The Young Avengers began their journey to search for the Scarlett Witch back in July of 2010. Finally, after several setbacks and delays, the final issue hit the stands this past Wednesday. As a fan of both The Avengers and The Young Avengers, I’ve been anxiously waiting for this book for a very long time.

First of all, before I started issue 9, I reread issue 8 just to reacquaint myself with what was going on. In case you forgot as well, at the end of ‘Children’s Crusade’ #8, The Avengers, The X-men, X-factor, and The Young Avengers were locked in battle with an all-powerful version of Doctor Doom, who had acquired the Scarlett Witch’s powers. After Doom seemingly killed Ant-man, Scott Lang, his daughter, Stature, bravely charged at Doom, saving the day, but sacrificing her own life in the process.

[Spoilers Ahead!!!!]

Now that we’re all caught up and teary-eyed, this issue opens with the fallout from that battle with Doom. Iron Lad wants to bring Cassie into the timeline and find a doctor to revive her, but Vision, who, if you’ve forgotten, was implanted with Iron Lad’s memories when he was built, objects to Iron Lad’s idea. The disagreement leads to a fight between Iron Lad and Vision, which results in the death of The Vision and the departure of Iron Lad. Before he disappears back into the time stream, Wiccan reminds Iron Lad that this is the moment where he becomes Kang the Conqueror, to which Iron Lad says, “You underestimate me, Billy. I’m going to be better than Kang the Conqueror.” This was a very powerful moment for me. I anticipate that Iron Lad will return again, but this time as a foe to the Young Avengers.

Speaking of the team, will there even be a Young Avengers for Iron Lad to fight? Later on in the book, Patriot decides to retire his mantle and move to Scottsdale, AZ with his mother. One by one, each Young Avenger declares retirement, very much against the wishes of Speed, who wants to keep fighting the good fight.

Many months pass as the events of Spider Island, Schism, and the Human Torch’s revival unfold before the eyes of the inactive members of the team. The panels focus on Billy, who is still extremely depressed after the events of the disbanding of the Young Avengers. In an effort to comfort his boyfriend, Teddy “proposes” to Billy, and they kiss to celebrate. However, their moment is short-lived when Ms. Marvel interrupts them, instructing them to accompany her to the Avengers Mansion in uniform.

Greeted by Captain America, Iron Man, and the rest of the team, the four remaining members of the Young Avengers, Wiccan, Hulkling, Speed, and Hawkeye, are shown a memorial statue of their fallen comrades and are made official, full-fledged Avengers.

As a whole, ‘The Children’s Crusade’ has been a great series to follow. I love the Young Avengers, and they barely ever get the spotlight. In this story, they were thrust to the forefront and were shown to be just as good as their adult counterparts, considering that they found the Scarlett Witch, defeated Doctor Doom, and kept The Avengers and The X-men from killing each other. This issue leaves me saddened by the deaths of two of the members and the deactivation of Patriot. Now that the team is much smaller, it contains a much different dynamic than before. I’m curious to see where they will fit in the Marvel Universe after these events, and if they will continue to operate as The Young Avengers or if they just show up on the regular Avengers teams from here on out. Even more so, I’m curious to see where these events will fit into the upcoming ‘Avengers Vs X-men’ event. This series, along with a lot of other things, laid the groundwork for a battle between the two teams. Without the Young Avengers to keep them civil, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

As for the artwork, Jim Cheung is one of my favorite active artists. I love the look that he gives to his books. His name appearing on a cover gets me interested, and if it’s a hero’s book that I already like, then I don’t care if the story sucks or not, I’m buying it. And then maybe I’m buying a poster of the cover. Luckily, the awesome art of Cheung was complimented with a pretty good story that I’d definitely recommend to people.

Verdict: Buy all of them, and then buy the trade for good measure.