Review: This issue kicks off with Dr. Doom attacking Wiccan, who had finally found his mother, the amnesiac Wanda Maximoff. It was revealed last issue that Wanda was the fiancée of Doom, which needless to say raised all sorts of warning bells in Wiccan's head. The confrontation isn't so much a battle as it is a one-sided beating, as a fifteen year old junior mage is no match for DOOM, and Doom blasts Wiccan into unconsciousness in front of a shocked and confused Wanda. Wanda asks for an explanation, and Doom tells her that he has many enemies, and that it would make sense that they would try to strike at him through his future bride. Wanda seems to accept that story... For now. Meanwhile, Magneto, Quicksilver and the rest of the Young Avengers decide that the only way to rescue Wiccan and Wanda from Castle Doom is for Magneto to stage an invasion while the rest of the heroes sneak in to the castle in the confusion. Wonder Man is also making his way to Latveria, since he still has a slight connection to Wanda from the time she returned him to life, and he is being not-so-secretly followed by the Avengers, who also want to get Wanda away from Doom. Back in the castle, Doom heals Wiccan's wounds with magic and tries to convince the boy that he isn't looking to use Wanda, but is actually in love with her. Doom also invites Wiccan to attend the wedding and remain in Latveria forever. Wiccan is obviously dubious of Doom's words and says as much, at which time Doom reveals that while Wiccan was unconscious he took away the young mage's powers, and that Wiccan would either be a guest in Latveria, or a prisoner of Doom. Back outside, Magneto begins his assault on Latveria, while Quicksilver and the Young Avengers move towards Castle Doom. Unfortunately for them, the Avengers have landed and are standing in between Quicksilver, the kids and the castle. Back with Wiccan, Wanda enters his room and asks him to explain who this Scarlet Witch that he mentioned earlier was, a request Wiccan agrees to, provided Wanda helps him escape the castle. While traveling through the catacombs of Castle Doom, Wiccan tells Wanda all about her past as an Avenger, all the way up to the time she went crazy and decimated the team. From there he begins to tell her who he was to her, but is interrupted by the massive battle occurring outside the castle involving his teammates, Magneto, the Avengers and the forces of Doom. Wolverine makes a beeline for Wanda and tackles her, preparing to kill her for what she did to the mutant race after the House of M. Wiccan tackles Wolverine(?!)and tells him that Wanda had no memories of her former life, nor access to her powers, meaning there was no reason to kill her. Wolverine digresses and moves in for the kill, but is put down by a blast from Iron Lad(!!!), who tells Wiccan that he had arrived to protect Wiccan, with the good of the future hanging in the balance, ending this issue.
Thoughts: Sheesh, how many superlatives can I use to describe this series? Once again, it showed why it was my mini-series of the year last year, and why it WILL be my mini-series of the year THIS year as well. The story is insanely strong, the art is magnificent, the dialogue is spot on, and all of the characterizations are absolutely perfect. The appearance of Iron Lad was as unexpected as it was welcome, as I've missed the teenage Kang since he left during the first Young Avengers series. The only thing that kept this issue from a third straight perfect score was the rather long explanation to Wanda from Wiccan as to who she used to be. For a new fan of the series/characters, the explanation was obviously needed, but for somebody like me, who eats, sleeps and breathes Avengers history, it was a waste of space. Besides that scene, everything else was perfect. I loved the conversation between Wiccan and Doom, as Doom tried to convince Wiccan that they were actually alike, Magneto's banter with the Young Avengers(particularly Patriot)continues to delight me, and the action scene wasn't just tacked on, it led to the long awaited Wolverine/Wanda confrontation, which saw Wolvie nearly pop his claws through her skull. Great, great, GREAT stuff! I can't wait for issue #5!
Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.What a silver-tongued devil that Dr. Doom is!