High above the Earth, teenage Hawkeye Kate Bishop and Kree warrior Noh-Varr fight Skrulls who’ve interrupted a perfect morning after the night before. On Earth, shapeshifter Hulking borrows another hero’s identity to foil a mugging. In a diner, god of mischief Loki feasts with no intention of paying, while well-travelled powerhouse Miss America Chavez keeps an eye on him.
And there’s more. Hulking and boyfriend Wiccan have a talk about love, loss and heroism. Wiccan uses his magical powers to get Hulking the most amazing gift. And Irony proves a terrible visitor.
Yes, this is me being vague with story details. There’s so much to enjoy in Kieron Gillen’s script for this new version of Young Avengers, as much in terms of incident as character, that it’d be a shame to spoil it with a blow-by-blow. Let’s just say that Gillen immediately strikes out in his own directions, adopting the young characters and inviting them to get out into the world and make it their own. Even a character I’ve never taken to, Marvel Boy, gains appeal in just a panel or two, while the more likeable likes of Kate retain their charm and even move up a notch. Read Young Avengers and cheer. And heck, it’s a Marvel book priced at $2.99, so pretty affordable.
And pretty artwise, too, as Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton produce page after page of eye candy with real storytelling vim. Whether it’s quiet panels of two characters having a heart to heart, or a busy action scene, the artists give it their A-game. One smart touch among many is Hulkling – let’s just call him Teddy, it’s less clunky – as Spider-Man … the physical details aren’t quite right, which makes sense given Teddy’s not had prolongued contact with the hero. Then there’s the look of wonderment as Wiccan – back from a hero break – lets himself feel once more just how awesome his powers are.
Colouring the book, Matthew Wilson adapts adeptly to setting and mood, while Clayton Cowles gives great runespeak, and makes the aforementioned action spread even better with some bold font choices.
I like the cover a lot – it’s ‘designer’ without being too out there, Pop Art for today.
I’ve moaned about so many Marvel Now! books being twice monthly, but here’s one comic I’d love to be reading fortnightly. With a freshened cast, fresh ideas, lovely art and a light touch that makes the darker moments stand out all the more, it’s a delight from start to finish.