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The recent massive relaunch of the mini Avengers, which sees just 3 of the original cast joined by a few other teen superheroes and Thor’s brother Loki, presents the perfect opportunity for new fans to discover the series.
However, if you’re totally unfamiliar with the universe of comics I can imagine you’ll still be very confused. It’s not really established what the cast’s exact powers are right away, leaving the reader to wonder. Miss America is a character I have never heard of personally. The other female character has switched names to Hawkeye, causing even more confusion because the male version from the films is still running around. And most confusing of all, Loki is now for some reason a teenager.
Picking up about 6 months after the end of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the team has retired from super-heroics. Wiccan and Hulkling (the team’s gay couple) are now living together, with Hulkling running around saving lives behind his boyfriend’s back. This scene is incredibly well done with Hulkling shapeshifting into Spiderman and being caught changing back. This leads to a big argument, drawing parallels with a cheating couple. Their relationship is one of the most genuine in comics, let alone in representations of LGBT couples. Hulkling’s line about how he has been everything Wiccan wants to be, even shapeshifting into his sexy blonde form to please him is incredibly touching: “I can BE anything for you!”.
Meanwhile, Hawkeye has woken up from a one night stand with alien, Noh-Varr on his space ship. Kieron Gillen doesn’t judge her for having a one night stand, instead treating it like a normal thing for a teenage girl to do. She got drunk and can’t even remember the name of the guy she’s woken up next to (taking a guess at Norman). As they get to know each other the ship is attacked by alien invaders leading to an awesome double-page spread punctuated by the captions: “being a superhero is amazing, everyone should try it!”.
Loki wants to kill Wiccan for some reason and Miss America is out to stop him. This is the least established storyline at the moment, and I’m really unsure about their motivations.
Jamie McKelvie does a great job of the art throughout, keeping all the characters distinctive and quite impressively making the cast look like teenagers, which is a fresh change from many artists who either make teenagers look like kids or adults. He also does a great job drawing sexy bodies. Noh-Varr dances in his boxers at one point very seductively – I literally drooled. Hulkling looks hot and Wiccan looks cute. The girls look sexy too whilst Loki looks suitably awkward. Matt Wilson colours the issue in a vast palette mirroring classic comic book style.
Ultimately this is a great, if at points confused, new start for the Young Avengers. If you don’t know anything about the characters you might want to geek-out on wikipedia first.