The New “Young Avengers”: The Hipster Loki Show?
I love Young Avengers. Every time I have fallen off the comic book wagon, Young Avengers has been my gateway drug back into the fold. Young Avengers, started by Marvel in 2005, featured a group of teenagers who all had some sort of connection to the original Avengers. These kids came together and started their own vigilante team, much to the chagrin of the adult and seemingly responsible Avengers.
In 2006 they stopped having their own books, instead taking part in the various and major Marvel-616 universe events that seemed to happen one right after the other. In 2011-2012 they returned with another mini-series, Avengers: Children’s Crusade, and are now back with their own run once again.
So yeah, I love the Young Avengers. That said, I’m disappointed by the writer of this current run, Kieron Gillen. Here’s why:
First off, only three of the original Young Avengers are even in this run: Billy (Wiccan), Teddy (Hulking) and Kate (Hawkeye) (Tommy/Speed does show up for one issue, but only to serve as a damsel in distress which, okay, is pretty funny). Kate has been pretty out of character (see recent Hawkeye issues for in-character Kate Bishop), and while I can’t put my finger on why, I haven’t loved Billy and Teddy’s characterization this time around either. If you’re in it for the characters that make up the Young Avengers, you’re out of luck. The four characters added who are not Young Avengers seem much more in character with the exception of Noh-Varr. Noh-Varr, who has previously been a villain pitted against the Young Avengers, was shoehorned in and is pretty much just comic relief. Otherwise, David Alleyne/Prodigy has been great (albeit a little useless seeing as he’s no longer a mutant, and is mostly a plot device in order to drive them to actually do something), Miss America Chavez has been intriguing as all hell and Loki has been stealing the show.
No one should be surprised, since Kieron Gillen is a Loki fanboy and has pretty much made this run all about Loki instead of the super-kids it’s supposed to be focusing on. Loki gets the best jokes, the best dialogue and is, of course, the most in-character of the whole bunch. Loki is wildly entertaining in this run, but Loki shouldn’t be the star of Young Avengers; the Young Avengers should be the stars.
As for actual writing, I’ve been underwhelmed by it, though other people I know do really seem to like it. Kieron Gillen writes hipster humor for a hipster audience, and you can almost hear the unnecessary ironic undertone and attempt at being facetiously lighthearted. It succeeds in being fun, but not in being very good. If you like hipster humor, then this is the comic for you. If you like Loki or have missed having Prodigy in your life, this is great for you too. If you, like me, really just want more of the Young Avengers, I’d say buy Children’s Crusade so Marvel gets Young Avengers, and just find this run for free online.