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Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c

Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c

Young Avengers Complete Collection s/c back

Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie with Matt Wilson, Kate Brown, Emma Vieceli, Mike Norton, Becky Cloonan, Jordie Bellaire, Ming Doyle, Maris Wicks, Joe Quninones, Christian Ward.


Page 45 Review by Stephen

Before there was THE WICKED + THE DIVING, there was YOUNG AVENGERS.

I wouldn’t describe much here as wicked, but it was absolutely divine from start to finish!

I don’t have time to edit my three original reviews, but here they are, and I’ve even managed to dig up all the interior art we used, which you click on and blow up. Well, enlarge. We don’t want any explosions here.

Young Avengers vol 1: Style > Substance

“I fell in love with a superhero.”

And I fell in love with this series: sharp, chic and oh, so sexy! Contemporary too.

Goddam, Noh-Varr’s black pants as his hips grind and fingers snaps in synch to a sixties’ beat. In fact the book wakes up in bed, just like HAWKEYE‘s Kate Bishop who’s listening to her new lover enthuse about close-harmony girl groups.

“I lie in the strange bed and watch this beautiful alien boy dance to the music my parents love and think… This is everything I always hoped for. At which point, the Skrulls attack.”

Haha! Cue blistering NEXTWAVE flourish: a double-page spread crammed with kinetic panels of a spaceship dogfight and four big, bold statements. Oh, these two are in orbit!

I do mean Kate Bishop and Kree kid Noh-Varr but also Gillen and McKelvie, the creators of PHONOGRAM: RUE BRITANNIA and PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB in which music is magic, and magic is what we have here. The magic of teenage romance and, well, magic itself. New readers start here (and you can):

Hulking (half-Kree, half-Skrull shapeshifter) and Wiccan (the son of the Scarlet Witch), are in love. Wiccan’s adoptive parents are letting them both lodge under their roof, if not quite in the same bed. For Wiccan that means keeping a low profile to avoid scaring the horses or at least alerting the neighbours. But Hulkling can’t help himself: helping others is part of who he is. He’s not ashamed of his heritage any more than he’s ashamed of his sexuality.

“I’m not going to spend the rest of my life in the phone booth. I’m not living a lie.”

It’s during this outburst that Hulking AKA Teddy mentions his mother who’s dead, and how lucky Wiccan is to have two sets of parents. And Wiccan AKA Billy takes that to heart. He’s here to help others too and, if he can’t help his own boyf, then what even is the point? Plus you know I mentioned Billy was the son of the Scarlet Witch, she of the reality-altering powers…? In a panel which winkingly references another from PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB Billy starts scanning alternate realities to see if he can’t make things better.

Meanwhile magic attracts magic, and that’s where kid-Loki comes in. From the word go in his first JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY volume, Kieron Gillen’s young Loki has been fascinated by modern Earth technology and social idiosyncrasies. It’s no surprise then, having spent thousands of years feasting in an opulent Asgardian refectory, that Loki now spends so much time in an urban diner, in this instance arranging sausages, fried eggs and baked beans into a scrying sigil.

“Time to pay for the food you’ve spread on the table, cosplay boy.”
“Please, sir. I’m the actual God of Mischief! Asgard variation! Haven’t you heard of me? My brother’s terribly famous. Big strapping blond fellow. Fond of his hammer. If you knew me even slightly, you’d know that I never pay for what I’ve done.”

No, this time all of them will pay for what Wiccan is doing. Fortunately kid Loki is here on the side of the angels; unfortunately Miss America doesn’t believe him.

The first story arc is called ‘Style > Substance’ which, for those failing algebra, is an equation wherein Style Is Greater Than Substance. That’s just typical of Team Phonogram: oh so clever, self-denigratory yet at the same time irrepressibly mischievous, for there is plenty of substance and, boy, is it delivered with style! It is a beautiful and nimble thing to behold. Dance, this does: McKelvie’s art is bursting with energy without once risking accessibility and perfectly controlled for the quiet, tender moments where there is so much heart and humanity. Yes, there is canoodling!

Mike Norton also plays his part with the ridiculously clean and detailed city-scapes, while ‘Kelvie’s eye for fashion gives us the upwards flicks on the end of Wiccan’s floppy hair and his two-tone t-shirt. The single panel in which he takes hold of his boyfriend’s hand, three fingers between Teddy’s thumb and fore, was exquisitely delicate. Because, yes, he’s fucked up badly leaving his boyfriend in particular in a world of trouble.

It is a very modern superhero comic: just gawp at the covers! Rarely has Marvel attracted such design sense outside of the recent HAWKEYE. The colours by Matthew Wilson both within and without are so fresh and fruity you can almost taste them. Seriously: black currant, lemon, strawberry, lime. It’s like a stained glass window, both breathing and breathless, arranged out of Opal Fruits which were made to make your mouth water.

In addition there two of the most ingenious pages, from conception to execution, to have graced a comic since CEREBUS. (It was a regular occurrence there: almost every issue brought with it yet another visual innovation.) For superhero readers, think John Byrne’s SHE-HULK. Gillen and McKelvie use small panels as a claustrophobic prison and the broader-than-usual gutters as its escape route… including the edges of the paper! Even the climax to that sequence brought with it beauty.

Finally, I loved this tucked-in tribute to the late, great Jack Kirby whose mad designs for machines of all shapes and sizes were part of what made 1960s’ Marvel Comics fizz. We’re on board Nor-Varr’s spaceship:

“Problem! That hit got the Kirby Engines. It’s venting. We’re losing 4.2 epiphanies a second!”


