Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Young Avengers: Style > Substance (v2 #1-5)

Writers: Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Cover artist: Jamie McKelvie
Variant Covers for the first arc by Bryan Lee O'Malley, Stephanie Hans, Tradd Moore, David Lafuente, and original series artist Jim Cheung. Bryan Lee O'Malley would also draw a variant cover for the first issue of Gillen/McKelvie's most recent project, The Wicked and the Divine, published by Image.

Miss America sketch by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Collected in:
  • Young Avengers: Style > Substance (Marvel Comics, Sep 10 2013)
  •  Young Avengers: Style > Substance (Panini Comics, Aug 28 2013)
  •  Young Avengers by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie Omnibus (Marvel Comics, Dec 16 2014)
  •  #1-5 are available on Comixology and as part of Marvel Unlimited.

-        Kieron Gillen adds page-by-page writers notes for all of his works, including titles by other publishers (e.g. Three, Uber), which are available on Tumblr and his Workblog. His commentaries for Young Avengers features some pretty insightful stuff.

-        Similarly, Gillen has created musical playlists for Young Avengers and Journey Into Mystery, compiling tracks which, as he explains on Tumblr, either link to the issue or influenced his writing. The playlist for Young Avengers are available on Spotify here. There's also a separate playlist for The Afterparty.

-        Gillen and McKelvie wrote a prelude to this series, The New World, for the Marvel NOW! Point One anthology, centring around Miss America meeting Loki. However this story occurred in Earth-212, not 616. Previously, Miss America and Loki had been featured in Vengeance and Journey Into Mystery respectively.

-        Each of these issues are enhanced for Marvel AR content. Content for #3-5 is available on YouTube.

 #1 "Style > Substance

Continuity Notes

-        During his conversation with Billy in their apartment, Hulkling refers to himself as seventeen.

-        Hulkling says to Billy "the only mom I ever knew got burned alive in front of me. And for the last year, I've been stroking your hair and saying it's going to be okay." It's pretty clear Billy and Teddy have been together for at least a year at this point.

-        Around the same time, Billy also appears briefly in Avengers Assemble Annual #1, which centres around the newly-rebuilt Vision and his quest to reconcile himself in the post-Disassembled, post-Civil War world. In the final scene, the Vision meets Billy at his apartment. As Billy appears in full costume, the implication is this occurs after he has retaken the mantle, however it's also possible that the costume is a formality for meeting the Vision, and actually occurs before this. Gillen's response on Tumblr indicates that this appearance occurs before #1, noting "Wiccan is basically past the completely immobile part of his depression. He's almost always fine. The problem is when anything about doing superheroing again comes up, when he explodes. Which is basically what happened in YA1."

-        Hulkling shapeshifts into the guise of the Superior Spider-Man, indicating that this is within a month or two of Dying Wish/My Own Worst Enemy, and the initial titles in the Marvel NOW! relaunch. Peter/Octavius adopts a new costume in The Superior Spider-Man #14.

-        Hawkeye also appears in the Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction, alongside Clint Barton. How exactly these two series link with each other has been a repeated joke between Gillen and Fraction when asked by fans, but how exactly they do link will be (attempted to be) detailed in the sections on Hawkeye.

-        Marvel Boy last appeared as The Protector in the Avengers vs. X-Men arc of Avengers vol. 5. Noh-Varr explains "My people ordered me to stay away from Earth. The Avengers felt similarly. Which was fair. I didn't exactly do myself proud."

-        The core character link to the previous incarnation of the title, Wiccan and Hulkling, both previously appeared in Avengers: The Children's Crusade. Both were likely 17 by the end of that story, indicating this is some months after the conclusion of Children's Crusade. At the end of Children's Crusade, Teddy proposes to Billy; an apartment together is only a logical next step.

-        As for Tommy's presence (a theme throughout the overall 15 issue arc), Hulkling explains that because the Kaplans "were so understanding" about Billy and Teddy getting an apartment together, "they drove Speed so crazy he had to move out!" We see Tommy at his new job in #6.

-        This issue occurs entirely at night.

       Pop Culture

-        Noh-Varr's room features posters for the films Metropolis (1927), Spirited Away (2001) and Blow-Up (1966).

-        Noh-Varr plays 'Be My Baby' for Kate, a 1963 song by The Ronettes. He will play this track for her again in #15.

-        The waiter at Joe's Diner refers to Loki as "cosplay boy."

       #2 "DYS"

      Continuity Notes

-        This issue picks up from #1 in the next morning.

 -   A flashback in #10 bridges the gap between #1 and #2, showing Loki manipulating Billy overnight. The captions indicate this was "half a year ago." The flashbacks in #7 indicate that the first story arc occurs in February.

-        The Uncanny Avengers (or, formally, the Unity Squad) cameo in this issue.

       #3 "Parent Teacher Disorganisation"

      Continuity Notes

-        The Young Avengers go to MJ's Bar in New York, introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #686. This has been decimated by Superior Spider-Man #15, but is rebuilt in subsequent issues.

      Pop Culture

-        Wiccan says "This looked more fun in Fellowship," a reference to the first Lord of the Rings film, based on J.R.R. Tolkien's book.

-        Loki compares himself to Tyrion from Game of Thrones. "You watch and/or read it?" Based on George R. R. Martin's epic novel series, the acclaimed HBO adaptation began in 2011. As well as being roughly the same height as Loki and steeped in mythical history, the man who portrays Tyrion in the series, Peter Dinklage, would go on to portray Boliviar Trask, the creator of the Sentinel project, in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.

      #4 "Deus Ex Machine Gunner"

      #5 "The Art of Saving the World"

      Continuity Notes

-        It's in this issue that the Young Avengers officially, officially reform, along with the debut of Wiccan's new 'cosmic' costume, designed by McKelvie. The design and some commentary is available on his blog.

-        Hawkeye says "In addition to the accidental Skrull thing? I've been with Clint. You know, the original Hawkeye...", clarifying that this is at least some point during Fraction's run, be it before her move to L.A. or after.

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