Young Avengers #4 review

My, this is a bright and breezy read. Yes, Young Avengers #4 revolves around evil parents trying to slay their children, but creators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie unfold events so lightly that reading this is like swimming in a sumptuous superhero souffle.

Interdimensional parasite Mother, accidentally summoned to Earth by inexperienced/bungling warlock Wiccan, wants to suck up the teenage heroes' souls. This issue she enlists hundreds of New York parents in her campaign.

The kids are fighting back, though. Marvel Boy, who prefers to be called Noh-Varr, and Hawkeye Kate Bishop arrive on Earth after their spacey playdate, and give the besieged Wiccan, Hulkling, Kid Loki and Miss America a hand. Kate grabs a Kree energy bow while Noh-Varr uses the power of Awesome and Seventies Disco.

Loki, bereft of his Norse spells, turns to his other specialist area - manipulation, and sows seeds of doubt in Hulking's mind (click on image to enlarge). And he tries something new - flirting. I can't see Hulking and Wiccan asking him along on one of their dates, though.
The chemistry between the characters in Young Avengers powers us from page 1 to page 20 at breakneck pace, with Gillen's dialogue and McKelvie's designs providing more pleasure per panel than probably any other superhero book out there. The heroes' distinct personalities shine through as Gillen finds the perfect balance between drama and laughs. As for Mother, she's not the most charismatic villain, but she works well as a maguffin to bring the heroes together, being a credible threat whose MO casts a light on the Young Avengers' backgrounds.

And not that a Brit would ever show off, but McKelvie really demonstrates his talent for staging a fight scene as he executes a spread in which Noh-Varr takes out the forces of Mother at Mary Jane Watson's nightclub. It's probably a good thing my scanner can't cope with double-pagers, because work this good is best enjoyed in context - and I want folk to support this series.

Credit where credit's due - background artist Mike Norton most likely should share the plaudits for the double-page delight ... and if he wasn't involved, he still merits loads of love for providing the convincing cityscapes and interiors. Completing the core creatives are colourist Matthew Wilson, who gives the nighttime-set scenes a splendidly moody glow; and letterer Clayton Cowles, whose clean fonts tickle the eye.

Kate gets a new costume, similar to the old one but without the flappy, floaty bits that would seriously impede an archer's ability - goodness, she might as well have wore a peripheral vision-knackering hood ... not that any battling bowman would be quite that dim. Kate also gets a mystery, expressing relief that (a facsimile of) her own mother hasn't been conjured up by the parasite - that, to me, says that if Kate thinks her Mom is dead, she's wrong. Time for a talk with Daddy Derek?

Oh, and there's another standout page but, well, even describing it would spoil the casual amusement it presents. Don't hate me, trust me.

Seriously, if you've not tried this $2.99 series and can spare the cash, buy the back issues or just dive right in; it's so intelligently serialised, with each satisfying chapter topped by a stylish recap page, that there's really no fear of being lost. Otherwise, drop hints that you want the trade collection that comes out in time for your birthday in September. Your birthday's not in September? So fib. It's what Kid Loki would want.


  1. why did loki do it

  2. Loki's motives aren't yet known. It's worth following the comic to see his story unfold.

  3. actually that was a joke using the solicit of gillen's last issue of journey into mystery and also a future issue of ya but a twist answereing why loki did it

  4. The issue was amazing and I loved Loki pointing out what should have been obvious about Billy and Teddy. The way Gillen writes in general and Loki specifically you know there h as to be a plan for that little scene and I can't wait to see how it unfolds. I love how Gillen is writing the boys. They didn't seem as naturally gay and like actual gay teens when a gay writer was handling them...

    1. Yeah, Gillen is knocking it out of the park, as sporty types say.

  5. Hello Martin,

    That Marvel Boy splash was wonderful, wasn't it? Don't know about you but I'll never look at another of those Spidey acrobatic after image sequences the same way again until they include a "Now my shoes are ruined!"



Post a Comment