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The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Young Avengers

The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Young Avengers

This week on The Wednesday Club, Geek & Sundry’s weekly show discussing comic book heroes and stories, hosts Taliesin Jaffe, Amy Dallen, and Matt Key turned their sights on Marvel’s Young Avengers.

The Wednesday Club

Unlike DC Comics, Marvel Comics is surprisingly devoid of young sidekicks who are basically copies of the heroes they are paired with. The Young Avengers aren’t sidekicks, but make good use of their youth in the storytelling.

“Teenagers and superpowers go together really well,” said Taliesin. “This is one of those things that just seems to work out naturally… And superpowers are great tools for metaphors when talking about the sort of problems that teenagers can have.”

While the teens may be superficially modeled on the famous faces of the Avengers, their stories and personalities are all their own. “There’s no one you don’t enjoy spending time with in these books,” said Taliesin.

Young Avengers By Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung

After the Avengers disband due to the events of Avengers Disassembled, brave teenage heroes step up to fill their shoes. Even if you’ve never picked up a Marvel comic book before, you’ll recognize who the starring characters are based on thanks to the movies, said Taliesin. “Even better, the person who introduces you to the team is Jessica Jones.”

“It is surprisingly newbie friendly,” Amy said. “It’s packed to the gills with Marvel continuity stuff, but if you don’t know it, it reads well and they explain everything you need to know. The thing that Allan Heinberg did really beautifully was give them each a different path in… Everyone has different reasons for being there.

“This is one of my favorite books of all time.”

(Marvel Comics, Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung)

Truth: Red, White, & Black

This seven-issue series explores the idea of a Captain America that history forgot, but his children didn’t. Based on the real-life Tuskagee Experiments of the World War II era, in this series black soldiers were forced to be test subjects of the same super-serum that created Captain America. In only one case did it succeed, on a soldier named Isaiah Bradley. His grandson would go on to take on the mantle of Patriot in the Young Avengers.

“This is basically a place where [Marvel] took an opportunity to add a measured real world context to their mythology in a way that made a lot of sense,” said Amy.

“It is an amazing book,” said Taliesin.

(Marvel Comics, Robert Morales and Kyle Baker)

Young Avengers Presents

Young Avengers Presents

Each Young Avenger takes the spotlight in this limited series. Patriot, Hulking, Wiccan, Marvel Boy, Vision, Stature, and Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) each stand in the spotlight with the help of various writers and artists. Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker are just some of the names you might recognize behind these one-shot stories.

“[It’s] a little bit of origin, which is really nice,” Taliesin said.

(Marvel Comics, Various)

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade

“The second major Heinberg/Chung run on these characters is collected not as Young Avengers, but as Avengers: The Children’s Crusade,” said Amy. “I love this book.”

The story follows Wiccan and Speed on their mission to find Scarlet Witch with the help of Magneto. When they finally find her, they’re shocked to see that she has no powers and no memory.

“I think Allan Heinberg looked at House of M and said, ‘I know what to do,'” Amy said.

(Marvel Comics, Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung)

Young Avengers

Young Avengers: Style > Substance

Wiccan, Hulking, Kate Bishop, and Marvel Boy team up with Kid Loki and Ms. America in this incredible series. No longer teens, the book opens with Kate waking up from a one-night stand with Marvel Boy.

“Where the first book was about being a teenager, this one is about being a young adult,” said Taliesin. “These are kids who are going out and they’re having sex, and they’re dealing with their reality, and partying, and drinking, and we’re not going to pretend that’s not who these kids are.”

“One of my favorite things about this book is that I feel like it’s everything about really awesome punk rock on the page,” Matt said. “I feel like I am reading punk rock, somehow actualized as a comic.”

“[These books are] a great read if you have a young person in your life. I really dig this,” said Taliesin.

(Marvel Comics, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie)

If you fall in love with the characters of the Young Avengers, there are also several series that dive more into their backstories and personalities. House of M, Journey Into Mystery, Marvel Boy by Grant Morrison, and a Civil War tie-in are also great reads recommended by The Wednesday Club, along with Hawkeye and the new Champions series, which feels a lot like Young Avengers.

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel every Wednesday afternoon to catch the next amazing episode of The Wednesday Club.

Top Images: Geek & Sundry

Other Images: Marvel Comics

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