The Young Avengers have defeated Mother, explained the dire situation to the adults, and now they’re just ready to party this issue. But is it good?
Young Avengers #14 (Marvel Comics)
Last week, I was online and read a comment about Young Avengers that can basically be boiled down to the poster’s main problem with the series, which, in his words, were, “It’s about gay romance first and superheroing second.” I tend to shy away from online commenting because, more often than not, it turns out bad or I regret forming my thoughts in a certain way for the entire world to see without a chance to explain myself. Here, though, I couldn’t help myself.
The fact is that yes, Young Avengers is a series positioned to tackle the idea of teenagers as superheroes more than actually being a superhero book, in the strictest sense of the term. Even the original 12 issues back in 2005 were less focused on the actual plot and more focused on how that plot affected the members of the Young Avengers. The Kree and Skrull empires almost started a second war on Earth over Teddy Altman, the rightful heir to the throne on both worlds, but that wasn’t the point of that story. It was about Teddy deciding who he was and where he wanted to be at that point in his life. Kieron Gillen stated in many, many interviews (even before his volume launched) that this was a story about what it means to be 18, and that’s exactly what he achieves.
Young Avengers #14 is part one of “Resolution,” the end cap to the long arc that saw Billy Kaplan become the magical demiurge he was destined to become, Loki revert back (kind of) to his adult form, and nearly every teenaged hero in the Marvel universe come to the aid of the Young Avengers to stop the interdimensional parasite that almost picked the Earth 616 universe clean. What’re a bunch of teenagers supposed to do after they stop a multiversal threat without any help from the adults? If you said ‘party,’ you’d be right.
This issue is all about tying up loose ends. Kate Bishop and Marvel Boy have it out over Noh-Varr choosing to be with his ex-girlfriend (who, it turned out, didn’t exist in the first place), and Kate definitely comes out as the more rational, mature party. Of course, that comes after Kate and Miss America bond a bit over the fact that they each kind of hate each other, but really admire one another more than they care to admit.
Prodigy apologizes to Billy for kissing Teddy. This was my favorite bit in the issue because as much as David understands that he kissed Hulkling because they both thought they wouldn’t survive at the time, he still recognizes that what he did was a dick move and promises to back off. David and Billy end the conversation on good terms, but you can tell that Billy probably won’t ever take at least one eye off David.
Miss America’s backstory about her life before Earth 12 is the only part of the issue that falls flat, and that’s only because it feels shoehorned into an issue that otherwise has a lot of emotional impact. Because this is the first real glimpse of America’s secret past that we get, it’s all very confusing as to what’s going on and why it’s happening. What is this universe that America is from? Why does she know about Billy as the demiurge ten years before he even comes close to becoming it? Why does she get so angry when she learns her mothers are gone? These are questions I couldn’t answer. I don’t recall any of this being brought up in past issues, and the fact that Gillen kind of drops all this heavy emotional stuff in at the last minute seems a bit wonky.
- The multiple guest artists in this issue make the party seem multi-faceted.
- Speed returns! FINALLY! But how?
- Some of the best teenager dialogue I’ve ever read.
- The playlist: just so awesome.
- Miss America’s other-dimensional backstory is too much to take in such an otherwise lighthearted and enjoyable issue.
Is It Good?
Young Avengers #14 is a great issue that does a fantastic job starting the denouement of the entire series. As I’ve said in past reviews, Gillen and McKelvie’s Young Avengers isn’t for everyone, but if you pay enough attention, and reread a few times to make sure you understand, this is one of the most satisfying and enjoyable series of 2013.
And that playlist at the end is damn near perfect.