The current backbone of "Secret Wars" is largely the idea of seemingly random patches of the Marvel multiverse being crunched together on a single piecemeal world, after all of the various universes crashed into each other. On the surface, it's not an idea that can be taken all that seriously, although the premise has made for some pretty interesting and downright entertaining comics. Enter Skottie Young's "Giant Size: Little Marvel: AvX" #1, which fortunately doesn't even try to be serious, but instead features Young's trademark brand of kiddie humor that adults can also enjoy. There's no side-splitting hilarity here, but it is a lot of fun, and it's a loopy alternative to all of those other tie-ins sitting next to it on the comic rack.
Truthfully, this isn't much of a tie-in to "Secret Wars" at all and didn't really need that branding (except maybe for marketing purposes); it would've been more at home alongside "Avengers vs. X-Men" a few years ago. It makes no real difference, though; Young's story works just fine as a standalone, regardless of whatever event it's being shoehorned into. Even so, the "Secret Wars" backdrop gives Young an excuse to spend the first couple of pages parodying it, which he does with some whimsical verse and some brief comical takes on his interpretation of other locations on Battleworld. Just in case anyone ever wanted to see "Marville" mentioned in a comic again, here it is.
There's just as much cuteness as comedy in Young's story. Many of the laughs are generated solely on the surface by way of his art and the rest are the amusing interactions between the characters, but there are some comedic gems sprinkled throughout. The first of which is the issue's cover by Young, which is an expectedly cartoonish take on the classic image of the Avengers on one side, facing down the X-Men on the other -- with Wolverine surrealistically appearing on both sides. Inside is peppered with dry and understated laughs like the Blob's simple reply to whether he's hungry: "I could eat."
Young's quirky illustrations aren't unlike those of a children's book, full of over-the-top caricatures and distorted architecture, all brightly colored by Jean-Francois Beaulieu. It makes for fun reading even in between laughs or when the gags run on a little too long, like the members of one team trying to one-up the other with their new food-cart venture. Young's story does meander a bit, but it's never worse than amusing in between the laughs.
"Giant Size: Little Marvel: AvX" #1 is far from essential reading, but it's definitely fun. Quoting one of Young's verses early in the issue, "it's quirky, it's silly, a bit insane," and it's all the better because of it. Anyone looking for a different kind of "Secret Wars"-inspired mashup will find an entertaining one here.