The problem with Kieron Gillen is that he is too intelligent. He has already described his creative process, before you have even read his book. His passion for his craft has led him to write essays on the characters he is about to take you on a journey with, told you what songs to listen to, and what company they will bring. We have meaning and an in-depth insight of the cast he is writing, before paper is even put to print. The development of the narrative involves building a personal rapport with the people it describes, but essential pre-reading may hinder our nurturing affections for characters. Gillen is such an incredible writer that he takes these risks head on, and pushes you further into more complex relationships. He creates the foundation but builds on this, taking the Young Avengers to designs and heights uncharted. It is a skill only reached by the best writers. Jamie McKelvie has worked with Kieron on their successful Phonogram titles, and has gained further recognition on his work on Defenders and the redesign of Captain Marvel. The British pairing brings to you the relaunch of the Young Avengers book with incredible expectation and anticipation, and especially the return of Kid Loki.
Keiron Gillen has a very natural style of writing. He knows where he wants to go with his characters and what relationships and themes he wants to develop. All six protagonists are chosen for very specific purposes, and they will come of age and move on from their base characteristics. Jamie McKelvie has a simple and clear way of drawing. His characters are well proportioned and the thin pencil detailing, gives rise to very attractive facial features. As natural a writer Gillen is, Jamie has a realness to people’s postures and emotive expressions. The colouring is vibrant and clear, there is minimal shading used, giving a crisp quality to his art. The perfectly well defined, unblemished art is a fantastic accompaniment for the youthful, uninhibited and unmoulded cast it depicts.
The intro sequence is full of surprises and subtle highlights, including a wonderfully self aware Kate Bishop reflecting over her erotic encounter with the sexy, dancing, 60’s girl band loving, tight boxer briefs wearing Noh-Varr. The proceeding action sequence is superbly panelled, contrasting Kate’s usefulness as a non superpowered hero and Noh-Varr’s super instincts and weaponry skills. We then take the next two male members of the team, who deliberate over their romantic relationship and its foundation in superheroism. I have rarely read such emotional scripting in the heat of an argument. Sprinkle in the cheeky trickster Loki who is clearly playing around with the tough no-nonsense Miss America, and you have a veritable mix of young heroes with a point to prove. The basis of a team is formed here, but we have only taken three incredibly different scenarios, and I look forward to them combining.
It is unknown as to where this book will go and with whom at its helm. I do wonder how easy Gillen’s vision will come to the stage, as the characters are all very unique, emotive and independent. The double page spread near the end of the book is lovely from a narrative perspective, as it shows three separate coloured intertwining stories. However in attempting to culminate these plot threads, we are treated to a rather forced confrontation between new teammates. This appears to have no real impact on the story, except to remove Hulkling from his room, and show some angst from Miss America. As good as this book is, it is not perfect. The wonderfully paced romance rhetoric leads to a rushed surprise reconciliation at the end of the book. Its rapid pace lessens the intended impact of the twist on the final page. I have an immense amount of faith in Keiron Gillen. In bringing together these unlikely heroes, even though we already know so much about them, he has produced an exciting refreshing take on the young Avengers and I am sure there is much more to be discovered.
“I lie in the strange bed and watch this beautiful alien boy dance to the music my parents loved” 9/10