Saturday, 26 January 2013

Young Avengers issue 1 - Review.

OK. Well the print idea has hit a bit of a road bump (still happening but delayed until early Summer) so I decided to get back to doing some more on the blog.

My pull list this week was a little slim so I decided to review one of my son’s books.

Hope you enjoy it.

Young Avengers issue 1 - Review.

Young Avengers issue 1.

Written by Kieron Gillen.
Art by Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton.
Colour by Matthew Wilson.
Published by Marvel Comics.

Recently I handed my son a copy of Previews and told him to add a title to his pull list. He had lost a title to the DC Comics cull so we thought we would find him a new book.

For the record he is a big Deadpool fan. He also has loved Avengers Academy and Arena, Blue Beetle, The Ravagers and Legion of Superheroes.

After a while he decided on Kieron Gillen's Young Avengers.

And no. The Boy Wonder pays no attention to buzz on Twitter or any of that shit. He just likes fun books.

The Young Avengers are a team that seems to have been stalled by the release schedule of The Children's Crusade and in need of a jump start. To me it fills a gap in the Marvel NOW line up.  It certainly has a Vertigo Comics edge to it (but not in your face) and has moments of visual experimentation that are also not overbearing. (not quite anyway).

But it does what Marvel has always been good at.  It focuses on the characters. It magnifies in on their intertwining relationships and the emotions in their lives.  The action has a kitsch quality that works well in the first issue on a design level but hopefully this will not get old as the book runs on. It certainly (and comfortingly) shows it’s Phonogram roots.

The sexuality and romance is dealt with well and realistically (not that I have any experience of alien / human fooling around!?) Marvel is so good at this.  We love these characters and are genuinely involved when they hook up. 

We see the opening three pages as first person narration that is the equivalent of someone opening a door, hugging you and inviting you to a great party. Kate Bishop (of Earth) is a natural touchstone and the facial acting is the best I have seem Mr McKelvie do. The musical notes in the air remind me of a swinging Romita Snr Mary-Jane (and it does not get better than that in my book).

Post Prologue the book centers on the Earth bound characters. Starting with Wiccan and Hulking (and after a switcheroo Spider-Man scene that kept this old reader guessing) we center in on them dealing with their personal problems. It is a tiny bit melodramatic for my tastes but certainly flows really well. Oh how we have grown.  It’s not about them being gay and in love – it’s simply about them being in love. Refreshing that we have grown so far in comics. And genuinely touching.

Anything with Kid Loki works for me and it’s great to see him in the book. He must be a real joy to write. Miss America is new to me but from what I have seen so far will work as a foil to the God of Mischief in future issues I am sure.

[SPOLIERS] The book has a Twilight Zone twist ending. That should fuck them up!

It is however a quick read. And for me a little too ‘design heavy’ if that makes sense (but I think that may just be the grumpy 44 year old in me).  It also has one of those annoying credits pages (a double page spread in fact) that I could have done without. (Hickman are you listening.) But they are hardly big criticisms and overall the book rocks.

Jamie McKelvie’s style is simplistic and clean as always. The art has a bright Technicolor quality that is pop art different and pleasing to the eye. I am a little mystified by why he would need Mike Norton on board (but let’s face it any Norton art is always welcome).

Many of the Marvel team books have historically had a sense of family and this book overflows with a huge sense of this.  It’s what The New Mutants ( 1980s) book was like before Rob Liefeld got his mitts on it.  If I was my son’s age (15 , almost 16 years old) I think I would feel a kinship to these characters.

But the good thing about Gillen’s writing is that he does not pander to an age group.  He makes kids of this age hip and cool. He injects moments of  music and that early open eyed innocence when throwing themselves into possibly (probably) destructive relationships. I suppose like we all did at that age before cynicism crept into our lives.

They also represent characters who are unfettered by back story.  Sure they have been about for a few years now but I feel that they can still be stretched and molded. It's actually pretty refreshing.

I really hope it sells well. It gels in both style and content. Neither feels too heavy. The colour is remarkable and striking. It feels modern and retro all in one product which always seems to be a recipe to success. I am interested to see where it goes and will be reading it for as long as my son has it in his pull list - and possibly beyond.

It’s like Bowie. I don’t fully understand what ‘all that’ is about. But I am glad that he is out there doing it. (Just don’t have a heart attack on stage!)

Nicely done gents.


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