Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have taken Young Avengers into territory I never dreamed the team or franchise would go, and they’re doing so with grace, consistency, and a long con that might polarize fans of the characters. But is it good?
Young Avengers #11 (Marvel Comics)
Gillen’s unique storytelling style means the reader has a lot of responsibility. Unlike the Scott Lobdells and the Ann Nocentis of the comic book world, Gillen understands that his readers are intelligent enough to infer some of what’s going on from context clues, artwork, and some background knowledge. Even though you may not know that this version of Miss America debuted in Vengeance—a mini-series about the modern incarnation of the Teen Brigade—Gillen and McKelvie deliver such phenomenal characterization that it doesn’t matter. I’ve read Vengeance, but Gillen writes the definitive Miss America.
Young Avengers #11 is the proverbial beginning of the end of this first mega-arc. The multi-dimensional beast Mother has Hulkling prisoner. The rest of the Young Avengers need to figure out a way to save their friend and stop Mother from unleashing a horde of evil alternate versions of the Young Avengers onto an unsuspecting Earth whose adults wont even know it’s happening.
Gillen handles the familial themes of his story with absolute aplomb. He’s taken the idea of the Young Avengers and extrapolated it into a tale of young heroes growing up via the nigh-literal destruction of their parents. The saying “you can’t go home again” is applied liberally to the Young Avengers as most of them not only cannot physically go home due to Mother’s incursion, but also in their own personal trials.
Loki has masterminded his new rise to power, but he can never go back to being the carefree child that Gillen wrote in the pages of Journey Into Mystery; this second volume of Young Avengers has very much been about Loki’s journey to find out if he even could go back.
Wiccan has to channel his powers as the magical messiah he’s one day destined to become—Tommy must embrace his future to save his past. If that isn’t growing up, I don’t know what is.
Though Gillen puts a humorous spin on it, Kate Bishop struggles with notions of getting older and how that affects her psychologically and socially. These are real concerns shared by millions of young people every day.
Prodigy kissed Hulkling a few issues back and is now out as a homosexual man. Even after all this Mother stuff is sorted out, David will have to deal with his own issues concerning his sexual identity, his attraction to Hulkling, and his working relationship with both Wiccan and Hulkling.
- Fantastic “calm before the storm” feeling.
- Always amazing artwork from Jamie McKelvie.
- A comic book that doesn’t condescend to the reader.
- Some background knowledge is needed to really understand the ins and outs of Gillen’s Loki saga.
Is It Good?
Young Avengers #11 is one of the best issues of the series because it starts the ball rolling towards the emotional climax of this entire story arc. Often, the anticipation is better than the actual sensation and in the case of Gillen’s Young Avengers, that seems to be the case.