Young Avengers #1: Leave Reality Alone

Familiar faces and fresh faces combine to make this new book something kind of different.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

The Young Avengers have had a weird niche in the Marvel Universe. Allen Heinberg and Jim Cheung created them as young heroes inspired by the example set by the Avengers, but they've really been somewhat separate from the main goings-on of the 616 – possibly because of things like a miniseries like Avengers: The Children's Crusade taking over a year to finish. Yet, they have a big cult following, thanks in part to being a book with one of the few gay superhero couples, and so Marvel's trying again with a new creative team on one more Young Avengers #1.

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are bringing back some holdovers from the original team – Wiccan and Hulkling are center stage, and Kate Bishop opens the book having had a fling with Noh-Varr, the former Marvel Boy and Protector (seems she's learning the wrong things from Clint Barton over in Hawkeye). This time around, though, we've got the kid version of Loki in the mix and a surly Miss America Chavez hunting him down, making up for the loss of young Vision, Iron Lad and Stature.

The result so far is a bit iffy, but with hope for improvement. After finding out his true mother is the Scarlet Witch, Wiccan nevertheless heeds none of the lessons learned by her reality manipulation problems, and tries to make his boyfriend happy by pulling a version of his late mother out of another dimension an instant before she was killed. The dialogue in the scene leading up to that rings a little hollow considering all they've been through, and it seems like Wiccan wouldn't be dumb enough to think this would be a smart idea – because it certainly turns out not to be. His boyfriend IS half-Skrull, by the way. The time travel malarkey may have worked to give us Scott Lang back, but it came at the cost of his daughter. It's just such a dumb move.

Plus, there's another painful bit of speech from Kid Loki, when Chavez threatens him. He actually says "Big talk for a nearly indestructible superwoman who can throw tanks to the moon!" That has to be the worst forced expository information about a character ever, because it doesn't even make any sense as a rejoinder from the silver-tongued god of mischief. Gillen is usually better than this.

McKelvie's art is pretty great, although why Chavez is wearing ridiculous hotpants is beyond me. His work is very clean and bright, and the weird pseudo-opening credits Skrull-battle sequence about "Being a Super Hero is Amazing, Everyone Should Try It" speaks to a potential stylization that does not materialize in the rest of the book, but may come to the fore later on down the line.

Still, Young Avengers #1 is fun for the most part, and it should get better once it finds its footing. It's just unfortunate that the first issue in the new era isn't really any kind of knockout.