Avengers: The Children's Crusade #3

If you're trade-waiting this book, I've got a spoiler for you: Jim Cheung's art is really, really good. Stunning. I gushed about Cheung's art in my review of issue #2 back in September, too. Man, September 1st sure seems like a long time ago. Hard to believe it's been over two months since the last issue hit the racks, but the art is definitely worth the wait.

As great as Cheung's art is, this comic has a riveting, soulful story going on in it as well. Following the revelations in the previous issue (which might be spoiled for you if you read any farther, but come on, you've had two months!) Magneto and the Young Avengers are quite convinced that Victor von Doom might have a thing or two to do with the disappearance of the Scarlet Witch. This, naturally, leads to bickering, more bickering, and even some whining, all symptoms of the human condition and all marvelously delivered by Allan Heinberg. He dials in the focus on three characters in this issue: Quicksilver, Wiccan, and a third, wonderful character whose past coasts alongside Wanda's. Those three characters set throw a wicked curve into this story.

As with previous issues, there is a certain level of presumed knowledge expected of the readers of this book, but if you've been plugged into the Avengers books at all over the past decade, this story is a solidly entertaining read. As with the previous issue, there's a nice little cliffhanger here that makes for a not-so-subtle reminder that two months from now - the expected street date of the next issue - is really next year. A long time to wait in between issues, but with a story as bedrock solid as this one, rendered in jaw-dropping-and-kicking-to-the-curb beautiful art two months is well worth the wait.

The tension in this story is throttling upwards and the infighting isn't solely centered around Magneto any longer. The final resolution - which is roughly a year away - is going to have some significant ramifications, and the story along the way is packed with dazzling character moments, strong interactions, and elusive hope. Heinberg and Cheung are crafting a modern classic here. I just hope they are given the proper latitude to let it play out without having their story spoiled elsewhere before this magnificent run concludes.

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