Nearly 7 years after the end of Allen Heinberg’s and Jim Cheung’s run on Young Avengers, Marvel finally got its act together and decided that it was about darn time to reinstate Young Avengers as an ongoing series in their new Marvel NOW! relaunch. Too bad for me that Avengers: The Children’s Crusade had to mess with the team line-up that I had come to love (well, I didn’t love Tommy) oh so much. Young Avengers 2.0 is half familiar faces, half newbies. Was I initially disappointed with this line up, especially when I mistook Noh-Varr on the cover to be Tommy? Yes. But upon reading Kieron Gillen’s interview and actually reading the first issue, I now have high hopes for the series.
Kieron Gillen seems to be a pretty popular writer at the moment, at least that is what I’ve gathered from my fellow comic book aficionados. Gillen already has a great handle on the voices of Kate, Teddy, and Billy. The issue starts off in Kate’s head, and though the setting was very unexpected, her scene ends with the positively awesome line: “I have no powers and not nearly enough training, but I’m doing this anyway. Being a super hero is amazing, and everyone should try it.” Not only is it such a Kate thing to say, but I could imagine many a teenage superhero having this though cross their mind.
And speaking of positively awesome things, talk about that awesome double-page layout! The action flow perfectly, thanks to Jamie McKelvie (with Mike Norton). After one issue, I am now a huge fan of McKlevie’s art. He does a pretty great job with expressing emotions and the art just looks so clean. Also, everyone just looks so pretty. I could see that bothering many readers, but I think that 18 year old super heroes are supposed to be (super) good looking. Matthew Wilson’s colors brings it all together and makes the art pop. And I just have to mention again that there are some really sweet panel layouts in this issue. I hope that they will be a recurring element of the book.
The issue starts with Kate waking up in a stranger’s (a stranger to us) bed on some sort of spacecraft. Before I can say “Get it, girl,” a white-haired dude steps out from the bathroom; I think he’s Tommy and I’m about to yell before I’m told that he is
Norman Noh-Varr, aka Marvel Boy. He seems like a fun guy, dancing in his boxers to Earth music and shooting at Skrulls (in his boxers), but that’s about as much insight into Noh-Varr as we get this first issue. We leave that couple hanging and shoot back down to Earth for some Billy and Teddy time. Having never actually read Children’s Crusade, I do not really know where some of this angst is coming from, but they come to an understanding in the end. When Billy heads back over to his place, I realize that I really should have read Children’s Crusade because maybe it would explain why Billy is making this super insane decision to (highlight for spoilers) go through all possible realities to rescue Teddy’s biological mother before she gets killed. This is seriously a horrible idea, Billy. You definitely are her son. By the end of the issue, we get a glimpse as to how much of a mistake Billy’s decision was. Backtracking a bit, Kid Loki gets introduced, and my first thought is: “Why is Loki a child?” My second: “I bet he’ll be annoying.” Loki shares his screen time with Miss America Chavez, who can apparently throw tanks to the moon. She comes off as pretty tough and doesn’t seem to care for Loki, so I like her. As the series progresses I’m sure that she, along with Noh-Varr and Loki, will get more fleshed out. The issue ends with Billy, Teddy, and Billy’s horrible mistake.
In addition to the ending making me want to continue this series, Noh-Varr and Miss America Chavez have piqued my interest, and I would like to see how the new characters and old work as a team. The dialogue and characters’ inner monologues read nicely, aren’t cheesy, and stay true to their characters. My only beef with this issue is that I am not sure where the characters are at right now. I didn’t really know what was going on, like why was Kate in space, why did Miss America want to beat up Loki (other than because he probably gets on her nerves), and what in the name of all that is magical would lead Billy to make such a rash decision? I feel like the only character I know anymore is Kate, thanks to her appearances in the Hawkeye series. Other than feeling a little out of the loop, this was a good first issue for the series, and I look forward to more than 12 issues from Gillen and McKelvie.