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    Review: “Young Avengers” #12

    By | November 21st, 2013
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    It was a dark day when Kieron Gillen announced that “Young Avengers” would be ending. Tears were shed, tables were flipped, and my Tumblr dashboard has been a terrified cry for help ever since. And though the pains are still felt, they’re accepted since a concrete endpoint means Gillen and McKelvie will get to tell the one story they want, and “Young Avengers” #12 is the beginning of the end for Marvel’s most fabulous book.

    Mild spoilers ahead!

    Written by Kieron Gillen
    Illustrated by Jamie McKelvie

    The Young Avengers versus “The Young Avengers”. The stakes? What have you got?
    Loki’s scheme reaches its final twist. Expect the team’s jaws to just hit the floor and lie there, twitching for the rest of the comic.
    A tempting offer for Noh-Varr may get an arrow through his head. Other romance based drama too, as kissing is the new planetary extinction event.

    I was sick of Loki a couple hours ago. Thor: The Dark World had brought the Laufeyson back to everyone’s attention and his overexposure was beginning to wear out on me. Even I sort of dreaded this week’s “Young Avengers” because Kieron Gillen’s been writing Loki for more than three years now. After all, it’s not like he has much to say about the Prince of Lies anymore right?

    I was wrong. Only for a few moments, but oh so horribly wrong.

    The last page of this week’s “Young Avengers” is the ultimate realization of Gillen’s depiction of Loki. In just three panels, he brilliantly turns the entire plot onto Loki’s head and leaves him in his most “feels” moment since Journey Into Mystery. Loki’s not the only one to get the feels spotlight. Noh-Varr and Kate share what is quite possibly the most realistic romantic scene in the book. It’s not big or flashy, there’s no great displays of love or anything, but it’s a simple moment that has me… shipping them? God, this is a new sensation. A surprisingly good one, too. Their relationship had been played mostly off-screen or in small bursts until now, which is a shame since the thing that initially sold me on this series was Noh-Varr/Kate hooking up. Now, with just one simple page, it’s paid off in a sweet and simple way. Noh-Varr/Kate aren’t the only feels moment however, as Miss America probably takes away the character moment of the week in an issue full of Tumblr posts in the making.

    The issues not all tears and fears though. Last week featured Prodigy calling up the Marvel Universe’s young heroes to help with the final fight against Mother and her forces. McKelvie has done some of the best work of his career before, but not to the extent he does here. I wish I read “Avengers Academy” or “New Mutants” or whatever book that kid with the machine gun on top of a rock monster kid appeared in because the page he receives is beautiful. McKelvie has been playing with panel layout since issue one and has now reached the point where every other page is both a diabolical diorama and a class in visual storytelling. His art’s great isn’t relegated to just the big fight scenes, however. McKelvie’s expressive faces are a huge reason of why “Young Avengers” appears so often on Tumblr. The one scene I mentioned earlier, with Miss America Chavez, all hinges on one detail of her face. And that one detail, almost easily to miss on a casual read through, speaks volumes about her character. It’s probably the most she’s truly gotten in months and without an artist like Gillen, that moment would not shine nearly as brightly.

    Really, it’s almost a tragedy that this run of “Young Avengers” is ending very soon. I say almost because really, a book like “Young Avengers” needs an ending. It is the most energetically youthful book being produced, from the snappy-but-never-condescending dialogue to the dropdead gorgeous art and killer title pages (shout out to Clayton Cowles for this issue’s.) Really, I think this is a topic I harp about a lot on Multiversity Comics, but it’s insanely refreshing to read a comic that’s not just about young people, but about being young. And not just some generic type of “young.” Young in the now, in 2013. Hell, this might be the one comic that actually involves sexting (kind of.) Even beyond the notion of being in the present it’s still applicable to anyone who’s ever been young: exes long thought gone coming back to haunt you, older people never understanding, and the music; oh god, the music. This isn’t even Phonogram but Gillen and McKelvie’s musical influence can be felt deep within the book, especially in the fanzine-like title page.

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    Honestly, “Young Avengers” is one of those books that came out at the right exact time. For me at least, I’m an 18 year old who recently moved to New York City, so a comic like this is one I definitely need. It is, without a doubt, the most real and honest interpretation of youth culture and I am heavyhearted to see it go, but glad to know it will not outgrow itself and outstay its welcome, transitioning into the stale adults it’s been fighting against. To be fair, Gillen and McKelvie would also probably never allow that to happen on their watch.

    Really though, Gillen should definitely add “Parents Just Don’t Understand” by Will Smith on the “Young Avengers” Spotify playlist.

    Final Verdict: 9.2 – Buy with all the passion that action can muster.


    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.