"Now, Not Tomorrow"
Last issue the Radioactive Man's whelp went nuclear at Ground Zero. In the second issue of Young Allies the kids deal with the fallout. Gravity calls upon Reed Richards before partnering with Firestar to track down Electro, allegedly the father of Aftershock. Meanwhile, Nomad and Arana combine forces with El Toro to hunt the so called Bastards of Evil.
This is an enjoyable issue of Young Allies. Sean McKeever does something very impressive with Electro that outshines the kid heroes and I actually don't mind.
Electro was a punk with a gimmick. He never harbored a pathological hatred of Spider-Man. He developed a healthy loathing for Spidey because the Wall Crawler frequently interfered with his sole goal of larceny. Electro isn't a wanton psychopath. He's a bank robber with electrical powers. He's not nuts. He's a felon.
When Electro blasts Firestar and Gravity but allows them to live, denies fathering Aftershock and then decries the actions of Radioactive Man's offspring, especially at Ground Zero, I felt that I still knew this character. Electro dispensed with his charming lightning bolt mask and now sports a lightning bolt tattoo on his face, but he's still Electro. He adheres to a personal code of conduct and as a result his characterization rings true.
Other elements make Young Allies a winner. Arana demonstrates excellent detective work. Nomad displays superb strategic skill. The heroes differ in their methods, and while some appear willing to kill, the others that refuse reel their future teammates back to their side of the line. A radioactive blast at Ground Zero is a big deal, but it's not quite the catastrophe the Bastards of Evil hoped for.
McKeever places the blast in the context of the Marvel Universe. Had such a terrorist event occurred in real life, recovery would be nigh impossible, but McKeever recognizes the escapist nature of comics. Reed Richards' brilliance mitigates the damage. The Torch's power diminishes the aftereffects. Neither heroic counter dilutes the drama. These measures just make the story smarter.
McKeever focuses the what if scenario on the Allies. The stars of the book feel that they failed. They're the ones living with the guilt of impotence in the face of unstoppable power. They feel small, and the presence of the big guns remind them that they are small. Nevermind that they're actually chatting with major heroes, essentially dining at the grownups' table. McKeever thus reduces the drama to a human level and subtly makes Young Allies about something. Young Allies is basically the story of a group of young people denying and defying the odds to find their place in history.
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