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19 March 2012 @ 09:16 pm
War Journal Entry number 920 - The Meh Crusade.  
I read the entire nine-issue Avengers: The Children's Crusade series last night, and I was unfortunately unimpressed. The series stars the Young Avengers, a group of team heroes, as they search for the Scarlet Witch, who may or may not be the mother of two of the team. Meanwhile the regular Avengers and the X-Men both want to apprehend Scarlet Witch for themselves. The Avengers want her because she went crazy and killed a couple while wielding power that allows her to alter reality. The X-Men want her because she had de-powered almost the entire mutant race in minutes and "ruined millions of lives."

Alan Heinberg did a fantastic job on the previous volumes of Young Avengers, and the writing of those characters here is top notch (until the end). Unfortunately his writing of the other characters was not nearly as well done. Fine, I'll give a pass for Dr. Doom since he could have been acting (even self-admittedly) out of character to manipulate people, but the others... Both Captain America and Cyclops want to bring Scarlet Witch to justice, but they want to do it their own way and keep the other completely out. Plus, they don't seem to have any idea of what they want to do outside of some ill defined "justice." When the Young Avengers call them out on that it's a painfully transparent straw-man argument that more than anything shows that Heinberg didn't put in the effort to flesh out the other characters' motivations.

There was also just far too many times that the characters went back and forth between Avengers Mansion and Doom's castle. It ended up feeling like the tale was being padded out, which is annoying since it took so long to come out. The first issue came out July or August of 2009, and the final issue just came out a few weeks ago. Maybe a couple of trips could have been cut to speed up not only the release, but the narrative itself.

But the characters really lost me towards the end. One of the team members was gravely injured, and a time-traveling character wanted to take them to the future to receive medical treatment, but everyone said no because that would be tampering with the time stream. Really? His very presence was tampering with the time stream. Hell, he'd already accidentally saved someone else who had died. He even pointed those things out. So the continued refusal of the heroes was, to me, like saying, "Sure, my friend has had a heart attack, but I don't want to call an ambulance because I'm worried about the effect on the ozone layer."

It's one of the major lead-ins to the upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men event so I'm glad I read it, and it continues the stories of the Young Avengers who I like despite the silliness of the concept, I just wish that it had been better executed. I'm thankful I got it at a discount. Also, the art by Jim Cheung was perfect throughout the book.