Young Avengers vol 2: Alternative Culture

This is a book about breakfasts.

It really is.

These Avengers are young and they are hungry. For adventure, yes, but also breakfast. And lunch. And supper. Led there by Loki, Norse God of Mischief, they spend so long in that diner it’s virtually their secret HQ. They’ll be voting in new members there next – new members like Prodigy. He knows stuff like where to find them: in the diner.

It’s also a book about love: about current boyfriends and rejected, dejected ex-girlfriends: “Hel hath no fury” etc. You’ll be meeting an awful lot of them, because the awful lot are in a meeting and Hulkling’s been invited. He’s in therapy, see.

He loves his boyfriend Billy very much indeed, but Billy is a reality warper. Such is his power that Billy/Wiccan brought Teddy/Hulkling’s mother back from the dead. More precisely, he swiped a version of Teddy’s mum from another dimension in which she hadn’t died. Or at least he thought he had but it proved a mistake and now they’re in a great deal of trouble. My point, however, is that Teddy’s got the idea into his head that Billy could be warping reality to make Teddy love him. I wonder who could have put it there?

There are revelations galore in this second of three books, including who is manipulating whom and it’s not as obvious as it looks, I assure you. You’ll have to read carefully, though; this is a series which demands and rewards it.

One revelation you’ll have to wait for is the identity and purpose of the new Patriot (the first Patriot used to lead this team), discovered by Prodigy in a warehouse where he works alongside Wiccan’s brother Speed. This ghostly manifestation appears hobbled and hunched like a zombie, yet he/she/it abducts lightning-fast Speed as if he were a tortoise in treacle. He leaves little more behind him than a puff of white smoke and a bunch of cryptic proclamations.

Which brings us full circle to Prodigy waiting for our friends in the diner. It’s also what propels the second volume: the search for Speed. It’s all connected, but how?

The art for that first chapter comes courtesy of FISH + CHOCOLATE’s Kate Brown. Her gleeful body language is a hoot and she plays the dour and doubtful Prodigy off against the hyperactive, shouty-shouty, up-for-anything Speed to perfection. Her line is much softer than McKelvie’s, the resulting forms more malleable yet I couldn’t imagine a more in-synch substitute, at least until Emma Vieceli’s oh-so sexy pages in volume three. The teenage proportions complement Jamie’s to perfection.

As to McKelvie himself, there are yet more innovative page layouts, a lot of glass shards, and Mother’s own alien dimension is, as in YOUNG AVENGERS VOL 1, a feast of thrilling new special effects while Matthew Wilson contrasts the brightly coloured characters with the crisp, white vacuum of their surroundings. This suggests infinite space (up and down too), into which McKelvie has inserted artfully arranged, geometrical wonders which play with empty panels and some tentacles of doom. All still using white space. You’ll see, but basically this: you’re not in Kansas anymore.

The visual star of the show, however, remains young Loki’s face. His expressions are to die for: gutted by a misordered plate of pancakes, furious at being proved right and “whoops” when it all goes wrong:

“You probably shouldn’t have seen that.”

Just like Jamie’s fashion sense, Gillen’s wit is thoroughly contemporary, whether it’s the language or the circumstances in which that language is employed. One of the funniest pages is a one-page, nine-panel pastiche of a Facebook/Twitter hybrid which I cannot quote here for it requires a certain degree of context, but it involves the cast members taking time out (and thereby indicating the passage of time) to communicate through online social media. There is a great deal of pic-tweeting, unfriending and reporting each other for spam. Specifically there is smooching, and Loki dislikes that a lot. Like any seeming 9-year-old, he doesn’t like anything icky, body fluids in particular.

“Conversations about saliva are henceforth out of bounds until I have breakfast before me! Can’t this spaceship go any faster? Breakfast! Give me breakfast! The Norse God of Mischief craves the congress of breakfast meat!”

Vegetarians will cry.


Young Avengers vol 3: Mic-Drop At The Edge Of Time And Space

“Happy families. Now there’s a contradiction in terms.”
“Don’t be cynical. It takes practice. Doesn’t suit you, princess.”
“I really wish you’d knock it off with the “princess”.”
“I’m trying to be nice.”
“Don’t be. It takes practice. Doesn’t suit you, princess.”

In which one of the freshest, funniest and most inventive series – in any genre of comics in recent years – comes to a perfect close.

Oh, you have wailed and wailed, for you wanted so much more and who can bloody well blame you?

But Team Phonogram, as they like to call themselves, will shortly be bringing you THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE.

Meanwhile Al Ewing and Lee Garbett’s LOKI, AGENT OF ASGARD continues Loki’s journey with delicious mischief and Marvel have just reissued Kieron Gillen and Dougie Braithwaite’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY which is full of the young tyke’s tall tales and manipulative gameplay.

I’ve little more to add to my previous reviews than that McKelvie delivers more of his eye-frazzling innovation and spectacle and that all of the carefully selected guest artists will have you squealing. Emma Vieceli’s spotlight on Wiccan and Hulking is particularly sexy, stylish and as glittery as all get-out without being for one second saccharine or effete.

Now, if you’re anything like me you’re going to get your money’s worth by starting again at the beginning to see just how cleverly Gillen – and thereby some of his protagonists – have played you.

If you’re anything like Gillen, then you are probably going to want breakfast first.


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