Mourning the Young Avengers

Matt Mallinson

Matt is an aspiring journalist and self confessed nerd. In addition to comics, he has a great love of film, video games and TV, particularly Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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About a year ago a new comic came to my attention featuring a brilliant cast of superheroes, a very genuine gay couple, a very sassy female, and Loki. It totally took my breath away and made me want to read nothing but their adventures. Now after 15 issues that have seen them go through  a whirlwind of shit, the Young Avengers series has come to a close. Fine the writer chose to end it on his own terms and we got a real sense of closure, but I don’t want it to go! Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have crafted such an amazing superhero team over the last year that all the little goodbyes in the final two issues might as well have been little daggers in my heart. So here are the reasons I’m going to miss the series.

1. It featured such a high-profile gay couple

young avengers gay

Right from the get go Young Avengers never shied away from portraying Billy and Ted as a realistic gay couple. They argue about the dangers of superheroics, they occasionally worry they’re not good enough for their partner and one worries that the other may have accidentally created his perfect boyfriend using magic (OK, maybe not the last one). The two are now officially my new favourite gay couple in not just comics, but the media as a whole, and who knows when we will see them again!

2. They were the first real all LGBT team

young avengers gay lgbt

Billy and Ted weren’t the only LGBT players on the team, however. Shortly after joining the comic, depowered mutant Prodigy made a move on Ted, revealing that he had long known that he was bisexual but had been afraid to express his true self. In the last issue of the series Loki alludes to the fact that to Asgardians there is no real concept of sexuality, essentially suggesting that they are all bisexual (always knew there was something a bit homoerotic about Thor…). Marvel Boy reveals that he went through an experimental phase and Miss America suggests that she previously has had female relationships. This leads Hawkeye (not the male one) to make the pronouncement “am I the only straight person on this team?”, which is met with the rebuttal “I’ve seen the way you look at me. You’re not that straight” by Miss America. So yeah, in essence they are the first all-LGBT superhero team (well sort of )

3. The experimental artwork

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Jamie McKelvie has always been known for his different take on comic book design and he did a fantastic job making the comic look beautiful and exciting month after month. From his use of an isometric diagram to portray a fight sequence, breaking out the main events into bigger panels, to playing around with the idea of comic book panels when he has Loki break Billy and Ted out of Mother’s prison having them escape through the white space in between panels. Through the whole series the characters always looked fantastic, being instantly recognisable. Plus he gave Billy a great new costume, finally replacing that awful Thor inspired one with a costume all his own.

4. There’s still a lot of story to tell

Considering that Kieron Gillen chose to end the series, there are still a lot of threads left open. Throughout the series it is suggested Billy will somehow use his powers to change the way magic works, becoming an all powerful being called the Demiurge. We saw him have what his teammates referred to as a mini-Demiurge moment but the day is still coming when he will be required to use all his magical potential to alter the universe. We know that whatever he does creates the universe which Miss America is from, making him her god, as well as several others including the universe of these adorable little things.

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I really want to know what the event is that causes Billy to go full on Demiurge and what kind of effect is has on him and the Marvel universe as a whole, but I also want to know where the team will go from here. Is Ted really over the whole ‘did my boyfriend create me?’ thing? How will Marvel Boy and Hawkeye carry on now that they have broken up? Will Miss America ever not be so amazing? There are just so many questions which I need answering.

5. The team has no rival in all out awesomeness

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As I’ve previously alluded to ,Killen Gillen has really gone all out to create the best team of superheroes. Miss America’s bitchy comments, Billy and Ted making out without shame, Hawkeye’s snarky nature and off-hand sarcasm, Loki being put down by everyone and everything, Marvel Boy shirtless, there’s so many little things I will miss seeing every month. Prodigy was the only member of the team who never really got to come into his own, and that’s mostly because he only joined late in the series. Towards the end he was beginning to feel like one of the team and with an extra bit of time I know he would have become a worthy member.

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Kieron Gillen just got this series and even if a new person took it on I know it wouldn’t be the same. But still I want more, I’m not ready to say goodbye to this series yet. So please excuse me while I go and reread all the issues obsessively until Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie announce that they were just kidding when they said they had told all the story they wanted to tell.

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