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Young Avengers #1
One place I will really give Marvel the advantage over their Distinguished Competition is that they like to set up new heroes that, should the day ever come that Captain America and Spider-Man are no more, can continue protecting the people of the world. Sure it's been done, but Marvel keeps the same consistency with these characters that makes you believe they could be big time heroes one day. The Young Avengers are just one of those many teams and with a roster of mostly unfamiliars to the casual reader, it's actually one of the most refreshing comics from Marvel NOW!
Kieron Gillen is the writer on this new teenager focused series and after his lackluster Iron Man debut, I was cautious to say the least, but I think every comic deserves a fair chance. Young Avengers is a good example of a comic that does characters right. It starts off with a bang and begins to set the stage for the eventual team up of the characters. Introducing them all in pairs is a good way to speed up the story while still allowing the reader an opportunity to get to know each of them individually. This style of writing can really only work for so long before the story reaches its boiling point, but for the time being it's solid.
We've seen this “team assemblage” story in Marvel comics before, even during Marvel NOW! But not one that's been this fresh, however. Instead of the usual 'lets form a team' and huzzah a team is here, Gillen takes a slower approach that, while not totally clear in the debut issue, makes for a good read. Though like most 'getting the band together' stories, it's kind of light on plot. There are sprinkles of what we will see in the future, but not enough to really get a grasp on the direction, until the ending. I won't say how this #1 issue ends, but lets just say it totally makes sense why the team gets together for this new series.
Jamie McKelvie is the series artist, with some help from Mike Norton, and he does a good job. It's the mark of a good team when two pages of fairly intense personal dialogue is both interesting to read and fun to look at. McKelvie has a lot of different settings and characters with a wide array of powers that he can play with here and he makes them all look and feel unique. What is going on in the plot for this series is a clearly a deeply personal story for the characters and it's really boosted by McKelvie's art.
Young Avengers is at a disadvantage before it even got published, though. Part of the reason for Marvel NOW! is to create good jumping on points for new readers, but how many of them are going to willingly try a team of heroes they've never heard of? If I fancied a guess, not many, but what do I know. If you're reading this, consider yourself a new reader, and want to start reading quality comics and not just comics with your favorite hero in them. Young Avengers is as good a place as any to start. It has a good ensemble of characters, a wonderful message, and great artwork.
Rating: 9 / 10
Head over to Page 2 for our Uncanny X-Force review!