Comics : Young Avengers #8

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of an Arc: "Secret Identities"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

The Young Avengers is comprised of "junior" versions of their "adult" counterparts who are not so much side-kicks as they are somehow connected via "legitimate" connections: Patriot (Elijah Bradley) is the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, the sole survivor of a American Super-Soldier program on African-Americans in the 1940s (prior to the one that turned Steve Roger into Captain America). Elijah received his super-powers after receiving a blood transfusion from his grandfather. Wiccan (William "Billy" Kaplan), is an Asguardian teen mage with the ability to project waves of energy; Hulkling (Teddy Altman), has a healing factor and the ability to shape-shift into a green-skinned powerhouse; Stature is Cassie Lang, daughter of the deceased Avenger Ant-Man who has been inhaling his Pym Partials. Iron Lad is a teenaged Kang the Conquer who traveled back to the present to save it from his adult self; and Kate Bishop who has apparently taken over the hotheaded archer role of Hawkeye.

In Detail...

Young Avengers #8
Nov 2005 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man, The New Avengers Appear
Arc: Part 2 of "Secret Identities"
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Allan Heinberg
Pencils:  Andrea DiVito
Inker:  Drew Hennessey
Staff Only
Issue
Review
Articles: Young Avengers

The story is continued the previous issue. Patriot has stumbled across Mister Hyde who has been perfecting a powerful new strain of Mutant Growth Hormone (MGH), which he is using as a new designer drug. Just before he is pummeled into the ground by the enraged strongman, Patriot's teammates show up to lend a hand. During the scuffle Wiccan accidentally discovers that Patriot himself is using the drug, and realizes that the reason that his friend is using, is that her really does not have his grandfather's powers. Which is where we come in.

In General...

In the other room Hyde is mopping the floor with the Young Avengers. Hyde injects himself with MGH and begins to grow even bigger and more powerful. Not willing to give up, Cassie also increases her own size to compensate, only to get tossed across the room at Hulkling. Kate demonstrating her proficiency with her bow nails Hyde with a trio of rapidly fired shots, only to have herself body-slammed into a wall, and knocked unconscious. As the wall crumbles, it reveals the outside of the warehouse where it is revealed that some of NY's finest have arrived, and attempt to diffuse the situation.

Across town, Captain America is talking to Elijah's grandmother in her kitchen, where he, in a rambling, hesitant fashion, tells Faith, that her grandson has somehow inherited his grandfather's powers and abilities. It is also where Cap learns that the story that Eli told him about being stabbed in a fight, and receiving a blood transfusion from his grandfather was all a lie. Meanwhile, Jessica Spider-Woman Drew is sitting down with Cassie Lang's mother talking to her about Cassie having ingesting her father's supply of Pym Partials, gaining the ability to increase her size, and now moonlighting as a superhero with the Young Avengers.

Cassie's mom (who is pregnant by her second husband) reminds Jessica of Cassie's heart condition, and wonders if her use of the Pym Partials will affect her condition. It is at this point in the conversation that Jessica notices the TV news coverage of the incident at the warehouse and realizes that the Young Avengers are in over their collective heads in attempting to take on Mr. Hyde. She promptly excuses herself and makes her way across town.

At Hyde's warehouse by the West Side Highway, Hyde is using the unconscious body of Kate Bishop as a bargaining tool with the cops that are surrounding the building. Fortunately, he is thwarted in this as Wiccan manages to remove Kate from Hyde's grasp, and get both himself and her out of harm's way before Hyde can react. At which point Patriot re-enters the fray greatly amped up on MGH and - much to everyone's surprise - decks Hyde. Unfortunately, Hyde doesn't stay down, and he and Patriot seriously get into a major knockdown, drag-out brawl.

Fueled by his own rage (and apparently growing addiction) Eli is about to inject himself again with more MGH when Hyde stomps him flat and stops him. Whereupon Eli grabs the hypodermic needle and jabs Hyde with it, overloading his system and sending him into a drug-induced stupor. As the Young Avengers stand over the collapsed body of Hyde Kate approaches Eli and attempts to discern what Eli has done to himself. It is at this point that the New Avenger team (lead by Cap, and yes, including our pal Spider-Man) has assembled n the site, and tells their younger doppelgangers to step down.

Eli, who is still jacked-up on MGH, and spoiling for a fight, challenges Cap's authority. Cap attempting to diffuse the situation, tries to talk Patriot down form his antagonistic stance, tells him that the adults are here to help the kids. Eli shoots back with that the younger team already asked for help, and were told to disband when what they wanted was training. So saying he starts to leave, but is stopped by Iron Man's repulsor blast.

When Eli comes to he is on a table in one of Stark's labs in Avenger's Tower, being watched over by the new incarnation of The Vision. Vision informs Eli that all of the MGH toxins have been flushed form his body, and the rest of the young team have joined the New Avengers in one of the main meeting rooms. Vision also informs Patriot that he has somehow managed to retain the memory engrams of Iron Lad, thus making him a little bit Vision and a little bit Iron Lad. The two of them then head off to the meeting room to join the others.

Cassie is understandably upset that The Avengers told their parents about them, while Cap asks Eli to come clean about the blood transfusion that didn't actually happen. Eli tells Cap that when Iron Lad showed up he was really looking for Josiah, Eli's uncle who had inherited powers from Eli's grandfather, but Josiah had disappeared over a year ago. Desperately wanting to live up to the legacy of his beloved grandfather, Eli lied and said that he too had Super Soldier powers; only he was really ingesting the MGH that he was confiscating from the dealers that the team was busting. At this point, Eli knows the ride if over, and quits the team. The story continues next issue.

Overall Rating...

To paraphrase, Alice in Wonderland, this tale becomes more and more interesting. Here we have a new dynamic, a comicbook, full of teen heroes, great action, human dynamic and pathos, as well as the legacy of old Marvel re- imagined for the modern-day world. Surprisingly enough (or perhaps not) the book is well written and well drawn, thus making it well worth further investigation.

It is for perhaps this reason that the current storyline has been tying into the New Avengers, so that fans of that series (as well as old-time Avengers' fans) would take the shot at picking up the title up and giving it the once- over. Needless to say it worked with this fan. Not only am I recommending it, but I also have just decided to continue to pick the series up for a bit, (as well as hunt up some back issues as well).

Footnote...

What we have here is not so much of a junior-grade knock-off of a long- standing Marvel comic, but an innovative way to turn a classic concept into a workable series in the modern world with an old-fashion twist. In the past, (okay, when I was a kid, during a previous century) comics were replete with kid sidekicks and kid teams sporting the junior members of "dynamic duos." The rationale for these teen sidekicks was always that since kids read comics they would need to have a kid element to the story to make them interesting to kids (faulty logic, to be sure, but the paramount thinking of the day).

Here, with Young Avengers, there is a more rational reasoning for the existence of each of the principals in the team. All of them have "reasonable" connections to their adult counterparts (above and beyond merely being a sidekick, which none of them truly are). Thus giving the team a better hook on which to hang their collective cowls. I didn't think I was going to like this series, but I find it growing on me as I read each issue.

As did all Marvel Comics cover-dated November 2005, this comic also contains a 6-page preview of the upcoming horror-com-superhero title, Nick Fury's Howling Commandos.