Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie took on a big challenge when they relaunched Young Avengers for Marvel NOW! The first volume of the franchise (published over seven years ago) is still one of the most revered and beloved runs in modern comics. How do you follow up near-perfection? With yet another run of nigh infallible stories and themes. But is it good?
Young Avengers #13 (Marvel Comics)
The aforementioned question might seem redundant following the aforementioned accolades, but—as the old adage goes: you can’t please everyone all the time. Young Avengers in the Marvel NOW! era has been polarizing, to say the least. There are diehards (like myself) who find Gillen and McKelvie’s style perfect for a series about teenaged superheroes trying to find their place in a world that’s constantly chaotic. Others have not been so fond of the constant use of current slang, minimalist plot outlining, and overt satire.
Young Avengers #13 is not the last issue of Gillen and McKelvie’s run, but it’s the final chapter of their opus about teenagers and adults. From the moment this volume of YA was announced, Gillen made sure to let people know that this series was about what it’s like to be 18, as opposed to Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s original run, which was more about being 16, metaphorically at least. One of the biggest challenges of being on the cusp of adulthood is knowing when and how to cross that threshold and actually be an adult. Last issue, this symbolism became a reality for Loki who actually transformed into an adult once more. This month, that message is conveyed even further as Wiccan must bury his insecurities and become the man he is one day destined to be.
This is the crux of Young Avengers #13, an issue that actually advances the story from being about kids wondering how they’ll ever manage, to being about young adults that have accepted that they must manage or the entire multiverse will crumble under the weigh of interdimensional parasite Mother’s insatiable hunger.
It’s hard to explain exactly why this revelation is discomforting. Part of what made Heinberg and Cheung’s original Young Avengers so appealing was that Patriot, Wiccan, Hulkling, Stature, Hawkeye (II), and Young Vision were the underdogs, constantly worrying about how their actions would effect their surroundings. In many ways, the original lineup of Young Avengers was far more self-aware than their adult counterparts. And while Gillen and McKelvie’s Young Avengers still struggle with those same concerns, it feels a bit empty as their run gets closer to the end.
Wiccan is meant to be the harbinger of a new age of magic, dictated by his own decisions. Loki was never meant to be a child, and only now is coming back into his own as an adult dealing with the fallout of his inner demons. But these are story elements that have been present (arguably) since Young Avengers #1 back in January. Though satisfying to finally see, the final battle with Mother didn’t feel as epic or as important as Gillen probably intended.
- Gillen and McKelvie are a perfect pairing, as always.
- Miss America continues to be one of the best characters in the book.
- Wiccan and Hulkling reunite and it’s emotional high tide.
- Kate Bishop is almost unrecognizable in this issue; Gillen dropped the ball when it comes to her social interactions.
Is it Good?
Young Avengers #13 is a very good comic book. It combines the best of what makes the Young Avengers so entertaining with Gillen and McKelvie’s penchant for minimalist teenage drama that makes the reader think more than just follow. That being said, it’s not for everyone and if you’ve had trouble wrapping your head around the duos take on the Young Avengers in the past, this issue will seem like a quagmire of emotions, metaphorical revelations, and hurried conclusions.
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