Iconic Art Post – Young Avengers by Jamie McKelvie

I have always thought that as a blogger it is my role to find the interesting aspects of each book or creator that I review. It is enlightening in a way, as you must find the element of a comic that really distinguishes it from its shelf peers. Recently I have made comments about Kieron Gillen’s Tumblr because it often features insights on characters and his own thought processes. As incredible an adventure this may be into the mind of a book, it stifles my ability to review it. I must delve further and express myself in a way that is inventive and innovative. So when I saw THAT page in Young Avengers, I knew I had to write about it but then I saw Jamie McKelvie’s Tumblr: http://mckelvie.tumblr.com/post/48924217327/young-avengers-4-that-double-page-spread. And yes he explained his thought processes and the ideas behind the page, which meant I had to think hard, and here I am ready to adulate. But first:

Young Avengers v2 004-003It is not often that you come across a page that astounds you to the point that you feel betrayal when turning the page. This is a stunning page in many ways and it innovates the storytelling of an action sequence. The main panel is drawn as an accurately scaled isometric blueprint of the nightclub. It’s a unique portrayal of the surroundings because it highlights their non-essentialness. The action is what is important and we can see Noh-Varr moving fluidly through his surroundings, killing his prey. His multiple postures are suitably heroic and acrobatic as he moves from running upstairs to climbing walls and backflipping off the balcony, whilst destroying a bad guy on his way. Around the borders of the isometric image we have room for emphatic panelling. McKelvie captures the essence of Noh-Varrs movement: the dramatic entrance, the swinging lampshade, the arched back of the flip and the incredible change of the record on the wheels of steel. The additional detail that really does make it appear as a safety guide or an Ikea furniture manual, is the numbered guide. It allows the reader to move with Noh and directs your gaze across the pages. Now this is where this page really becomes interesting.


I was quite inspired by a tweeter called Terence Moreau who writes a blog called dirty fractals. His quite complex thought processes, derived from mathematics and architecture, expressed the ability of an artist to convey their story. There is an incredible amount of information on perspective, orientation and viewpoints and he concludes that satisfaction is derived from the visual networking of icons and how we interpret rolling over the panels. Essentially how we link one frame to another and imagine the motion that is occurring. Jamie McKelvie has thrown taken this concept and found an ingenious way of displaying his pugnacious protagonist. Most actions sequences are drawn sequentially according to a natural movement down a traditional page. Our eyes move in a practised and regular fashion but this double page does not allow that, because our vision moves in an irregular pattern, especially as we are using a key. It is a page worth viewing from afar and examining in detail, the fluidity of movement is present in the central image but the additional information is garnered separately. It is so unique that we are almost lost in what to do, making you feel like a child who is reading his first comic in awe and amazement. It’s amazing and so refreshing to see some innovation in a creative team, which is why Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen will always be worth reading and why I love Young Avengers so much.


  1. Great stuff. I’m waiting to check this out properly in the trade but I love that it exists and is getting attention.

    There are a few Marvel books that are doing interesting with art at the moment (Daredevil and Hawkeye are the other two that spring immediately to mind) and I love the air of friendly competition that seems to exist between them. If this gets Aja/Fraction and Samnee/Waid to lift their games even higher then we all win.

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