Exactly a week from now, Tumblr is going to have a sort of collective aneurysm. Well, bits of Tumblr, anyway. The reason? Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s new series of Young Avengers starts. Eight years since the start of the first Young Avengers volume (although time hasn’t passed so fast for the characters) and in the wake of a Marvel explosion, it’s time to bring back everyone’s favourite teenage sort-of-good-at-saving-the-world, only-slightly-Dr-Doom-enabling, probably-no-longer-dicking-around-in-the-timestream-at-least teenage heroes!
Does Billy and Teddy having an argument in some of the preview panels mean they’re breaking up? (probably not)
Is Loki evil again now? (statistically, yes)
Does Miss America know? (possibly, she might just like kicking him)
Has Kate Bishop totally forgotten Eli in favour of banging Marvel Boy? (well, she is the Tony Stark of the equation)
Where the fuck is Speed? (TOO FAST TO SEE!)
What’s Thor going to do when he finds out his (these days) much littler brother is horsing around between dimensions putting together a superhero team? (tell their mums) (or well, Captain America; same thing)
Tom Ewing will be bringing the reasoned analysis, Pete Baran the puns and I the emotional mental breakdown when I remember that The Vision and Cassie are dead (‘FUUUUUUUUU-’ Feels Editor) as we bring you some sort of coverage of each issue as it happens. In the meantime and if you’re just joining us, why not catch up quickly with my comprehensive and not-at-all biased summary below?
WARNING: spoilers for Journey into Mystery 622-645, some of The Mighty Thor, everything that’s gone before in Young Avengers.
Kieron Gillen’s last activity when handed a child protagonist was to make everybody cry at Journey into Mystery. But are we sad that Old Loki ate Kid Loki? (Yes) When we have Old Loki prancing around in Kid Loki’s body now? (Odin’s BEARD) And do we trust Old Loki with a young superhero squad? (Gods, no) And is it particularly disquieting, in the wake of Old Loki’s ‘the house always wins’ line that the cover has the Young Avengers as playing cards? (THOR, YOUR BROTHER IS DOING THAT THING AGAIN)
Wait, let me rewind. A long time ago in a comic that’s now fairly reasonably priced on the Marvel app and won’t take you more than a week to read the whole of, a young and idealistic superhero team was formed. Well, I say ‘formed’ and ‘superhero.’
Kate Bishop, daughter of some rich dude that will probably be further elaborated on in this volume, has a ton of money. Like, she could literally put it on some scales and it would come in at a metric ton even in million-dollar notes. This is important; as Tony Stark (Iron Man in the …I was going to say ‘grown up Avengers’ but err, the chronologically older ones) has discovered during his financial ups and downs, it takes a whole lot of cash to keep a team going.
Anyway, so Kate Bishop and her Ton of Money were being a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding. Then some people tried to kidnap her- fortunately, the Young Avengers burst in! Hooray, the day is saved. Natch; the Young Avengers are a useless bunch of teenagers who Kate ends up saving from themselves because despite having a ton of money, she is the kind of girl who you can trust to know where everything is and what needs doing and how to efficiently disarm an assailant and diffuse a hostage situation.
Later at the hospital Kate meets Cassie, a younger girl who’s looking for the Young Avengers. Cassie is Scott Lang (Ant Man)’s daughter and despite, like Kate, having no super powers (spoiler: she might have some super powers) she wants to get into the spandex game. Or at least, break into the now-abandoned Avengers Mansion to get some of her dead dad’s stuff. Sounds legit.
Kate and Cassie head that way because curfew and concussions are for losers and meet up with the Young Avengers, who don’t want to call themselves the Young Avengers in case they get in trouble or someone tells their mum. Or worse, Captain America. But as Kate points out, they do seem happy enough to call themselves Asgardian, Hulkling and Iron Lad and wear Bucky Barne’s Captain America costume. Are they mini-versions? Sidekicks? Not likely, due to Steve Rogers’ massive angst complex after his teenage companion (Bucky) was shot and then reappeared as a Russian super-soldier.*
Iron Lad, though, isn’t just someone with a scalextric set and some engineering prowess. No, he is from the 31st century and assembling a super hero team as part of desperately trying to escape his destiny as super villain Kang The Conqueror.** Who is coming after them, due to Iron Lad horsing around in the time stream, hence his re-activating the dead Vision robot (now rebooted as a young Vision, without his previous memories of banging the Scarlet Witch, ps: this will be awkward later) in order to find a team of pumped-up superkids ready to help him take on Kang. He has some super advanced toys, which makes him look smart; unfortunately for him, Kate Bishop’s been reading Iron Man and calls him on his shit.
Cassie, meanwhile, is upset by their argument and accidentally reveals herself to have size-changing powers after eating too many Pym Particles. Whoops, better put her on the team! And Kate just kitted herself out with all of Hawkeye and Mockingbird’s old stuff, after turning out to be super-handy with a bow so I guess that’s achievement unlocked: ASSEMBLE!
They go on to tangle with Kang himself! And err, the chronologically older Avengers. And they get told to stop horsing around playing superheroes but will they? Probably not, no.
PART TWO: PARENTAL GUIDANCE
Hulkling and Wiccan are thinking about coming out to their parents. As superheroes. Instead, they accidentally come out to their parents as boyfriends; fortunately, this is true and everyone’s cool with it because they are a super lovely couple. Teddy (Hulkling) is exactly the sort of big, reassuring presence that someone like the more emotionally charged and physically small Billy (Wiccan) needs to stop him getting himself into a continuous stream of trouble.
