You Need To Read Kieron Gillen’s “Young Avengers” Comics ASAP

young avengers style  substanceI love superheroes. And I love comics. And I really, really, REALLY love the Young Avengers comics written by Kieron Gillen and drawn by Jamie McKelvie. My favorite solo superhero is (and probably always will be) Captain America, but my fave buttkicking team? Definitely the Young Avengers.

I read these comics last winter and they blew my mind. SOME INTENSE FANGIRLING OCCURRED. After reading them, I wanted to A) convert all my friends into faithful Young Avengers fans and B) buy all three volumes of the story.

Well, with the publication of this post, I can cross one of those items off my list. I’ll have to wait just a wee bit longer to buy the comics, though. For such short books, they sure do cost a lot of money – $12.95 for each one-hundred-ish-pages-long volume! Happily, the comic book store is celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary this weekend with a sale. OOH 30% OFF I CAN’T WAIT.young avengers alternative culture

Anyway. I got a little carried away there, didn’t I? Sorry about that… but comics are
awesome, and I need more. And so do you! You need the Young Avengers books in your life ASAP and I’m here to tell you why.

All right, first of all… Kieron Gillen just UNDERSTANDS teenagers so well. Young Avengers is about a group of teens who kick butt, fight evil, and frequently update their social media accounts with photos and stories of their latest adventures. #superheroesloveinstagram

And all the kids just feel so… real. They’re sarcastic, and rebellious, and foolish, and daring, and scared. They’re just KIDS! They’re still trying to figure out life and everything in it, and they have the added pressure of trying to save the world.

I love how Gillen handles this – his approach is a little serious, a little lighthearted. This teenagers are fighting evil, but Young Avengers NEVER reaches the Pit Of Doom And Angst that you’d find when reading, say, Batman. I love this. Like, sometimes I enjoy reading Batman and wallowing in all that misery, but sometimes I want something a little… different? Something that’s funny without being ridiculous?

young avengers mic drop at the edge of time and spaceAnd Young Avengers fits the bill… especially with its sass. OH THE SASS. Not a page goes by without SOMEONE making some kind of snarky, hilarious comment. THESE KIDS HAVE ATTITUDE. I love that, too. It keeps the story zipping along from one chaotic scene to the next.

Kieron Gillen’s characters lie at the heart of this story, I think. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the plot, but I also don’t think it’s the focus of this story? As I said before, all the characters feel so real, and each Young Avenger has a distinct, unique personality.

Here, let me introduce them to you, in order from least to most favorite. (Hey, I can’t help it – they’re all great, but some were merely “great” and some were “ALSDKFJDSJLASD GREAT.” I am sure you can understand that feeling.)

+ Billy Kaplan AKA Wiccan: He’s the son of Vision and the Scarlet Witch, who are also in these comics! Billy may not be my favoritest, but his existence makes me very hopeful for a possible Young Avengers movie spin-off, since both of his parents were in the recent film Avengers: Age of Ultron. There is a PERFECT opportunity to introduce him and, by extension, the rest of the Young Avengers!

+ Teddy Altman AKA Hulkling: He is literally the sweetest? And OMG A TEENY-TINY HULKING AWWW.

+ Noh-Varr AKA Marvel Boy: He’s an alien! And part cockroach, apparently – I don’t even know. Don’t question the logic of comics, all right?!

+ Kate Bishop AKA Hawkeye: The adult Hawkeye – AKA Clint Barton – is her mentor! She is adorable and very talented with a bow and arrow. I don’t understand why Age of Ultron had that scene with Clint’s family when the filmmakers could’ve included his friendship/mentoring thingy with Kate instead? Whatever.

america chavez+ David Alleyne AKA Prodigy: HE IS THE SWEETEST. And the brilliantest. (That’s totally a word.) And he made me cry. Oh, and he’s also one of the X-Men! SO MANY CROSSOVER CHARACTERS IN THESE COMICS OH MY.

+ America Chavez AKA Miss America: MY DARLING. MY PRECIOUS. THE LOVE OF MY LIFE. ET CETERA. I’m pretty sure a full half of the sassy comments are made by America? She’s wonderful and I love her so much. She likes punching people. Her hair-and-outfits game is ON POINT. One time she kicked through a window and it was awesome.

There’s also Kid Loki, who is kind of a member of the Young Avengers, but also kind of an antagonist. I don’t know. It’s complicated. He is basically just as complicated and morally-gray as the adult version of Loki from other comics (as well as the MCU).

(And if you’re like me, and originally balk at reading these comics because, “I’m not reading anything with a character named Kid Loki in it. That’s just RIDICULOUS and I REFUSE,” you should… trust me. Just trust me, OK? His name is ridiculous but the character is definitely NOT.)

All of these characters are awesome. Oh, and did I mention that they’re all diverse? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM? To begin with, there are a few racially diverse superheroes – Prodigy is black, and America is Latina.

And even better, EVERY SINGLE YOUNG AVENGER IS QUEER. The level of visibility or “outness” varies from character to character: It is merely implied that Kate and Noh-Varr are queer, while Loki is happy to make out with anyone but doesn’t try to do so until towards the end of volume three. Wiccan and Hulking, on the other hand, spend pages upon pages making out, and America is the lesbianest lesbian ever to lesbian.

And then there’s Prodigy.

OK, so before I go any further, I should probably point out that I don’t normally get all that attached to queer male characters? I mean, I like them and everything, but I just… become way way more emotionally invested in the queer ladies’ stories? Probably because I can relate to them better?

So I was kind of surprised to find that I liked Prodigy’s queer subplot more than America’s! As I said before, he made me cry… when he came out. OH MY GOD PRODIGY YOU ARE… YOU ARE THE BEST.

young avengers - prodigy“It was like an awakening. It was like realizing something that was always true and I just couldn’t see it until now. It was like all the rooms in my head opening.”

I just… I can actually relate to that? For once? I KNOW THAT FEELING. AND HE DESCRIBED IT SO WELL AAAAH OMG. And – although I can’t relate to this bit, because I am HELLA GAY – it’s soooo important to have bi characters in fiction. We need more of them! And we need more who proudly label themselves as such, and don’t avoid the issue.

Please excuse me while I go cry about tiny queer superheroes.

I love the Young Avengers series, and I think you would as well. These comics are fun, colorful, action-packed, well-thought-out, crammed with great characters, and absolutely overflowing with diversity and awesomeness and sass.

In order, the books are:

  • Young Avengers: Style > Substance
  • Young Avengers: Alternative Culture 
  • Young Avengers: Mic-Drop at the Edge of Time and Space

Now GO READ THEM. If you love comics, these books are for you. If you think you don’t like comics, then these books are also for you. Do I even need to give any more reasons? UGH JUST START READING. PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Books and Reading!, LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to You Need To Read Kieron Gillen’s “Young Avengers” Comics ASAP

  1. Bec Graham says:

    Um…I WANT THESE IN MY LIFE SO BADLY! SO, SO BADLY! They sound amazing!!!

  2. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    I thiiink (???) I read one of these? like I KNOW I did because of the characters, but now I can’t remember which one it was. I think they were going to go rescue someone in some mountains. *nods* I’m super detailed, I KNOW. Anyway, I lvoed it! I did. I didn’t like how they kind of indicated they were super awesomer than the original heroes. Like, that the original heroes were incompetent? That’s just the vibe I got and it made me sad. BUT. That could just be me reading into things too much. XD I did love them and the diversity and the intense cutness. I need kid-loki though. Why did I not get Kid-Loki.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Pffft. Well, there is actually more than one version of the Young Avengers. Maybe you read a version that wasn’t written by Gillen?!

      Yeah… yeah, that’s true. They have SOOOO much attitude when it comes to those things. 😛

  3. thelonglifeofalifelongfangirl says:

    They’re good, but so cheesy at times too – I’m glad I read them though! Honestly, the main reason I did is because I saw them advertised as being about “queer teen superheroes” so I knew I had to read them 😛

  4. Pingback: Why Queer Friendship In The “Young Avengers” Is Important & Realistic | Musings From Neville's Navel

  5. Miriam Joy says:

    They sound good, but I tend to find comics and graphic novels quite hard to follow 😦 Idk, I’m bad at pictures, and I can’t usually follow the storyline very well, I just get confused. I need words.

    • nevillegirl says:

      *nodnod* I can understand that. For what it’s worth, though, if you do decide to try these books? They’re quite short… like, a quarter of the length of something like V For Vendetta. 😛 If that helps at all. 🙂

      • Miriam Joy says:

        Not really, it’s more about art style and amount of dialogue and things rather than length. If my library has them, I’ll flick through and see how I think I’d get on, but I didn’t see them last time I looked.

    • nevillegirl says:

      That was my point – if you have a hard time with the art style and whatnot, at least you don’t have to slog through hundreds of pages in order to finish the story. 🙂

  6. Pingback: 2015 Pride Recap | And What To Expect In July & August | Musings From Neville's Navel

  7. This is super super late, but I read this post back in June and had been looking for these comics ever since. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found the bindup at my local library last Saturday. I read it yesterday, and I finished it in one sitting (which I never do). This was my first superhero comic books (and my first superhero books actually) and I am in love. Prodigy’s being Bi was just so important to me, even though I’m not bi myself (but I might be? I honestly have no idea what my sexuality is yet, but anyway) because of the representation and it was just all so amazing so thank you for introducing this to me! (I’m sorry this is late and probably awkward. *hides shyly*)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, don’t worry – it’s not awkward at all! I love getting comments, no matter how late they may be. And I leave plenty of comments on old blog posts too. 😛 Actually, I’m just impressed/honored that although you read this post soooo long ago, you commented on it to tell me you liked the recommendation! *happy feels* I’m so glad you enjoyed the Young Avengers comics, and that Prodigy meant a lot to you. I ❤ finding books about queer characters.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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