Ever since their creation in 2005 by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, the Young Avengers have become one of the most popular teams in the Marvel Universe. Originally consisting of Iron Lad, Patriot, Hawkeye, Stature, Wiccan, Hulkling, Speed, and Vision, this group of young superheroes came together to fill in for the heroes they long admired and aspired to be when they were temporarily disassembled. However, after the events of the mini-series ‘Avengers: The Children’s Crusade’ where Cassie Lang and Jonas were killed in battle and Eli Bradley hung up his uniform, the team disbanded and tried to go back to normal teenaged lives. Now, a new incarnation of the team is forming under the guidance of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie as part of Marvel NOW in the highly anticipated ‘Young Avengers’ #1.
In the first issue, we catch up with the various members of the old team to see what they’ve been getting into since the last time we saw them. The first Young Avenger we see is Kate Bishop, who we’ve recently been seeing much more of in Matt Fraction’s amazing ‘Hawkeye’ series. After what was assumingly a night of fun, she wakes up in the room of Noh-Varr, the Kree warrior and Avenger once known as The Protector, which happens to be orbiting the Earth. With a view like that, how could this just be a one night stand, right? Then, back in New York, we learn that Teddy Altman has been sneaking out as Hulkling to be heroic since the team disbanded, much to the dismay of his boyfriend, Billy Kaplan, the hero formerly known as Wiccan, who he happens to live with at the Kaplan residence. In addition to the three veteran members, we catch up with Kid Loki and Miss America after the events of ‘Marvel NOW Point One’ where the two first met and caused a bit of trouble.
After my initial read, I enjoyed it a bunch, especially as a fan of the original that followed the team through all the various mini-series titles that they’ve starred in. Gillen’s stories tend to have a slow burn, so we’re gradually building towards the team forming. Because of that inclination, I found that ‘Young Avengers’ didn’t follow other team books in that they didn’t just throw their team together and get right into a mission, like ‘Thunderbolts’ did. That book seems more about the mission that the team is on whereas this book is more about the characters. Rather than one person bringing the team together, this team appears to be coming together more organically, and I really like that about it. It’s hard to care about the team when you don’t care about the members first, and Gillen is making us care about his cast.
Another thing that I noticed right away and liked a whole lot was the montage splash pages. The first time it happens with Hawkeye and Marvel Boy was a pleasant surprise when I turned the page. It upped the pace of events, it fit a lot of action into two pages, and it was something new and interesting. Like ‘Avengers’ and ‘New Avengers’, ‘Young Avengers’ seems to be following suit with the extremely well designed and aesthetically pleasing graphical elements.
The art by McKelvie, Mike Norton, and Matthew Wilson is pretty good as well. Whereas Jim Cheung went for a younger look in his initial run, the team has clearly grown up a bit since then and that’s reflective in the artwork. I like the way how the colors pop, too. Major props to Wilson for his coloring, especially on the cover.
And speaking of covers, I absolutely had to get the Bryan Lee O’Malley variant cover that was released. I’m a huge Scott Pilgrim fan, so I didn’t mind one bit when I had to check three different stores just to get one.
Finally, I love that Gillen included what song Noh-Varr was playing for Kate in the credits page. I made sure to listen to ‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes while I was reading the issue. It’s super interesting to me when music ties in to comics and books.
When talking to some friends about the book, they were complaining about it being too teen drama-esque, but that’s what I like about it. The Marvel Universe doesn’t have a book like this in their line. And it’s not even like ABC Family or CW teen drama. It’s a GOOD teen drama. Now that Spider-Man has grown up, the Young Avengers are a great way to speak to the younger comic book reading audience about growing up. Sure, the readers don’t have to worry about saving the world bit, but it’s still fun to read about.
I was definitely not disappointed when I came to the end of the issue. If there’s anything that I’m disappointed about it’s that I have to wait a whole month until the next one. I love a good teen hero book, and I get the vibe from the first issue that this will be a good one.
YOUNG AVENGERS #1
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton, & Matthew Wilson