Let me start off by saying I don't really give a crap about the Marvel Universe. All of my knowledge of what goes on outside of Runaways comes from my crazy male friends. One of them complained for weeks that the press spoiled the death of Captain America, another owns every volume of "Thor" every printed, the others sit around Starbucks and play comic book trivia games. One of the more popular games goes something like this: create a team of four of the ~lamest~ super heroes in the Marvel Universe and come up with a way they could work together to actually take over the world.
Well after reading this and become aquainted with The Young Avengers I'm inclined to think that I stand a chance next time the game pops up...
As far as I can tell, The Young Avengers are a big group of kids with incredibly lame names derived from better super heroes whose abilities they mimic: like "Hulkling" (mini-Hulk), The Patriot (mini-Captain America), and Iron Lad (mini-Iron Man). They're rounded out by a giantess, a generic hot-chick with a bow and arrow and assorted boys in spandex who mean nothing to me because I'm clearly not enough of a comic geek. Oh! And there's also a sorcerer-boy who had to change his name from "The Asguardian" to "The Wiccan" after he hooked up with Hulkling ( The Asguardian... The Ass Guardian... get it? ).
Anyhow... my comic friends tell me that the "Civil War" is going on in every Marvel title. Essentially the super heroes are splitting into two groups: pro-super-hero registry and anti-super-hero registry. And they're... fighting... because... that's cool.
Well, from the title, you'd think that the Runaways get to fight the Young Avengers. That might be cool, right? Well... the title's a bit decieving. In reality, the Young Avengers want to team up with the Runaways. A brief misunderstanding gives us one volume of surprisingly cool match-ups but it's soon resolved and becomes a cute excersize in "wow, we're really similar"!
"You have a witch? WE have a witch!"
"You have a Skrull? WE have a Skrull too!"
"You have super strength?! DUUUUDE!"
"You're gay?! US TOOO!"
There are minor easter eggs and plot bunnies hidden for fans of each individual series: Chase and Molly reconnect, Nico gets a chance to show off as leader, and Hulkling and Wiccan share a heart-rending torture scene in which Runaways fans wonder what the hell the point is casting spells you need to repeat several dozen times before they do anything...
Essentially, it's fan-wank. But it is entertaining, decently drawn and true to The Runaways' own universe. It's really not an essential sidetrip, but it is a fun one... and at only four volumes: it's probably one worth taking.
You probably won't come out of it a Young Avengers fan. But it can't hurt to add to your arsenal of lame heroes for coffee-shop competitions
Buy it here: