A fan site for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game by Margaret Weis Productions
You Need To Read This is a column where writers of Marvel Plot Points wax poetic about their favorite Marvel series and storylines.
STYLE > SUBSTANCE.
That’s what Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, the team behind the popular Phonogram series back in the mid- to late-2000s, call the first issue of their current run on Young Avengers. And while it’s stylish – VERY stylish – it’s a well-written book that I think everyone should pick up.
Taking the reins in a follow-up to Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s popular series is no mean feat, and Gillen and McKelvie knew it going in. But it seems to me that instead of trying to replicate the success of the older book, they’ve brought in their own style and, over course of their series, told a different kind of story. Instead of centering on the younger teenage years and attempts to be like your role models, Gillen has written a story about the later teenage attempts to just be yourself (whatever that means).
In the time since we last saw the Young Avengers, there’ve been a lot of changes to the team. Some have left or moved on (notably Patriot/Eli and Speed/Tommy), Hulkling/Teddy has moved in with boyfriend Wiccan/Billy and family, and Kate has been, well, hanging out with fellow Hawkeye Clint Barton over in Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye ongoing (another one of my favorites). But trouble is brewing, and the new kid-sized Loki seems to be bringing a new team together. When one of Wiccan’s spells goes wrong and, well, brings a parent-controlling, inter-dimensional parasite called Mother to Earth-616, somebody has to stop it. Cue the new Young Avengers lineup: Wiccan, Hulkling, Hawkeye, Kid Loki, and our two new faces, Marvel Boy/Noh-Varr and Miss America Chavez. We get one final member a few issues in, in the form of former X-Man Prodigy (David Alleyne), who may have lost all of his powers, but is still the smartest guy around. It’s a great team, and one that is very well-balanced. I think the story very much centers on Wiccan, but everyone else gets some time in the spotlight.
If I tried to talk about all of the hip, cool references Gillen and McKelvie make – a montage of off-screen events written via Loki’s Instagram posts, the “yamblr” (think tumblr) dashboard as the summary page at the beginning of each issue, so many pop culture references – it would sound like they’re just trying too hard. But all of this stuff works surprisingly well, with only a little bit of parody and hipstery irony. And to be fair, it’s a book about modern teens and their lives, so it’s par for the course. These just happen to be superheroes.
There’s a lot of good stuff going on in this series, though, even if those things aren’t your cup of tea. The writing is great, with a lot of humor, and McKelvie’s art is spot on. But maybe my favorite part is Matthew Wilson’s coloring, which matches the tone perfectly in every issue. The most impressive art I’ve seen in ANY comic comes in a beautiful two-page spread in issue #13. You’ll know the one when you get there.
The one bad thing about this series is that Gillen and McKelvie have only planned it as a limited series, and the very last issue, #15, comes out today (8 January). Get on this series while you have a chance! And if you can find it, the Marvel NOW! Point One issue has a great little prequel story on the first meeting of Miss America and Loki, which you shouldn’t missed!