Young Avengers 11

young avengers 11

Today, Spencer and (guest writer) Suzanne are discussing Young Avengers 11, originally released October 23rd , 2013. 

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Spencer: You don’t just wake up the day you turn 18 or 21 and immediately become an adult. There’s no ceremony or initiation. Adulthood is subjective, and most of us spend the majority of our twenties trying to figure out just what it means, or even actively fighting against the idea of growing up. It’s a difficult transition period of our lives to navigate, and the only thing that could make it worse is throwing a multidimensional parasite and a league of evil exes on top of it. That’s exactly what Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie do in Young Avengers 11; while the issue mostly sets up the plot and characters for the final battle against Mother, it’s anchored by the various characters’ viewpoints about becoming adults.

In the aftermath of a battle, Loki discovers that Leah and Mother have captured Hulkling and are planning on unleashing the Alternate Young Avengers from the mayfly dimensions onto Earth—a plan that would likely result in the destruction of all reality. Forced to enact their plan early, Wiccan uses his abilities to age Loki to a young adult, but he still doesn’t have the power needed to diffuse Mother’s curse. The only other option, he says, is to help Billy tap into his Demiurge status, if only for a few seconds. It’s risky, but fortunately Prodigy has sent out some messages and enlisted the help of nearly every young hero in the Marvel universe. Mother and Leah are prepared, though, and place a call to Billy’s parents for a little back-up.

The character who most obviously comments on the idea of growing up in this issue is Kate, who is still worried about Mother’s comment back in issue 9. Although Kate’s anxiety has legitimate basis in the fact that she might come under Mother’s thrall, it’s easy to connect these issues with the anxiety any typical twenty-something might face as they grow older: when am I really an “adult”?; I’m not ready for these adult responsibilities!; am I too old to be hanging with these people or doing this activity? As someone who’s fielded these questions myself, I appreciate her teammate’s answers:

y'all are just the adorableist

Loki’s “you’re only as old as you feel” is a common saying, but particularly apt coming from an ageless Norse God who’s lived in multiple bodies; still, it’s Noh-Varr’s sentiment that particularly touched me. Being young can without a doubt be difficult, but our own anxieties can make things a million times worse, and in that sense, it’s nice to see Kate’s worries so easily brushed aside.

Loki tackles the issue of growing-up in a more head-on fashion by literally growing up (and eliciting an internet-wide cry of “oh no he’s hot!”), but as I said, Loki’s age does little to dictate his behavior anyway. What interests me about this is the fact that Loki has more power in an adult body, which could be implying that adults are somehow more suited to solve this problem than young people, a theory further supported by the fact that Billy too has to grow up—into the Demiurge—in order to stand any chance against Mother. It’s a daring statement to make in an arc where the main conflict has basically boiled down to “parents just don’t understand.” Is the key to parents and kids getting along simply the kids growing up and gaining more perspective? Only time will tell, but in real life I think more compromise is involved, so I can’t wait to see what kind of curveballs Gillen throws into this mission.

Prodigy, meanwhile, seems to be supporting the opposite end of the argument by supplying an army of Marvel’s youngest and finest. This army is the antithesis of Loki and Wiccan’s plan, so it should be fun to see which strategy is more effective–or maybe if the victory comes from a combination of both, perhaps the adults and children will even be able to band together.

Or perhaps I’m just reading too much into it. That’s entirely possible, because I can’t seem to figure out how to apply these twenty-something woes to Noh-Varr.

Not a fan of beards, but I'd have kept it just to spite her

I’m a little unclear on what’s actually going through Noh-Varr’s head in this scene. He ultimately shaves the beard off; is it because Obuliette’s words hurt him, or because she made him realize the beard didn’t look good or was just a way to seem more adult or embrace Earth culture more, or is it something more obvious, like maybe Noh-Varr simply still has a thing for these girls (though how someone could pick Obulette over Kate Bishop is a mystery)? I am legitimately not sure what to think here, and I’d love to hear thoughts from you guys.

