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Young Avengers #1 with Kate (and Dan)

Young Avengers::Kate is ravenously reading articles about Spider-Man appearing in upcoming Marvel movies.::

Kate: ::looks up from laptop:: OK. So the “too good looking to be Peter Parker” Andrew Garfield guy is going to appear in the next Marvel movie? Isn’t Spidey already part of the Marvel universe?

Dan: Yes he is, but Marvel didn’t have the rights to put him on the big screen, Sony did. And Marvel studios hasn’t announced who would play the web-slinger in the Avengers movies.

::whispers:: I’m pulling for Donald Glover.

K: Huh. So Spider-Man hangs out with Tony Stark? That’s kinda creepy when you think about it. A billionaire playboy hanging out with a college age boy who wears a spandex suit. Doesn’t Tony have people his own age to fight crime with? What about Thor? How do Asgardians age? Is it 1 earth year to 3 Nordic mythology years? I understand that Captain America is like 90 years old, but that feels more age appropriate. This all sounds like that Dark Knight-guy and his young ward Robin. That was a May-December sidekick pairing if you asked me. What kind of creeper books are you handing me week after week?

D: ::blinks:: As usual this took a weird turn. Spider-Man has been part of the Avengers and it was totally legit. Nothing creepy or strange about it. The Avengers fight crime and bad guys, just like Spidey does. They joined forces and fought crime and bad guys together. He isn’t their kid sidekick, he’s a full-fledged member of the team. Sometimes. It’s complicated.

K: Ok, so… HEY! Why don’t The Avengers have side-kicks, anyway? The DC guys have little buddies: Green Arrow has Speedy, The Flash has Kid Flash, and Plastic Man has Woozy Winks.

D: Woozy whatnow?

K: I found that one on Wikipedia. But he wasn’t really a KID sidekick. He was more of a delusional adult. Come to think of it, Woozy Winks really needed help.

::awkward silence::

What I’m getting at is the Marvel gang doesn’t appear to have many sidekicks. They’re all lone wolves until they team up to fight interstellar bad dudes.

D: That is straight-up correct. Funny you should mention this. Fellow Crimespree Comics Editor Jo Schmidt is always throwing new books my way. He’s been telling me about YOUNG AVENGERS for the last four years. Time to get this baby on the lift, and check under its hood!

K: Wha?

D: Just read the book and see if you like it.

K: I’m no “Comic Book PHD” or anything, but that had to be one of the best single issues I’ve ever read. It’s just so well done on so many levels.

D: Doesn’t your business card read, “Kate Malmon: Dean of Comic Books”? I’m pretty sure it does.

K: I don’t have business cards. Wait. Do you have business cards?! Why don’t I have business cards???

D: Dummy, you have cards right here. *Writes “DEAN OF COMICS” on scrap of paper with Sharpie*

K: Thanks! I think.

D: You’re welcome, Dean! Through a long series of events that took place before this book…

K: … You mean the “Disassembled” storyline?

D: Er… yes. Good job.

K: That’s why the call me the DEAN!

D: Anyway, The Avengers broke up. So when people needed rescuing from a huge fire, who shows up to help? Not The (OLD) Avengers, but the Young Avengers! Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson wants to know who this new super team is so he sends his super-hero correspondent Jessica Jones out to get the scoop.

K: We read about her before, right? She was crabby and pregnant in that book like she was in this one, right? I had a little déjà vu about that.

D: We did read about Jessica Jones in ALIAS awhile back. And, yes. She’s always pregnant, but we love her anyway. YOUNG AVENGERS takes place at the same time as ALIAS. That’s why Jessica is still pregnant. And crabby.

K: Got it. Jessica sets out with fellow Bugle reporter Kat Farrell to track down the new Avengers crew. Turns out they aren’t officially sanctioned to be Avengers, unlike official sometimes Avenger Spider-Man. They also aren’t exactly a well-oiled superhero team. Gunmen take over a chapel where a wedding is happening and the Young Avengers try to save the day. They end up almost burning down the church instead. Not exactly a great way to introduce your new super group to the world.

D: Did you catch who took down the lead gunman? A lady by the name of Kate, whom you may eventually get to know as…

K: THE DEAN OF COMICS!

D: …Hawkeye.

K: Oh yeah. I did catch that. After the debacle at the church, the Young Avengers realize they need some work on their super-heroing. They will need to be ready when Kang the Conqueror shows up, at least that’s what Iron Lad (aka Young Ironman) tells the crew. But that will have to wait for another day since they have to be home before curfew on a school night.

D: I should have listened to Jo sooner! This book is fabulous! Writer Allan Heinberg is clearly a fanboy at heart. In the course of a single issue, he manages to give us a very specific place and time in Marvel continuity: a time without Avengers. By placing the focus on the Jessica Jones and the staff at the Bugle, the reader gets a real feel for the importance of the Avengers, and what the team means to the city. Heinberg plunges the reader right into the story from panel one. We get all the backstory and characters we need without being too dialog heavy. There is action, my friends. Oh, yes. You get that right away. This is another great example of concise storytelling the draws the audience in and makes sure that they get their money’s worth.

K: Can we talk about that scene at the opening of the book? You know, the one where J Jonah Jameson tells the story about how he wanted to be Bucky when he was little. JEEEZUS. You get more insight into JJJ from this one scene than we’ve hardly seen in years. It’s so easy, and fun, to play him as a one-note cartoon. I love this scene.

D: Jim Cheung’s art in the book is equally amazing. His panels are very detailed and add depth to the story. Detailed without being photo-realistic, organic without being overly-rendered. Just wonderful.

K: Jo knew what he was talking about when he recommended this book to you years ago. Why didn’t you listen to him then? I wonder what other treasures Jo knows about that we aren’t reading…

 

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