Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Things I Read for Love: The Young Avengers by Allan Heinburg

First of all, for those of you who are thinking "Why the hell is she reviewing comic books, and why should I care?" Please click here for an explanation. This is me stepping further outside my comfort zone, and it's freaking scary out here. Too many BOOOM!s

Young Avengers apparently serves as the origin story for a group of teenage heroes with various powers, who want to live up to their idols and save people. And blow things up. The knowledge I had of this world prior to reading the book came from watching Marvel movies, and one sentence of explanation from Fiance stating "The Avengers have split up. Just read it." But I was still reasonably able to follow what was going on. A kid who now calls himself Iron Lad comes to the present from the 30th century, finds a robot fellow named Vision, and uses him to track down other young heroes for the new Avengers team. They get together and start training themselves and fighting crime as best they can, but the minute former Avengers Captain America and Iron Man hear about it, they want to shut them down. There's time travel and there are aliens and it's very comic bookish, but surprisingly entertaining.

Positive Comments

The moment that I realized I might actually like this book came when Kate Bishop was introduced. After more or less rescuing herself from a hostage situation at a wedding, Kate follows the Young Avengers back to the old Avengers mansion, and proceeds to go through the bedrooms and find weapons to strap on over her bridesmaid dress. That is awesome.

There are a lot of great character moments like that. I really loved how the art and the story combined to portray these guys as both heroes and realistic teenagers with typical teenage problems.

I loved the casual yet positive portrayal of gay characters. Once it's revealed that Billy and Teddy (Hulkling and Wiccan) are a couple, everyone is cool with it and happy for them. Even their parents are quick to adopt the attitude of "We love you and we're proud of you." Very cool of you, Marvel.

The dialogue is fun and snappy. I laughed out loud several times.

I both loved and hated the somewhat convoluted nature of the plot. It definitely kept me interested. At the same time, my brain will always rebel at the task of figuring out time travel and time streams and alternate realities and possible futures. I refuse to even contemplate that sort of non-logic. But other than that, the plot is good.

Critical Comments

Cassie Lang, (daughter of the Ant Man, I guess), is profoundly annoying. I couldn't fathom why, in a book with so few female characters, you would have one of them be a whiny and immature fourteen year old with Daddy Issues. Did the team really need her? No.

The other character arc, involving the use Mutant Growth Hormone to give normal people super powers, was weak and pointless. It kind of seemed like they were trying to portray drug use as a bad thing, but truthfully in this universe, drugs save the day. The super soldier serum that makes Captain America a super hero is more or less a drug. Sure, it's a one time use, non-addictive, no side affects drug. The way things turn out in this book, it's a little hard to see the difference between that and constant MGH use. Are we saying that drugs are okay, for a good cause?


I was surprised to like this book. I don't have the time, or necessarily the inclination, to get sucked into the larger universe. But if I were curious enough, this seemed like a good book to start with. It stands alone well and is an entertaining story in it's own right. 4 stars.

Buy from Amazon: Young Avengers

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