Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing New Avengers 3, originally released November 18th, 2015.
Spencer: Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval’s New Avengers is rather explicitly a book about problem-solving; the very purpose of Sunspot’s revamped A.I.M. is to use their resources to solve crises on a global scale, and the bulk of the second issue was spent breaking down the threat of Life-Minus like a math problem in order to find a solution. It seems appropriate then that, with the concept of problem-solving having been thoroughly established, Ewing and Sandoval shift the focus of issue 3 to exploring the effectiveness (and morality) of various approaches to solving problems. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing New Avengers 1, originally released October 14th, 2015.
Spencer: I love “team” books. There’s just something fun and exciting about throwing a bunch of heroes — be they A-List or Z-List — together and seeing what happens. Despite the potential for almost endless variations, though, many team books find themselves repeating certain familiar combinations, tropes, and ideas over and over (look how many books started using the “traitor” plot once Terra first popped up in the Teen Titans, for example — and even she was a riff on Kitty Pryde’s role in the X-Men). Thus, my favorite part of Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval’s New Avengers is how quick they are to acknowledge and subvert many of those tropes. This book is clever, fun, and gets right to the point; it’s pretty much everything I look for in a team book. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Young Avengers 13, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Patrick: I like starting off an article off with a little epigram. It’s a fun, pithy way to get things jump-started, and usually it makes me look smarter than I actually am. Young Avengers has always had romance running through its veins, but the final issue of the Mother Parasite arc focuses in love — its power, its uncertainty, its sheer insanity. I thought to myself “oh, I’m got the perfect quote to kick off this piece,” but in attempting to access a beautiful, articulate saying about love, I was subjected to a deluge of insightful comments, heart-breaking one-liners, and hopeful true-isms. It turns out that we are all obsessed with love, and we all want to be in the mix for saying the most beautiful thing ever about it. Kieron Gillen has put his characters through the paces, and across countless nightmare worlds, and in the end, it’s love that keeps all of reality from collapsing. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and (guest writer) Suzanne are discussing Young Avengers 11, originally released October 23rd , 2013.
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. Continue reading →
Today, Ethan and Shelby are discussing Young Avengers 8, originally released July 24th, 2013.
Ethan: Comics love to play with the idea of the parallel universe. As we grow in our understanding of the world and our galactic context, human nature still seems to gravitate towards the mystical Unknown. At the end of the day, we don’t always like feeling like we understand everything. We like horizons, unexplored places, whether it’s the vast, unplumbed expanses of the ocean floor or the weird, extreme, unvisited zones where black holes gobble up entire stars. So it makes sense that when given half an excuse, author Kieron Gillen and artists Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton take us on a whirlwind tour through alternate realities full of bird-people, dead gods, and flying taxis. Young Avengers #8 takes as its setting the ancient and eternal game of wondering “what if?” while serving up it’s signature fare of hilarious teenage dialogue and angst. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Young Avengers 7, originally released July 10th, 2013.
Spencer: Teenagers are a tricky bunch to write. They speak, think, and communicate in their own unique ways, and it’s glaringly obvious when adults try to imitate these patterns without knowing what they’re doing. Fortunately, Kieron Gillen isn’t a writer who falls into these traps. Gillen has a remarkable knack for writing teenagers, and this is more apparent than ever in Young Avengers 7, where he uses these kids’ relationships (and social networking accounts) to show us how the team has progressed since we last saw them.
Today, Drew and guest writer Julien are discussing Young Avengers 6, originally released June 26th, 2013.
Drew: I used to think jobs were for grownups. Now I understand that jobs are for everybody — careers are for grownups. That may sound like a stupid distinction, but anyone who’s heard twenty-somethings ask each other about their jobs will understand that young people aren’t as ready to be defined by their jobs as teachers, mailmen, bakers, or any other characters from Richard Scarry books. This is just as true in the superhero world; Clark Kent might be happy to call himself a reporter, but his younger counterparts are still questioning their course in life — hell, many of them can’t even stick with a single name (I’m looking at you, former Robins). I’m used to seeing that uncertainty addressed in the overt angstiness we often associate with narratives featuring teens, but Kieron Gillen gets a great deal of mileage by toning it down to a more relatable level in Young Avengers 6. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Young Avengers 5, originally released May 29th, 2013.
Shelby: I’ve read a few team books, some which have worked and some which haven’t. Personally, I think a team book fails when the author focuses establishing the team as a character before establishing the individuals which make up that team. If the members of the team can’t stand alone as characters, how can they form a cohesive group? Kieron Gillen so effectively establishes the characters in Young Avengers, it didn’t even occur to me until five issues in that he’s been secretly building a team this whole time.
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Young Avengers 4, originally released April 24th, 2013.
Spencer: Tricksters are a common archetype in most works. They spread chaos, disregard authority, and cheat, con, and lie in whatever ways they can to get what they want. We all feel like we know better than to trust them, and so do our protagonists, but the best tricksters find a way to get past our defenses and bend us to their whims anyway. Kieron Gillen knows exactly how to write an effective trickster, and his Loki — one of the oldest and greatest — somehow manages to keep surprising both the Young Avengers and the readers; he might just be proving himself a greater threat than even that pesky interdimensional parasite.