By Jim Beard
Our future rests with the children—it's a belief that's been a comfort through the years but whoever dreamed it up never could've conceived of what the Dark Reign would bring. Now, even the children instill fear.
Writer Paul Cornell's DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS #1, out May 13, brings change like never before as a new team of Young Avengers muscles its way into the former's limelight and shatters any remaining hope for old-fashioned heroes.
"We meet a team calling themselves the Young Avengers, who've just taken the name without asking, and see how they're trying, in their various rough ways, to be super heroes, or not," Cornell notes. "They're a bunch of street kids, each with their own reasons for being in a team, with a whole range of motivations and aims ranging from just about all right to lousy. We're asking
Preview art by
questions like, can the nature of your super power, on its own, define how ethical you are? Can you fight the bad guys for the wrong reasons? And how much does any of this matter, anymore?"
The original Young Avengers came together in the wake of Earth's Mightiest Heroes disassembling, seeking to fill their roles in whatever way they could. The new team not only desires to make their own way but kick off under the shadow of someone who may or may not have their best interests at heart.
"They're called teenage rebels in [quotation] marks," says Cornell. "That's how they think
of themselves, sometimes, when they need a reason for why the world seems tough on them. They have a link to Norman Osborn in the form of the artist called Coat of Arms, who's a huge fan of the Green Goblin, met Norman once, and was inspired by him. The nature of that relationship may change as time goes on."
These Young Avengers carry names both classic and creative: The Melter, The Executioner, The Enchantress, Egghead, Big Zero and the aforementioned Coat of Arms. One might wonder at the circumstances that brought them to monikers that echo well-established villains of the Marvel Universe.
"They're a range of personalities and powers that define a very grey area group indeed," Cornell explains. "Just a bunch of people with powers, drawn together, wondering where they might fit in with the new status quo, and finding no answers at all, until the [original]
Preview art by
Young Avengers come along and try to impose some, some which don't initially seem to make much sense to them.
"Patriot is horrified at the name being taken in vain, but it's pointed out to him that that's exactly how the original Avengers reacted to his team. So he wants to make these kids try out for that team, to see if they're good enough. But why should they even do that? There just aren't rules about this stuff any more."
In all, readers of DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS #1 may expect a rollicking good yarn with a group of young people who reflect the dark times the Marvel Universe labors under, but perhaps will shine in their own unique manner.
"This is a very dark series, that looks long and hard at the foundations of ethics and powers in the Marvel universe, and asks about why anyone should be a hero or a villain," says Cornell. "It's lit by the brightness of the young heroes themselves. It turns out they were very good when they took this on, and never really knew that about themselves, except now they have some terrifying analogues to compare themselves to."
Meet the faces of the future with DARK REIGN: YOUNG AVENGERS #1 on May 13. And read the original YOUNG AVENGERS series on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!
Download episodes of X-Men: Evolution now on iTunes!