Meanwhile, Leah – like Loki – also grew up rather quickly (though that’s mainly from our perspective; it was likely much longer from her point of view), but I don’t think it’s granted her the same maturity that Prodigy or Kate or Billy seems to be finding. Loki abandoned her in the past, so it’s hard not to feel a little bad for Leah, but her revenge is taking things to an extreme; she’s willing to possibly sacrifice an entire universe to take down Loki, and that’s just a tad insane, especially considering that she used to be so nice.

Well, not so petty...

And hey, why is her team of evil exes going along with this? I’m sure Patri-not and Obuliette have no love for Earth, but none of the others are even batting an eyelash at what they’re going to do for the sake of revenge? I’m half expecting that either Leah or Mother has them under her thrall, but it’s entirely possible that these guys just need to grow up already.

On that note, I’m going to turn things over to our guest writer, Suzanne. Suzanne, what did you think of this issue and the characters’ growing pains? What about Loki? Even after his plans were revealed last issue, there still seems to be so much he’s keeping hidden; do you trust him at all? And hey, how about that neato page of Prodigy’s army all texting each other? Are you familiar enough with those characters to get any references out of it?

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Suzanne: If Noh-Varr cheats on Kate Bishop with Obuliette, I may have to send Kieron Gillen some nasty fan mail. Just kidding. No seriously, I love what Gillen and McKelvie have done with this series over the past year. They endeared me to characters like Marvel Boy, who I didn’t know from Adam before the first issue of Young Avengers.

Spencer, my best guess is that Noh-Varr is having some identity issues and his beard symbolizes that ambivalence. His little black book is filled with exes who give him constant attention and flattery. Maybe he’s not getting that kind of validation from my favorite Hawkeye. Why else would he be talking to these crazy girls? Him cheating on her would be a perfect example of how people screw things up because of immaturity in their early twenties.

Did I mention how much I love Prodigy being on the team? He balances out their group dynamic with some calculated logic to counter Miss America’s punching, Billy and Teddy’s emo drama, and Loki’s manipulation. I’m not sure about his emotional maturity, but his intellect reaches well beyond his years. Mother threatens to destroy the world and he responds by networking with essentially all of the young superheroes of the Marvel Universe. That one-page spread is fantastic and includes some of my favorite, more obscure characters (i.e. Armor and Dust).

I know like a fourth of these people, that's it

I admit there were quite a few references I missed (Butterball is not just a brand of turkey?). Any chance this will lead to some more recruits to Young Avengers? Granted, they only came together because Billy screwed up and unleashed Mother in the first place. But I would kill to see characters like Bling! and Spider-Girl make guest appearances in future issues.

I may be in the minority here, but Loki’s metamorphosis into an adolescent didn’t do a lot for me. He’s more intriguing as an evil character stuck inside such an innocent-looking body. Now he looks like a young Severus Snape with douchey hair. The only advantage to him being older is that he’s considerably more formidable and dangerous. But he hasn’t made any staggering emotional progress to match his physical change. He reminds me of Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel) from that other comics publisher, a selfish and immature boy gifted with a superhero body.

I agree with Spencer’s insight that this issue ties into each character’s development and their fears about growing up. Yet I couldn’t help feeling frustrated by the end of the issue. Instead of moving the plot forward, the team talks about their plans to take down Mother ad nauseam.  It feels like being stuck in a meeting all day talking about the job you’re supposed to be doing. I’m grateful Miss America got at least one punch in this time. Bring on the final battle against Mother!

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For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

29 comments on “Young Avengers 11

  1. I love that page of Prodigy’s army. There are probably a lot of fun references in it, as regards to who calls who and so forth, but giving that I only recognize maybe a third of those characters at the most, a lot of it is lost to me.

    The one bit of it that really tickled me, though, is that Alex only bothered to invite one of his FF teammates–Ahura–and, of course, Ahura couldn’t be bothered to invite ANYBODY else. Of course.

  2. I’m scared as to whether or not this is actually ending. Gillen said it was going to be the end of his “1st season” on YA so I’m unsure if it’s just switching writers, going on, or ending altogether. That being said, this issue seems to be leading to a damn fine conclusion. The art in here was gorgeous as hell.

    • NOOOO. They are officially not allowed to leave this series. Where else am I gonna get my teen drama superhero fix? Certainly not from Teen Titans.