Meanwhile, Eli (Patriot) is in trouble himself. He isn’t a real super hero, he’s just a kid who’s been using mutant growth hormones to pretend to be a super soldier to do proud by his grandad, the black Captain America, Isiah Bradley. But stealing mutant growth hormones is a risky business and using them a worse one and after an encounter with Dr Hyde, Eli is busted. Ashamed and embarassed, frustrated not to be able to be the black Captain America he wants, he quits the team.
Meanwhile, things are going to shit for Hulkling. It turns out he’s not a mutant, he’s a shapeshifter because he’s the product of a secret affair between a Skrull princess and the Kree Captain Marvel. The Skrull choose to communicate this to him by kidnapping him and immolating his adoptive mother (also a Skrull, it turns out).
The Vision decides they need more firepower if they’re ever going to get Teddy back, leading the Young Avengers to a mutant called Tommy, who is in a detention centre. The Young Avengers bust him out, briefly stopping to ponder the fact it’s a bit strange that he and Billy look identical and have the traits of the Scarlet Witch and her brother Quicksilver.
But more pressing matters are at hand: Teddy is now being fought over by the Kree and the Skrull, who are being very difficult about agreeing joint custody. Teddy just wants to go home and watch a movie with his boyfriend, Wiccan is getting pretty close to going berserk. And the chronologically older Avengers just turned up.
A massive sky battle between Kree and Skrull proceeds. In the fray, almost everyone is damaged and worst of all, Eli throws himself in front of Captain America to take a bullet, despite his lack of super powers. Grievously wounded, he’s taken to hospital.
Furious, Teddy agrees to a joint custody arrangement to stop the bloodshed and since he doesn’t really have a home to go to anymore. Damn. Being a young avenger sucks some big green balls, lately.
Meanwhile, Captain America is racked with guilt for Eli’s injury and rushes to the hospital to offer him a transfusion, knowing that his enhanced blood will restore him. But the mute Isiah Bradley has got there first, offering his own enhanced blood and leaving Steve Rogers with some serious thinking to do about what it means to wear the star spangled suit and which ghosts of his past are the most important now.
Time for THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE!
In which our heroes:
dress up as someone who might sort of be their mum!
discover someone who might sort of be their mum is going to marry Dr Doom!
good grief, sort-of-mum, no wonder Wiccan is wearing your face
especially since you don’t recognise him
I am not actually going to spoiler Children’s Crusade because well, you ought to read it before this starts. And I’m worried my manager is going to get all Captain America up in my face if I keep writing this but basically: everybody dies.
(Sorry person who made this, I don’t know who you are!)
(Also that’s not a suggestion that Loki gives two shits about all this. Yet.)
I can’t remember when this happened but it predictably didn’t go very well. Poor the Young Avengers.
Norns alive, Loki. You douchenozzle. But I guess this was where he kind of met them for the first time- SURPRISE, GUYS! That dude who nearly killed everyone is back and he wants you on his team!
Kate Bishop has recently been kicking ass in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye. Clint assures us all (and her) that he does not want to bang her. But she might want to bang him? I don’t know if this is relevant to anything.
I can’t work out if the version we’re about to see is actually related to anything previous. If he is, he’s Hulkling’s dad. That awkward moment when the leader of your disbanded super hero team totally bangs your father, who then prances around in his pants doing fan service to 60s close harmony girl group records oh and Loki just totally sat on your boyfriend, the Norse nerd- holy skrullfuck, this week is going to pot.
EDIT: it has been pointed out that Hulkling’s dad is Captain Marvel, not Noh-varr and that I am being 1x such eejit but I’m leaving this joke in because the thought entertains me.
This is a great series starring Miss America that you should read if your manager isn’t glaring at you suspiciously right now.
MARVEL POINT ONE!
This is where we first became aware that, over some pork belly, Loki’s attempts to be pals with Miss America were courting some violence upon his personage. That’s cool, he’s into frightening chicks. NB yes I am aware that that Loki although resembling the current Loki is not the Loki which we see before us which brings me neatly to-
Loki was dead. But Thor missed him. Thor is the sort of dude who, if he misses someone badly enough, can reincarnate them to the body of a French street urchin called Serrure and then awaken them to their identity as a Norse god, to enjoy an all-too-brief redemption arc of being a loving younger brother and friend to the Thunder god, when not being extremely fiercely pummeled by everyone for the crimes of his past self. The past self’s crimes now also amount to having erased this identity in order to save everyone from Surtur, which coincidentally was kind of what killed the previous Loki, I think. Anyway, Old Loki is now back in Kid Loki’s body and Thor might know but Thor is a sucker for his bro and Loki’s been pretty godsdamned adorable for a few years (throwing Thor into lava aside- it was for good reason, after all) and so perhaps Old Loki is going to… change?
But then, he is Loki, the fire that burns. And even he doesn’t know why. And he’s an angry, restless little thing who’s probably rather upset about destroying his younger reincarnation, even if it has restored him to corporeal excellence. So who knows what he’s up to but it might be best to assume he needs his ass kicked first and then find out what it actually was later.
Our line up: a motley collective of a very, very old Norse trickster god in the body of a child, a human child with the power of a god (whose mum may have broken reality), a speedster who we’ve been told is somewhere between the panels and probably the wrong side of the law given his previous behaviour, a teenage super streetfighter from another dimension, a sexy alien, a Kree-Skrull hybrid who just wants everyone to get along and failing that, crack a few skulls and a very, very dangerous and extremely rich girl.
Can they save the world?
Or at least, stop themselves actively destroying it within the first few issues?
Can you imagine how much collective trouble they are in between Captain America, the Scarlet Witch and Thor?
How long can you ground an Asgardian for?
*I can’t remember if he’d done this yet. But he totally does. If you can’t reverse Ragnarok, you can always come back as a Soviet spy.
**If only Kid Loki had thought to ask the Young Aven- oh, fuckballs.