Young Avengers: Sidekicks

Why yes, I have been living under a rock, thank you for asking. The release of "Mighty Avengers" -- with the inclusion of Stature on the team -- made for the perfect opportunity to take a look at the "Young Avengers." While I did not purchase the series when it was originally being released, I did discover the collected editions. This one collects the first six issues of the original twelve-issue jaunt.

As a fan of the Avengers legend, I was pleased to this book include the living legend, Captain America (still living and still Steve Rogers) and Iron Man. The book does a good job of presenting only the facts and the history necessary to enjoy it. It does not get hung up on itself, nor does it let the Avengers brand bog it down.

Heinberg masterfully introduces a quartet of heroes and adds in some others to season this team into a compilation that finds connections to previous Avengers incarnations. The balance of new characters with characters that have a history in the Avengers lore works remarkably well and provides a strong read even three years after its original release.

Cheung's artwork is virtually timeless. His style is reminiscent of Jim Lee, but tempered by a more Carlos Pacheco-like sense of line quality. His characters all carry a strong individuality to them, recognizable with our without costume. Cheung's backgrounds are detailed and realistic, but remain grounded in comic book approachability.

This book impressed me a great degree. The interplay between the teens, even the pseudo-stereotypical teen interaction, is entertaining and ideal for comic book adventures. In the course of the six issues captured here, the characters grow into their roles and the team lives up to the legacy established under the battle cry of "Avengers Assemble!" With tax refunds coming around, do yourself a favor and put $15 aside to track down this paperback. It holds up well and offers a playful exuberance that was not present in the Avengers camp at the time the original stories were told.

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