I simply can't believe how many great things happen in this issue. I'm having a hard time taking it all in, or taking it all seriously. It's surprising to get everything you've hoped for, all at once. I don't want to get my hopes dashed again. Smashed to the little bits they were left in after "Avengers Disassembled."
It's been years, I know, but the devastation of Avengers #503 was a real low. In one issue, Bendis overturned everything the Avengers had ever been about. Four series on, despite all the faux-jokey oral history he piles on, new characters galore, even the fact that he has improved slightly as an Avengers writer and plotter since the first New Avengers arc… means nothing to me. He was writing an Avengers, but not my Avengers. Well, I liked Alias and the Pulse. So I like Luke and Jewel and Baby Skrull. And his Ms. Marvel is okay.
Young Avengers didn't bring back Wanda, but it did bring back the Vision, in a tolerable form. Young heroes inspired by the Avengers legacy; that was a concept I could get behind, and the spot-on storytelling of Heinberg and Cheung made it all the more enjoyable.
This series continues their work, and is the true sequel and antidote to "Disassembled." We've had an intriguing tale where Wanda's unexplained (and supposedly non-existent) children search the world for her, finding her ultimately with Victor von Doom, and attracting willy nilly disapproving Avengers and X-Men along the way. It's been all over the Marvel Universe in a way that shows just how much Heinberg loves it.
But now we're back at the original Mansion. The memorial to the fallen. Only somehow we've found a newly revived Ant-Man (not the annoying one, but Stature's father). We've found Hawkeye (killed and revived twice by Wanda, if one believes the Bendis stories). And Wanda, against everyone's best judgment, has found her costume, her memories and her powers.
Cheung does a great job with the crackling energy as he echoes the scene of her floating above the Mansion grounds, raining destruction on the Avengers in the form of specters of all their foes. We've seen that before. Only, this time, she's trying to kill herself, having triggered not her former insanity but a new sense of guilt. And Wiccan stops her, reaching for her like he's always done, like a son for his mother.
Heinberg knows it won't be that easy, though. Hawkeye loves her despite it all, but how do the X-Men feel about it? More importantly, how does X-Factor in particular feel about it? Peter David did more with the "Decimation" story than anyone else in the wake of "No more mutants," so Heinberg honors that by bringing Madrox, Strong Guy, Shatterstar and Rictor in to say their piece; not only does he excellently portray the intimacy that has developed between Rictor and Shatterstar during their trials in the mutant ghetto, he offers Rictor up as the guinea pig for Wanda's newly heroic plan: saving every mutant she decimated, one by one.
Cheung is not only incredibly detailed in his work, and a master of anatomical proportion, with Morales' inks his illustrations are incredibly precise and balanced; the crosshatches defining the shadows are like old master etching plates. Ponsor's colors are somewhat muted and tertiary (his Wanda is more maroon than scarlet), but they compliment the art's precision well. The issue, and everyone in it, looks great.
What's left to say? Let the healing begin, at last.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.
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