Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bye, Kids: Thoughts on the Young Avengers Afterparty

Do you even go here?

Disclaimer: I really did love Young Avengers. It was great in a lot of ways, and I want to get the trades and cradle them to my bosom. I just was not crazy about the way they handled the ending.

The epilogue of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's Young Avengers was split into two issues (#14 came out on Dec. 18 and #15 came out yesterday) dubbed the "afterparty," and honestly, I'm not sure it was a great choice. Maybe it would have worked better as a single long (but stilled pared down) issue, as two low-key, repetitive issues spaced weeks apart kinda deprived the series of its "oomph." Rather than being a snappy, satisfying, Austen-style wrap-up, this dragged a bit. Billy and Teddy's relationship is fine, which we knew. Noh-Varr and Kate's relationship is over, which we knew. America is gay, which we knew. Loki's having an existential crisis, which we knew. No one cares what happened to Tommy, which we knew. Oh, and he's back, and Kate's dating him again, even though that sounds like the most aggravating punishment a person could inflict on herself. (Why was he in this series, again?)

By the time Noh-Varr rambles on about his romantic and Earth-related choices again and Loki half-heartedly hits on David and Patriot arrives and is still mysterious for whatever reason and the gang is like, "well, I guess we'll go on another adventure or whatever," I just wanted Loki: Agent of Asgard to start and kick some life back into at least one of these characters. We know he gets to go to Paris, at least, so hopefully things for him look up after he ditches the drab party.

Another questionable choice was the use of guest art. While the art was good, and some of it wonderful, this is our big "goodbye" to the characters, and since McKelvie's art has been so key to the series, it was jarring to have the many different looks here (the multiverse arc would have been an awesome place for this). Of these two issues, I think it worked best in America's section in YA #14. Christian Ward's bright, star-studded look felt right for the story of America's childhood in another dimension's utopia, and I loved how the watercolor look started playful, became frenzied with angst and rage, and then muddied into disappointment and resignation.

America leaves her princess-superhero wonderland.

Ok, so that was almost all kinda negative. What did I like besides the America part?

-Kate and America's banter.

-Noh-Varr walking around shirtless and with headphones, especially by Annie Wu and Jordie Bellaire.

Damn, girls. Nice work.

-Learning Loki tips service workers well. Looks like he stopped by his parents' for some funds. Did he ever pay back Billy for covering his diner tab, though?

"No, I don't know what happened to the treasure chest, Moms. God!"

-David's face when Patriot violates his personal space (Joe Quinones's work).

New best reaction image.

So, it wasn't a great ending, but it was a great series. Witty, fun, pretty, inventive. Seamlessly diverse. Even if Gillen and McKelvie are done with this story, I hope what they've built here lives on. I want to see America wrestle with her past and be awesome. I want to see Noh-Varr grow as a person. I want to see David be super smart and stylish. And I especially want to see all these characters interact again. I hope Loki and Kate text their friends some invites for Loki: Agent of Asgard (out Feb. 5) and Hawkeye (#16 out Jan. 22).

Lunch is on Kate and Loki, since they're the only ones with jobs now.

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