Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 (Marvel Worldwide)
by Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, John Livesay & Dave Meikis
Heinberg’s plot threatens to collapse under the weight of all of the Marvel continuity that’s such an integral part of the story. It’s as though he looked to some of the most convoluted stories in Marvel’s recent and not-so-recent history and decided to take care of loose threads and unanswered questions. Not only is there an overwhelming amount of continuity to wade through in the exposition-heavy script, but Heinberg has populated the story with crowds of characters. It seems that just about every Marvel hero but the Fantastic Four turns up in this story (of course, the FF’s archenemy has served as the antagonist for the previous couple of issues). At first glance, I would be loath to recommend this comic book to anyone but the most devoted of Marvel zombies, but I have to admit, seeing all of these colorful characters together was a lot of fun. Heinberg manages to include some moments of humanity in between all the continuity references, and while he’s included a lot of Marvel’s history here, he does explain it fairly well in the script. I was reminded of the DC titles of the 1970s and ’80s I read as a kid that sent me scrambling to learn more about the characters and events to which they referred.
Jim Cheung’s art throughout this series has been absolutely lovely, and the strongest visual he’s offered is his depiction of the Scarlet Witch. He brings such a softness, beauty and kindness to the character that one can’t help but be drawn to her. And liking Wanda adds to the story, as the central plot point now is whether she should be allowed to live just when she’s regained a sense of herself and a sense of happiness. There are times when his linework here reminds me of Oliver (The Mighty Thor) Coipel’s work. Ultimately, though, Cheung boasts a distinct, attractive, clean style, and that it stands out as unique and recognizable is one of the things I like about it. I was also pleased to find that the participation of three inkers for this issue doesn’t lead to any kind of inconsistencies in the visual style of the storytelling. 7/10