Gillen & McKelvie Take On ‘Young Avengers’

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie shake up the YA roster for Marvel NOW - who made the cut?

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Young Avengers

As previously teased, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie – who worked together on the Image title Phonogram – are going to be launching a new Young Avengers book, spinning out of Gillen's Journey Into Mystery – so reports CBR.

The roster will include Wiccan, Hulkling and Hawkeye (Kate Bishop – "Hawkingbird!") from the original crew, but will also sport Noh-Varr, Miss America and the young Loki who, in a twist on the origins of the Avengers, will be instrumental in putting this team together, only this time, it's intentional.

In CBR's extensive interview, he reveals a lot of where he's coming from with this new YA book, including referencing Scott Pilgrim as an influence for the fight scenes, which he's conceptualizing as little music videos. And he's aware of how people might take that.

"It certainly comes on strong," Gillen says. "A big chunk of my favorite pop songs are simultaneously totally ludicrous and absolutely sincere, full of an awareness of how silly it is while taking it all with a completely straight face. This is very much like that. It feels properly pop in a way more than anything I've ever written. I think it's a book that after reading the first eight pages of the first issue people will either be on board or realize it's not for them."

He recognizes the genius of the Allen Heinberg/Jim Cheung genesis of the Young Avengers, but is out to do his own thing.

"The original volume of Young Avengers was a phenomenally successful book," he explains. "I remember when it was announced and people were really cynical about it. Then the book came out and it had a completely respectful view of the long history of the Marvel Universe. It worked brilliantly. I couldn't write that book. I couldn't base a story around a tiny bit of continuity from 30 years ago. I completely respect people that can do that and I love those stories, but that doesn't mean I can.

"So I took a different approach," he continues. "In this world, the Avengers are almost civil servants or firemen or police. They work for the government and they're this enormous organization. But at the core? The real core of the Avengers? It's saving the world, because someone has got to, and that's what Young Avengers is about. They're called 'Young Avengers' even though they're not Avengers. This is fundamentally about the ideal. It's about being a super hero. It's about saving the world because somebody has got to do it."

He's also actually paying attention to Avengers: The Children's Crusade and picking up where that left off.

"We start our first issue with Wiccan and Hulkling," he reveals. "They're our core traditional Young Avengers and everyone else gets gathered around them. As everyone who's read The Children's Crusade knows, Wiccan is pretty fucked up. He's lost a lot of friends and doesn't want to be a super hero anymore. He's very angry and emphatic about that. Hulkling and the other Young Avengers are out doing it on the down low though. So when Wiccan discovers this in the first issue it's almost like he's found out that Hulkling has been cheating on him, and his mistake comes from that. He tries to do something and, as he does it, he realizes that he's actually being kind of selfish.

"If you think about it even for a second Wiccan hasn't got a bad life," he adds. "He's got extra sets of parents. He's incredibly powerful and his mom is the Scarlet Witch. As Hulkling puts it in the first issue, 'That's kind of like realizing Galadriel is you mom.' Conversely, Hulkling had his parents burned alive in front of him. He's got nothing except for Wiccan. So Wiccan slowly realizes he's being an idiot and then he makes a mistake. That mistake is the thing that gathers the rest of the team around them."

Gillen is also having Loki use reverse psychology on Miss America to test her worthiness for the team, and he claims the first major arc is a riff on the Ultron story, but not involving Ultron – more about the "Hank Pym fucks up" idea, which is something Wiccan is doing here.

Gillen on Miss America:  "She's much cooler than everyone else. When we first meet her in the Marvel NOW! Point One issue she's in an alternate dimension, 212, which is an infinite New York. The mountains are made out of Empire State Buildings and things like that. That's my way of reinventing the concept of someone from a cooler place than where you are. It's like that if you meet someone from New York for the first time if you come from somewhere shitty like Stafford. You're a bit starstruck because frankly you're brought up with these ideas in the media that they are in some ways more interesting and worldly than you are, and in may ways they probably are. In a totally in-canon way, Hulkling and Wiccan are glorious big geeks. America Chavez isn't. She's totally bemused by half the stuff they talk about. Miss America is quite mysterious, and it's quite deliberate. Where's she's from? What does she want? What's she doing? Why does she care about Wiccan? Why does Loki appear to know more about her than anybody else? She's the classic mysterious lady. We play that straight and we also play games with it.

On Noh-Varr:  "Noh-Varr has obviously been kicked out of the Avengers. He's been told to leave Earth and the Kree hate him. So we're going to see what he's doing now. I kind of jokingly describe him as alien hipster boy. The idea is that he just loves humans, but he has this weirdly patronizing view of humanity. You know how there are people obsessed with the cultural output of one country? Noh-Varr is completely obsessed with the cultural output of Earth. He thinks, 'How could I leave a place as beautiful as this?'  So he's completely passionate, but in a slightly patronizing, distant way. A couple years back Brian Bendis reinvented him as the Protector and there's something patronizing about the word protector. It's like, "Who died and made you the protector of Earth?" So I'm kind of moving towards Grant Morrison's original conception of him as Namor. He's an interesting romantic and even sexual figure. He's alien hipster boy on the run and hated by everyone.

There's a lot more to the CBR interview, such as how he's going to hold off on using familiar villains for at least two arcs, in keeping with the fresh newness of the Marvel NOW concept. But we're getting a new Young Avengers book. There you go!