By Tim Stevens
With H.A.M.M.E.R. up and running and his own team of Avengers being given a hero's welcome, Norman Osborn has come to believe there's nothing he cannot command, no one's life he cannot mold.
The Young Avengers find out in the limited series DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS, written by Paul Cornell and drawn by Mark Brooks, just how right he may be. The question of how much he can truly control provides the catalyst for the series.
"They're suspicious of Osborn, but they don't really know the details," states Cornell of the Avengers' young protégés. "They're about to become dragged down into them, and find out more about who they are and what they stand for as a result.
"This is a ride through funhouse mirrors for them, as they encounter a new team of Young Avengers. [Patriot is] very certain that the name belongs to them, but the others aren't so sure. And how can anyone decide on that sort of stuff, anyway?"
These new Young Avengers represent a cracked mirror version of the team just as the "Dark" Avengers warp the whole Avengers tradition.
As Cornell puts it, "They hang out at their invisible mansion in Central Park and 'fight crime'. Or fight crime. Depending on who you ask."
From Cornell, the pretender Young Avengers lineup consists of…
"A kid who can melt anything with a gesture, the leader of the team but is very unsure of himself and his powers."
"His girlfriend, sort of, who claims she's from Asgard but who can't handle Asgardian speech patterns and is frighteningly offhand with her magic."
"An urban vigilante who kills the scum of the streets, exactly, exactly, exactly like the Punisher."
"A white power skinhead girl who can grow to giant size or shrink to microscopic and is raising an army in the Microverse to topple the federal government."
Coat of Arms:
"A cutting edge artist with a surreal coat who put the team together to participate in 'scenes' like foiling a bank raid of battling another hero team."
"Their cracked android, who wants to examine the human condition intimately, with livers in his hands, and shares Big Zero's mattress."
The man bringing these poseur heroes to four color life will be artist Mark Brooks. This limited series represents a reunion for its creators, as worked together on YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS #4: THE VISION in April of last year. For both of them, it has proven a happy team-up.
"Paul is an amazing writer and really knows how to get the visuals across in his script," says Brooks. "It's rare that an entire issue is effortless in visualizing each panel before it's drawn but Paul seems to be able to do with every page. I might be spoiled after this."
"I said onstage at [a convention] Dublin that I really wanted to work with [Mark Brooks] again," remarks Cornell. "There's something about his work that's very satisfying to the eye, a touch of the Buscemas there, and I can think of no higher praise."
preview art by
Along with Cornell and Brooks reuniting, so too do the Young Avengers.
"The team is whole again," Cornell confirms, "Working together against the Skrulls and the new atmosphere under Osborn [has] made that the natural order of things. These guys always wanted to be friends."
"I love stories that focus [on] a few select characters out of a larger group because it allows the reader to see a little deeper into the psyche and learn things they might not have known before," Brooks admits, "Still though, drawing a large cast always keeps things interesting. Just when you get bored drawing 'character X,' the scene changes and you have a whole new group to focus on. Variety is the spice of life and this book is no exception."
While both creators thrill to having a chance to work with the Young Avengers again, the tone of the book will fit in with the impending sense of dread that "Dark Reign" has brought to the Marvel Universe.
"This is hopefully a very dark, troubling series, illuminated by the light of the [Young Avengers] themselves," Cornell comments.
Still, amongst the darkness readers should find moments of undeniable dark comedy to sink their teeth into. Or, as Brooks puts it:
"Promiscuous gods, heavily armed vigilantes, fee fi fo fum, and the melting elderly. Where do I start!?"
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