Saturday, September 3, 2016

Young Avengers Style (something) Substance by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie

Rating: WARTY!

Having been thrilled with Marvel's "Ms Marvel" - the teen version, not the absurdly disjointed, brutal "Civil War" version - and having really enjoyed Marvel's Runaways, I made the mistake of thinking this success could continue. I brought home the first three volumes of the Young Avengers. Was that ever a mistake! The series is boring, ridiculous, bland, and nonsensical. Fortunately, I brought them home from the library and not from the bookstore, so I didn't waste any of my money on these.

Why graphic novel series creators are so dead-set on confusing their readers, especially ones who come late to a series, and are so insistent upon dedicatedly keeping potential readers and fans in the dark about which volume is which is an enduring mystery. Is it really so hard for the publisher or the cover artist to take the perfectly logical, helpful, and simple step of putting a number one on the front cover of volume one? Or would they much rather waste people's time and money? Is it so hard to put a short text reading "Collects Issues 1 through 5"? I guess it is, because the designers here found it far less demanding to put "Style > Substance" on this cover. What does that even mean? Style is greater than substance? It doesn't mean Style over Substance, because that's not the symbol they used! Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. The title doesn't even apply to the story within, which is more like Silage > Frustration.

The goodreads page for this makes it crystal clear how confused the publishers are. The title there is listed as Young Avengers, Vol. 1: Style > Substance (Young Avengers Vol. II #1). Seriously? Someone is very confused and I think it's the graphic novel creators/publishers! Say what you mean, mean what you say. It's that simple.

So, for the uninitiated, Young Avengers was created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung to appeal to a younger audience than comic books evidently do, and features teen characters who are essentially unimaginative rip-offs of more mature and established Marvel characters from The Avengers. Some of these teens are offspring of unholy unions between mature "super heroes" although since none of the "super heroes" ever have sex (or swear! LOL!), it's quite a mystery as to how these offspring were actually conceived. It's not even possible genetically.

Our closest relative on Earth is the chimpanzee with which we share nearly all our genes, yet it's not possible to conceive offspring between humans and chimpanzees even if you could find some low-life chimp who would be willing to volunteer to have sex with an ugly and disgustingly bald human! It's sure as hell not possible to conceive with someone from a different planet. Not after millions of years of divergent and unrelated evolution. Maybe super-heroes have super-eggs or super-sperm?

Evidently the original launch of the Young Avengers was so unsuccessful that it had to be relaunched in January of 2013 by Kieron Gillen who wrote the tedious text, and Jamie McKelvie who did the average art. There's nothing of interest here. Nothing thought-provoking. Nothing engaging. The stories are disjointed and bland, even where they make any kind of sense. There is often little connection between one panel and the next let alone between one part of the story and the next. None of it made any sense or provided any entertainment.

This series features the bizarre "Hulkling" (Theodore Altman), the childish "Kid Loki" (Loki Laufeyson), the ridiculously named "Marvel Boy" (Noh-Varr), the absurdly named "Miss America" (America Chavez), the completely pointless "Patriot" (Elijah Bradley), the only one with a decent name, "Prodigy" (David Alleyne), the unfortunately named "Speed" (Thomas Shepherd), and the inappropriately named "Wiccan" (William Kaplan) who has nothing to do with the religion of Wicca.

The first volume puts the team together despite the team supposedly having been put together earlier during the Heinberg and Cheung era. We get to know nothing about the characters except what we're begrudgingly told, which is very little, so not one of them seemed like a real person to me. They have no personality. In the end, these "heroes' were only their powers, and their power seemed entirely restricted to fighting and mischief - oh, and and eating breakfast. Boring.

The only other thing which featured was that there were a couple of gay or bisexual guys, and those felt like they'd been put in there for no other reason than to ride the LGBTQIA bandwagon. They had nothing else to offer. None of these characters did. Loki was pathetic. Miss America had one trait and one trait only: violence. Not one of them had a life outside of their little clique. it was like a pathetic high-school melodrama.

So what was the story? There was no story. The entire volume was the same as the next two volumes in the series, which consist of pointless traipsing through other dimensions, fighting, and eating breakfast. There was no story. This was garbage.