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Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #1 (of 3)

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Chris Yost
Takeshi Miyazawa, Christina Strain (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, June 25.

Plot: Little do the Young Avengers or the Runaways know what the Skrulls are doing on Earth, but Xavin has a pretty good idea once the attacks begin. If only Hulkling's Skrull intel were as reliable.

What's interesting: Remember how bad the last Young Avengers/Runaways mini-series was? Well don't. This one gets off on the right foot immediately, showing that somebody has thought about what gives those two books their (similar) appeal, and what makes team-ups between the two seem like an obvious winning strategy.

Hint: it's not just because they're all teens.

First up we have gorgeous art by Miyazawa, whose work has graced the Runaways before and who is fully in synch with the manga-digest-fun style that is part of the title's fresh appeal. Everybody looks great, and Miyazawa's cartoonishness (huge soulful eyes, clear and gorgeous lines, simple but balletic action scenes) is the sort that doesn't hinder the seriousness of the life-threatening invasion plot. It also goes beautifully with Strain's pastel color-scheme: she especially has a lot of fun with all those Skrull-based greens and purples.

Xavin puts things into perspective (after she seems to betray her teammates): "If it's come to this, the invasion is over. They've won. Now it's just a matter of cleaning up."

Those are harsh but true words, and the clean-up as it relates to our two teen teams is dire: Xavin is a Prince of a rival line (he doesn't care if he's male or female, but regardless, he's not planning on becoming a member of Queen Veranke's religious cult) who the invaders are charged to eliminate. Meanwhile, Hulkling, half-breed son of Princess Anelle and Captain Mar-vell, isn't only an unlikely mix of sworn enemies Kree and Skrull. As Anelle's son, he's in Emperor Dorrek's family line, and Dorrek is Veranke's long-term foe.

Sadly, while Xavin is up on all these political vectors, Hulkling (raised on Earth) is clueless. So it makes sense that Yost ends the story with the two of them as unlikely allies, on the run and using their Junior Super-Skrull and Hybrid-Kree powers as if their lives are at stake. Because they very surely are.

These were the exact questions I had about the Skrull components of two of my favorite teams when this invasion began, and hats off to Yost for answering them. The issue is beautiful, action-packed, and full of consistently accurate character moments. Let's hope the whole series is like this.



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