Guy trying to eliminate my favorite young teenagers. Between Firestar kicking butt or the special appearance of Thing, Captain America, Spider-Woman and Luke Cage, I can’t decide what’s my favorite part of this issue. Good times overall!
This ‘young heroes’ book doesn’t quite have the originality or sense of purpose of Avengers Academy. It feels like a catch-all for characters who don’t have books of their own (though Spider-Girl and Nomad kind of do). Still, Sean McKeever writes a good ensemble; even though this is mostly a fight issue, each of the characters has distinctive things to do. David Baldeon’s art is fun and colorful, too. Anybody jonesing for a young-hero book that’s a little out of the Marvel mainstream should check out this series.
I know Young Allies doesn’t get a lot of love. I know everyone expects it to be the next book that Marvel cancels. [Marvel has, in fact, canceled it since this review was written.–Ed.] And, I know that maybe—just maybe—the whole Ground Zero thing wasn’t the greatest idea. I don’t care. If you had told me a year ago that I’d read a comic with a prepubescent Leader wannabe (I shall call him “Half-Leader”) as the villain, I would have laughed in your face. Yet here we are. Avengers Academy might get all the accolades (well-deserved though they may be) but, deep down, I prefer Young Allies. The Academy kids were more or less forced to become heroes; the Allies are doing it because it’s the right thing to do. And I love how this issue sets up the possibility that the Young Allies will be the New Avenger’s JV squad: “Next time, don’t call Avengers Tower, call the mansion. We’ll listen to you.” And when Luke Cage tells you he’ll listen, you know he’ll listen.
Writer Sean McKeever’s strength is in characterization, so an issue like this, which consists primarily of an extended fight scene, doesn’t quite match up to the book’s heights. However, the reveal about the Leader’s son brainwashing the “Bastards of Evil” into believing themselves the children of supervillains was well-handled, and certain character moments, particularly Firestar’s willingness to put herself in danger, and the revelation of her cancer to her teammate, Gravity, brightened up an otherwise humdrum issue. The Avengers cameo was also a pleasant surprise, particularly Bucky’s invocation of the original “Young Allies” and Nomad’s (so far unilateral) interest in using the name. I look forward to future issues, and hope for an increased focus on the relationships between Nomad, Arana, and Toro, who have been my favorite parts of the book since day one.