I’ve had my copy of “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade” for almost a year now, but it was only until recently that I finally started reading it, mostly spurred on by the release of Kieron Gillen and James Mckelvie’s take on the teenage superheroes.
As I clearly spelled out in my review of the Young Avengers Ultimate Collection, I loved how Heinberg and Cheung took on these superpowered teens. I loved the art, I loved the characterization, and I loved how everything about it still felt so fresh even if it’s been more than half a decade since it was published.
I personally went into “The Children’s Crusade” with quite a bit of expectation, as I knew about bits and pieces of it, thanks to Tumblr. I knew that it would feature multiple superpowered teams, from the Avengers to the X-Men, and I knew that there would be a Wiccan/Hulkling kiss somewhere in there. But were those expectations met? Or is “The Children’s Crusade” a bit of a let-down?
Although it may not look like it from most of the books that end up being reviewed on this blog, I was very much a comic book kid. I had my own comic book childhood — cut tragically short by my father — and have just recently tried to rekindle that old love once again.
One great thing about getting back into comics at this point in time is the fact that there are a bit more characters that I can relate to among the current (Marvel) line-up. If my young gay self only had fierce goddesses like Storm and Phoenix to worship back in the day, there’s a slightly longer list of superheroes that are much more relatable to a gay man such as myself.
There’s Northstar, who’s the first openly gay superhero in American comic books and apparently set to become the first to enter into a gay marriage in the upcoming Astonishing X-Men #51.
There’s Rictor and Shatterstar, who shared the first ever same-sex kiss in a mainstream Marvel title, and whose subtext runs for as long as 20 years. I’d buy X-Force, but I don’t think I can (literally) afford to wade through all of that.
And let’s not forget the fact that most people with brains generally consider the mutants of the Marval universe as a metaphor for how the LGBT community is discriminated against in the real world.
It’s for all of those reasons — as well as the constant squeeing of Wiccan and Hulkling fans — that I happily picked up a copy of the Young Avengers Ultimate Collection. Will the buzz around this title be justified? Or will it just be a big disappointment?