Avengers: The Children's Crusade #7

"Avengers: The Children's Crusade" is overall a fun, entertaining return to form from Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, and one that is clearly marching toward a big conclusion in a few months. But in order to get to that conclusion, we occasionally have what can best be called a "plot transition" moment, where in order to get from Point A to Point B we get a slightly hard to swallow leap of logic.

This is a way of explaining that while "Avengers: The Children's Crusade" #7 isn't bad, there are two points in this issue where there's some head-scratching logic.

The first is the big confrontation between the Scarlet Witch, the Avengers, and the X-Men. Sure, the X-Men are furious at the Scarlet Witch for what she's done to mutantkind as a whole. After all, they were almost all wiped out by the Scarlet Witch at the end of "House of M" back in 2005. But it's hard to imagine the X-Men being so bull-headed that when being offered the chance for all of mutantkind to get the powers back, to instead snarl like villains and start beating everyone up. It feels a little false and hollow, more than the typical "heroes fight before coming to an agreement" scene.

Still, it's better than Eli shooting an arrow into the cluster of Scarlet Witch, Wiccan, and Doctor Doom. Even though Heinberg created Eli, this somehow feels out of character for him; it's so brash, so not-thinking-things-through that it all but screams, "I just need the end result that's around the corner."

Is it an interesting end result? Well, yes, if slightly familiar. And there are a lot of great bits peppered throughout the script. Emma Frost going up against Wiccan and Speed is awfully funny, for instance, and the resolution to Wiccan's missing powers makes perfect sense. And for people who hated the Scarlet Witch's sudden ludicrous amount of power from "Avengers Disassembled" (and in general her out-of-character nature from that story that began this whole sequence of events), Heinberg provides a rather blatant patch of retroactive continuity into the mix. It's not the most elegant of explanations, but it makes more sense than the Scarlet Witch just going bonkers all those years ago.

Much more consistent are Cheung's pencils, which are as beautiful and sharp as always. Having him draw all of these extra characters this month looks effortless; he handles all the extra casts easily, and when the two teams attack one another there's so much energy exploding across the page that it makes me already yearn for news that he's got a post-"Avengers: The Children's Crusade" project lined up. He's too good to be gone for this long again.

"Avengers: The Children's Crusade" #7 is probably the weakest issue of the series to date, but it also feels like a forgivable hiccup to get us to the final two chapters of the mini-series. And with ripples from "Avengers: The Children's Crusade" starting to appear in other titles now (most notably Rictor having his powers back in the latest issue of "X-Factor," following them being restored in the previous issue of the mini-series), it's feeling like this actually will have lasting consequences. One merely "good" rather than "great" issue isn't enough to chase me away, needless to say; I'm looking forward to seeing how this all wraps up.

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