There’s something odd about the fact that for a series that only lasted twelve issues and one special, we’ve now had 19 interim mini-series and one-shots starring the Young Avengers. I think it says a lot about Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s work on “Young Avengers” that Marvel keeps turning out these projects to try and tide people over until they return, rather than just shuffle them off the title and bring a new creative team on board.
That said, over the past few years we have seen a small handful of writers prove that they could handle writing a “Young Avengers” series should Heinberg ever decide to release his claim on the characters, and after this one-shot I’m more than willing to put Sean McKeever on that list. With just a handful of issues to draw from, McKeever manages to instantly get how to write these characters, and bring that sense of interplay and family to the title that Heinberg did such a good job with as well. With Stature and Vision having been in “Mighty Avengers” lately, it’s nice to see the other members of the team get the spotlight for a change. Wiccan and Hulkling’s conversation at the start of the book opens up the story perfectly, and from there the book continues to flow at a good, even pace.
What impressed me the most about McKeever’s script, though, is that he’s one of the few writers who’s managed to simultaneously handle the “you don’t get to change anything major” lock on the characters (presumably to preserve them for the eventual return of Heinberg and Cheung), as well as make you feel like that lock isn’t there. This doesn’t feel like a placeholder of an issue, but rather like part of a larger series. It’s the little moments that stand out and make it work, like Wiccan talking about a geeky pleasure of his, or Patriot and Hawkeye’s discussion of how to get out of a particularly nasty situation. They feel like they’re organic, living characters again, and it’s a nice reading experience.
Mahmud A. Asrar provides the art for the one-shot, and he’s an artist that I think has continued to improve since Marvel scooped him up. I like the rounded forms of his characters; they’re looking well-proportioned and instantly recognizable. He’s getting quite good at faces these days; if you re-colored Hulkling’s hair and skin tone, you’d still know in an instant who he was, for example. Likewise, Asrar makes sure to differentiate the way that Hawkeye holds her facial expressions, from the tough girl pose when she’s trying to take control of a situation, to an unguarded and softer look as she wakes up from being knocked out.
If there was ever any doubt in my mind that McKeever’s troubled run on “Teen Titans” was atypical of his normal writing style, “Siege: Young Avengers” has dashed it to the side. If “Young Avengers” ever needs a completely new creative team, I hope McKeever has just made his way onto the short list. If this was an audition piece, I’d say he passed with flying colors.