Friday, August 1, 2014

Sketched Comic: Young Avengers

Get out your Bacon and laser bows, we're reviewing Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie!

Wiccan is in a relationship with Hulkling, and he feels bad that Hulking's mother is gone. So with his powers, he looks through the countless Marvel multiverses and finds one where his mother was about to die and pulls her out. But when he does, he pulls out something wrong. Now Wiccan and Hulking, along with other young heroes including Marvel Boy, Hawkeye(Kate Bishop), Prodigy, Ms. America and even Kid Loki will have to pull together to get this Mother out of their universe!

Holy crap, what a fantastically written, beautiful and inclusive book. Right now there's three separate volumes, but since the run has recently ended and there's only 15 issues, and it's basically one connected story, I feel fine reviewing the whole thing. If you happen to get all three volumes, you'll breeze right through them, but even so, just getting the first issue will get you hooked!

What I love most about this series is how inclusive it is. It's hella diverse. HELLA. I think the last mainstream team superhero book I read that was this inclusive was Runaways(which by the way you should ALSO definitely be on top of). There are gay characters, women, bi, alien, black, spanish, I don't think there's a single straight white dude on the team! Kate Bishop even makes a joke, "Wait, am I the only straight person on this team?" Which is FANTASTIC. And it's even better that they're a group of teenagers trying to figure out RELATIONSHIPS and LIFE and they're all kind of damaged in their own way, as teenagers do.

But in case you think it's going to get grimdark, the book is a metric BUTT-ton of fun. All the characters really like each other(accept Loki, no one likes him) and all play off each other really well and talk about smooching all the dang time. They go to another dimension that has the best breakfast diner. They have a whole page that's an Instagram parody! Each book is recapped with the "story thus far" as a mock tumblr page, complete with fake screen-names like "unimpressed_bouncer" and "IfYouLikeItPutABunOnIt" and fake trending hashtags like "Ameri-Moms" and "TO DA CLUB". It's a hoot. It's the kind of book that does different creator title pages in fun and inventive ways, like making the page look like a breakfast menu, and describing all the creators as breakfast dishes. It's a fun book that will make you LOL and LMAO and all those things the kids these days say.

It's also a really gorgeous book. I'm not in love with the art because it's more realistic than I usually like, but there are some legitimate gorgeous panels here. It's probably not a book I'd pick up from it's art style alone, but its gorgeously put together and the way its done just fits. I really like how McKelvie draws teenagers in this simple innocent playful kind of way. Plus, Mathew Wilson's colors are vibrant and full of life. It fits. Along with the great joke pages, there's a lot of interesting things they do with layout while describing action or even doing exposition. There's one page in which Prodigy is discussing his backstory and the page is made to look like his head. Action scenes are also expertly done and are fun and exciting to read.

There's also a ton of meta-humor(my kryptonite) with the main villain, Mother. She comes from another dimension of her own making, which generally looks like unfinished comic pages. When the gang are running through her world, it looks like their actually hiding under and running through comic panels. And then Mother takes a bit of a word bubble. There's tons of crazy stuff you'll get a kick out of if you like the crazier superhero stuff like Nextwave.

The writing is marvelously well done. Not just in that it's a compelling story, but that these feel like real teenagers with relatable teenage problems. Sure, you wouldn't expect to empathize with a shapeshifting alien who usually takes the form of the hulk, but I think a lot of kids(or people, or myself) can get his fear that his love for his partner isn't real and there's something else causing him to feel this way. And then there's Prodigy (who is super cool and there generally isn't enough of) who has a really interesting coming out tale of being bi-sexual. This kind of stuff is important for kids growing up and trying to figure out who they are, and it's ESPECIALLY important for kids and people who don't feel like they're represented enough in comics.

The only real downside of Young Avengers is that there's not enough of it. The run is over, there's only 15 issues, and while they're all fun and great, it's a fast 15 issues. I want, no, I NEED MORE. Even in the story, it takes place over months, and you feel like they're rushing through adventures where normal comics may have a fluff issue or two. The stories are great, but I could easily see this being expanded into 30 or 40 issues, or hey maybe 3 or 4 seasons of a cartoon?? Huh? HUH??? Well, anyways, it's a really great book firing on all cylinders and you should definitely pick it up.

THE GOOD: Super diverse, beautiful art, fun book, funny, great writing, great dialogue, great story, cool characters and fight scenes, teenagers feel real but also have fun.

THE BAD: Not nearly enough

THE VERDICT: $$$$$ GO PICK IT UP DO IT NOW! You can buy the three volumes in trade paperback or single issues on comixology, it's just a great fun inclusive superhero comic. Go read it, and then go demand that other people read it and THEN go demand of the big publishers that you want more books like it.

BOOKS LIKE IT: The Wicked + The Divine, Runaways, Morning Glories, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, Superhero Girl, Nextwave

ONE-PAGE METAPHOR: The first issue starts with Kate Bishop waking up in Marvel Boy's room in a space station floating above the earth. It's from a woman's point of view, it's sex-positive and then there's pew pew laser shooting aliens. It's basically everything you could want from a book in the first few pages of an AMAZING run.

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