Better than the entire run of AvX.
I hate AvX, every single thing about it...well, maybe not every single thing. Skottie Young's Midtown Variant Cover feature the long forgotten Marvel Babies characters was nothing short of beautiful. I was lucky to be in New York the week it was released, and therefore get my hands on it. Despite how terrible the interior of that issue was, the cover is so good that the AvX #1 variant edition is one of my most prized comics. Apparently I wasn't the only one who was impressed, that single lowly retailer exclusive cover has spawned a Marvel Babies variant cover for each of the Marvel Now #1's and now, their own story driven one-shot!
When was the last time you read a story based on a cover image that was actually good? Probably never. So despite my enthusiasm for Skottie Young and his Marvel Babies, I was someone gun shy on what this issue would be like. The story here is nothing special. When you have a book about super powered babies fighting each other in the streets, you don't expect too much anyway. Even with its simple premise, the book's story flows well, and ends up making for a more interesting than AvX could in its 12 issues.
While the conflict is one-sided (and we all thought that 616 Cyclops was bad!) without any compelling character motivation, the dialogue is funny and keeps the story flowing well. The conflict begins when Cyclops steals Captain America's Bucky teddy bear; that is the kind of good intentioned family friendly humor you can expect for this book. It's not sharp satire or anything but why would you expect that from this book? In addition to the adorable verbal humor almost every page is laden with great visual gags (SPOILER: Thor rides Beta Ray Bill like a horse) which will please long time Marvel readers.
Before reading this issue, I was upset that Skottie Young would only be writing the issue and not drawing the issue himself. But when I actually opened up the first page I could barely tell the difference between Young's babies and Gurihiru's work. In fact, had I not read the credits page, I probably would have just assumed that Young was responsible for the interior art. It is clear that Gurihiru spent a lot of time studying Young's character designs and keeping them as accurate as possible. Its a thankless job sacrificing your own artistic originality in order to maintain another artist's unique style, but I for one really appreciate it.
I also want to give Marvel a lot of credit for keeping this comic economical. Almost all one-shots these days cost $3.99, especially high profile ones. For that price this still would have been a totally worth the money five star book for me. The fact that they only charged me $2.99 for all of this enjoyment? I could not be more ecstatic.
This is not going to be a book for everyone. If you are a snob for deep stories or only like comics with excessive blood and gore, you probably won't be overwhelmed with passion for this book. But for those looking for a light, cute story filled with great Marvel gags, I doubt you could find a better use of $2.99.