Comics

Full of Energy – Young Allies (2010)

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Young Allies is a title that proves no matter how good a book is or how well the story and artwork might be, not every book is guaranteed to stick around.  It has happened many a time over with books like Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy to the recent reboots of the Defenders and Morbius.  Unless you find an audience, your book is sure to join the ranks of the cancelled.  One thing this title did have in spades was potential.  True, most books and things in life hold potential, but it is not always tangible.  In this title you could see it on every page and read it in every word.  What Sean McKeever and David Baldeon did was take some of Marvel’s teenaged heroes that had no title or did not belong to any team and threw them together into a situation that would require them to work alongside one another to defeat a threat that no one of them could do alone.

Consisting of Rikki Barnes, the new Nomad, Spider-Girl, Firestar, Gravity and newcomer Toro, they would come together and face the monumental threat of the Bastards of Evil.  These Bastards of Evil would not only be a formidable team of villains, but they would also have one of the coolest team names of all time.  Unlike our team of mostly never heroes, the Bastards are purportedly legacies of already established villains.  True, their parents are not best villains to have ever made the rounds, but it just adds to their reputation because they have more to prove than others.

Separately, all of our heroes with the exception of Toro, have had solo books at one time or another and again, separately have had them all cancelled.  With this title, they also had the misfortune of this being done to them together.  It is a shame too, as McKeever’s writing is exceptionally strong.  It is hard to write a book about younger characters; especially a group of them but McKeever seems to understand them and writes them so well that it grips you from start to finish.  Not every author can do that and the fact that he can, speaks volumes.  Recent efforts such as DC’s Teen Titans relaunch have been okay, but they do not have that magic spark that for a younger reader, let’s them identify with our heroes or for an older one, takes you back to that age.  This book accomplishes that.  Except for the superpowers of course.

If there was one character that stood out from the rest, it would have to go to Firestar, just barely squeezing out the rest.  With the exception of having superpowers, she tends to lead a life that most teenagers and young twenty-something’s do, including all of the stress that goes with it.  It is also interesting to see how she is now after her stints in the New Warriors and the Avengers and then being out of the spotlight for so long.  What is also a distinguishing addition to her character is the advancement of her powers and the effect they have had on her, namely contracting cancer.  The book tackles the subject head on, but is not a pity party in the slightest as she lives her life to the fullest and takes the disease head-on with nothing getting in her way.

Spider-Girl, the former Arana, is always fun and it was nice to see her on the printed page again.  Gravity, who is a young hero coming into his own, deserves to have a book of his own again as he is a very likeable character and could give Kirkman’s Invincible a run for his money if done right.  Toro is an intriguing person with a fascinating background of hardship not seen too often in comics and with very little known about him other than that, it would be nice to see him make a reappearance somewhere – Mighty Avengers perhaps?  Sadly, this series took the place of the recently departed Nomad title by the same creative team, but luckily enough it still featured our favourite ‘Girl Without a World.’

The other half of the team that complements McKeever’s writing is David Baldeon who provided the excellent artwork.  While his pencils look much the same as they did on Nomad, they look to be just a little more polished with a little touch of anime flair to them.  It runs between that appeal to those who like the incredibly detailed and modern look and those that like the clean and simple, uncluttered page that has been gaining traction of late.  His figure-work is fantastic and everything is vibrant, energetic and dynamic to say the least.  If there was an artist born to draw a team book, it would be David Baldeon.

So our first and only volume of Young Allies ends with them obviously defeating the bad guys and while it was an amazing read, it is sad as well.  It is hard to quantify why readers are afraid to try something new or why they will support one book over another.  This book had everything going for it, from a top notch creative team to interesting heroes and even more intriguing villains.  Though it is a shame that this book did not last, it is worth seeking out should you get the chance to do so, more than likely in the bargain bins of your local comic store.

4 out of 5

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