The New Young Avengers

Allan Heinberg preps for the return of Iron Lad in Avengers: The Children’s Crusade – Young Avengers

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AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE - YOUNG AVENGERS cover by Alan Davis

By Ben Morse

To say there have been surprises thus far in AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE would be an understatement.

In support of their teammate, Wiccan, the Young Avengers have turned their backs on their mentors and joined up with the dubious Magneto. The Scarlet Witch has returned, amnesiac and engaged to be married—to Doctor Doom! But perhaps the biggest shocker of all occurred at the end of issue #4 when the time-lost Iron Lad, a young possible incarnation of Kang the Conqueror and the founder of the Young Avengers, made a dramatic reappearance.

However, the struggle for The Scarlet Witch takes a quick hiatus in March, when Iron Lad takes the spotlight in AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE – YOUNG AVENGERS, written by Allan Heinberg with art by the legendary Alan Davis.

“[The one-shot] allows us to catch up with Iron Lad for the first time since [the original] YOUNG AVENGERS [series],” shares Heinberg. “In it, we reveal exactly what [he] has been doing all this time and what leads him to show up at the end of AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #4. But the special can also be read as a self-contained Iron Lad story, which flashes back to the Young Avengers’ very first adventure—which involves the Sinister Six—before the events of YOUNG AVENGERS #1.”

THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE – YOUNG AVENGERS will not only examine the titular heroes’ past, it also peers into a possible future where the team has traveled an altered path due to the consequences of unrevealed events.

“The characters are still the people you remember, but growing up in the midst of so much conflict has had a considerable effect on all of them,” Heinberg hints. “They’re far less innocent than they were as Young Avengers, but they’re still every bit as committed to the Avengers’ core values as they were before. However, since the leader of the Avengers is now Kang the Conqueror—the grown-up Iron Lad—the team dynamic is very different. And, as a result, the team’s romantic triangles have played themselves out differently as well.

AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE - YOUNG AVENGERS preview art by Alan Davis

“I loved imagining the grown-up version of all these characters. Teddy [aka Hulkling] as Captain Marvel was especially intriguing to me. I’m eager to spend more time exploring these characters—particularly The Falcon and Bucky.”

Other character aside, Iron Lad remains the fulcrum of this particular story, as does his ascension to the role of Kang, a fate he railed against but seems to have accepted in some form.

“I completely relate to Iron Lad’s struggle to become his best self, but Kang makes a valid point about self-hatred when he tells him that the harder he fights against his true nature, the more he will become the thing he despises,” says Heinberg of the quandary surrounding the young Nathanial Richards’ aversion to becoming one of the Avengers’ greatest foes. “In the end, if Iron Lad does become Kang the Conqueror, it won’t be because of ‘destiny,’ it will be because of his own self-loathing.”

At the conclusion of the Young Avengers’ initial adventure as a team, Iron Lad sacrificed his independence and returned to the future in order to prevent the collapse of time itself. In doing so, he left behind a fledgling romance with Cassie Lang that reasserted itself when the young Vision, possessing part of Nate’s personality, expressed his feelings. Expect this bizarre situation to get more complex with all three players in the romantic drama now sharing close space.

“Iron Lad’s mastery of the timestream will allow for him to rejoin the Young Avengers, which will create a great deal of confusion for Cassie and jealousy for The Vision,” Heinberg reveals. “It will also test the strength of Iron Lad’s character.”

Such a special chapter in Young Avengers lore required a superlative art team, which CHILDREN’S CRUSADE – YOUNG AVENGERS fortunately managed to acquire in Alan Davis along with inker Mark Farmer and colorist Javier Rodriguez.

AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE - YOUNG AVENGERS preview art by Alan Davis

“Working with Alan Davis was a dream come true for me,” confesses Heinberg. “I’ve been a fan of his—and Mark Farmer’s—work for as long as I’ve been reading comics, and I can’t thank them enough for their spectacular work on this project. Alan was very gracious about my overly-detailed script and the small mountain of reference materials I sent along with it. His pages are every bit as dynamic and gloriously super-heroic as you’d hope they would be, but [the focus is] always solidly on the characters and their emotional arcs. I can’t say enough about how much I love what Alan, Mark and Javier have done with this book.”

When the regular AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE series returns with issue #5 in April, neither the characters or readers will have a moment to catch their breath as Heinberg has much in store for the sprawling cast and growing stakes:

“AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #5 is an extremely eventful, very fast-paced issue. Jim Cheung’s pages are breathtaking; it may be his finest issue yet. We’ll see the effect Iron Lad’s sudden reappearance has on the Young Avengers. And when Iron Lad takes the Scarlet Witch War into the timestream, his actions have dire and lasting consequences for the entire Marvel Universe. I’m excited for people to read it.

AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE – YOUNG AVENGERS touches down on March 2. AVENGERS: THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE #5 follows on April 6.

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Borisitooo
Borisitooo

What happenes to Wiccan and his relationship to Hulkling now Captain Mar-Vell?