NYCC '09 - Paul Cornell on Dark Reign: Young Avengers

The Young Avengers are not sitting down in this new Marvel era of Dark Reign -- they're heroes, and when a corrupt villain such as Norman Osborn is heading up the U.S. government's forces… well, they've got something to say. Just announced in a panel at New York Comicon, Writer Paul Cornell (Captain Britain & MI: 13) and artist Mark Brooks (Ultimate X-Men) are helming the upcoming miniseries Dark Reign: Young Avengers. In it, the original Young Avengers come across news of another group of heroes taking their name – and they want it back.

The Young Avengers first debuted back in 2005 in their own ongoing series by writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung. In it, the team was established as a group of young superheroes that each have modeled themselves after heroes from Marvel's flagship superhero team, the Avengers. Although that series was cut short due to Heinberg's work in the television industry, the characters have lived on in several miniseries and guest appearances in other books. Heinberg continues to play a role in the planning of their stories as he looks to return to the characters someday, but the characters have gone on to play a role in the ever-changing Marvel Universe.

For the Dark Reign: Young Avengers miniseries it's a reunion of sorts, as the creators did an issue of Young Avengers Presents back in 2008. For more, we talked with writer Paul Cornell.

Newsarama: Thanks for talking to us, Paul. This miniseries is a creative continuation of sorts, as you and artist Mark Brooks worked on these characters before in Young Avengers Presents #4 back in early 2008. Since you've had some time with the characters, what are your thoughts on the make-up of the team?

Paul Cornell: I'm very glad to be working with Mark again on this series. I really loved what he did on Young Avengers Presents. And his designs for the new characters this time round are his usual mixture of intelligence, style and action.

As far as the team goes, my wife tolerates my love for Hawkeye. This Hawkeye. Or any Hawkeye, really. She's going to be my voice of reason this time round, which is kind of her function on the team when Hulkling isn't doing it. I do like her and Patriot, Hulkling and Wiccan, as couples. I like the awkwardness between Stature and the Vision, which I'm kind of responsible for keeping going. (All this being to Allen's plan. I'm happy to play new tunes with his band, and will be consulting with him as we go.) I like how these kids are just trying to get by and do their best, but their best turns out to be pretty good, noble in that idealistic teen way, and this series will demonstrate that by showing them a darker mirror of themselves.

NRAMA: This book takes place in the newly minted "Dark Reign" era of the Marvel U. How does the Young Avengers fit into that?

PC: This is about what happens when a bunch of kids follow Osborn's lead, decide the world is hard and needs hard heroes. There's a sense of 'anything is permitted', a lacuna where the Registration Act has been left fallow. Nobody quite knows where they are, and so there's suddenly a new group of 'Young Avengers' in New York.

The 'Young Masters'

NRAMA: And what are the kids up against in this miniseries?

PC: The 'Young Avengers'!

That is, the Melter (who's got the vaguely useless organic power to melt anything, and is trying to figure out a way to make it work for him, while trying to stay in charge of the group, and in issue one stumbles into doing something hideous); the Enchantress (his sometime girlfriend, who insists she's from Asgard, but can't quite get the speech habits right, and is dangerously random); the Executioner (an organised and ruthless urban vigilante, who kills criminal scum, and what's the difference between him and the Punisher, exactly? No, go on, what?); Big Zero (who can grow to giant size, or shrink to microscopic, she's a white power skinhead who's organising a rebellion against the US Federal government from the Microverse); Coat of Arms (an accomplished artist whose subject is super heroes, she put the Melter in charge, and organises the team into 'scenes' like foiling a bank raid or fighting another super hero team) and Egghead (their terrifyingly cracked android).

These are teen heroes on the run from the establishment, trying to get by, based in their invisible mansion in Central Park. Eli absolutely hates that they've taken the YA name, and feels kind of hypocritical about that at the same time. So he's going to give this worrying mixture of error, bigotry and hope a chance. But this really isn't going to go well.

For more on Dark Reign: Young Avengers and all things Dark Reign, stay tuned to

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