    • I’m assuming that Gillen is just referring to this first mega storyline as their “first season”, but god, if either of them leave this series I will probably cry for days.

    • I think that may just be part of Marvel’s newest model for de-serializing highly serialized comics. If you’re looking at Marvel solicits, you’ll see some totally confusing numbering going on as Marvel NOW series wrap up their initial “seasons.” As an example, All-New X-Men is starting a new grand arc with issue 22 and numbering it as

      All-New X-Men #22.NOW (=All-New X-Men #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!)

      Same creative team, same cast, just new story. Gillen is so connected to these characters, I would have a hard time imagining him leaving.

      • I still can’t get over how Marvel just seems to be adding a new red rectangle to its logo every year now. (Sorry, I think I meant .NOW — I need to get with the times.) I like the idea that it’s this ever expanding fractal, and that eventually the marvel logo will be too small to be readable (or the logo + all of the other red rectangles will take up the whole cover). “Seriously Cool All-New Best Marvel NOW and NOW and NOW”

        • I feel the need to explain this one now.

          I was at the airport on my way to NYCC. It was early so I got in line at the Homeboy Cafe and Bakery. I wanted a cup of coffee and some kind of breakfast pastry, so I was willing to put up with the sizable line. The woman behind me, however, was having none of it. She was insufferable to her two children throughout the wait, and she showed no extra patience when she reached the counter to order her coffee. She ordered some kind of latte and then asked “Do you have almond milk?” The Homeboy employee responded with a polite “No, I’m sorry, we only have regular and non-fat.” Pretty reasonable response, right? That’s when this woman responds with a super bitchy “You need to get with times. People drink different kind of milk now.”

          It was one of those moments that so fucking LA, it hurts. Anyway, the rest of the weekend, whenever anyone said “Marvel NOW” Drew or I would just tack on “Get with the times” and chuckle.

        • You know how you can figure out how old a tree is by counting its rings? We’re going to be able to do that for Marvel soon enough

      • I think Mr. Jehlers here has the right idea. Although I don’t want this to be renumbered because it totally fucks up my longboxes. They also better not cancel Hawkeye. That’s the other best title Marvel is putting out imo.

        • My gateway to Marvel was a TP published in ’95 and collecting all the issues of Maximum Carnage. It is still one of the best comics I ever read, and Carnage still is one of my favourite villains.
          I also remember my second Marvel comic book: http://marvel.wikia.com/Peter_Parker,_The_Spectacular_Spider-Man_Vol_1_48. This issue has been published 15 years earlier, but it was reprinted in ’97 here in Italy.
          I’m very fond of this issue because, when I read it, it was the first time I saw death in comics. Of course it was a fake death, Spider Man didn’t die in that issue, but at that time I was a very little child that could barely read, so, when I saw Spider Man hit by a bullet, I did believe he had died, and it was a true shock. Luckily, the following month Spider Man was alive and kicking, and I was happy again. : )
          Thank you for your reply! : )

        • My “modern” gateway to Marvel is Hawkeye, as it made me pick up my first Marvel monthly since I started collecting comics (quickly leading to many more), but I actually read Marvel first; my very first monthly comic was actually issues of the Fantastic Four I’d pick up at the library when I was…maybe somewhere between fourth to seventh grade? I can’t even remember. I have no idea when exactly it was or who the team was–though I believe it was right after that Heroes Reborn stuff after Franklin released the family from the pocked dimension and they got a shiny new Issue #1–I just remember I picked it up because the covers looked fun and it looked excitign yet still tame enough that my mom wouldn’t get offended (she did anyway).

          It was probably close eight years later before I started picking up monthlies forr real at a comic shop, since then I was out of school and had a job across the street from my LCS, and then I decided to pick up only DC because it would be too expensive to buy from both companies even though I enjoy Marvel too. I was justa DC guy first and foremost because I watched the Batman and Superman cartoons but never had a chancde to get into the Marvel animated shows as a child.

          Still, for all those years I bought only DC monthlies, I read more than my fair share of Marvel too through trades at the library, so I think I kept up decently.

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