In this week’s Comics 101, we’re going to take a look at the Young Avengers, their major storylines in the comic universe, and a brief look at where they have all ended up in the post- Secret Wars comicscape. It’s been 11 years since the first assembling of Marvel’s Young Avengers. Seven young heroes with attitude, each with ties or connections to members of the official Avengers line up. Lets see where it all began.
The original team was rallied together by Iron Lad, who came back from the future in order to gather a team that would be capable of defeating the evil Kang the Conquerer. Patriot- Eli Bradley, Asgardian – Billy Kaplan and Hulkling – Teddy Altman were his first allies, eventually joined by Stature – Cassie Lang (daughter of Ant-Man, Scott Lang) and Hawkeye – Kate Bishop. Together in the Young Avenger’s original 12 issue run, they prepared for Kang’s arrival. Finding it increasingly difficult to operate with great opposition of Captain America and Iron-Man who had great disapproval of teenagers running around untrained.
One of the biggest points that set the Young Avengers apart from other teen hero teams, was the writer’s ability to delve into aspects of teenage life that tend to be glossed over in more conservative comics. Eli Bradley suffers from a steroid addiction in this comic. Living in the shadow of his grandfather, the first black Captain America, Eli did not possess the ability of super-strength himself, and resorted to taking the Mutant Growth Hormone (MGH) that would temporarily grant him the effects of super strength. The Young Avengers series also introduced a young gay couple into the comic-universe, in the form of Teddy and Billy. A couple that have garnered quite a popular following since then.
We Are Family
After the Kang saga, the Young Avengers once again face a larger than life threat when the Skrulls kill Teddy’s mother, and kidnap him. Leaving the remaining Young Avengers to save the dame in distress. Enter Tommy Shepherd, Vision’s latest recruit for the team. A speedster and as it turns out, Billy Kaplan’s twin. Further revelations tell that both Billy and Tommy are the children of The Scarlet Witch – Wanda Maximoff and the Vision.
Teddy’s origins are also revealed, with him finding out that he is the son of the Kree hero Mar-Vell – Captain Marvel and a Skrull princess Anelle. Which made him a powerful asset to them in the hopes of maintaining peace between the two alien races.
O Mother, Where Art Thou?
With the revelation that Billy and Tommy were indeed the sons of the Scarlet Witch, certain heroes found it difficult to trust that Billy had his powers in control. Having identical powers to his mother, in the wake of her de-powering the mutant race, and vanishing, Billy is adamant about finding his mother and will do anything it takes.
Finding Wanda about to marry Doctor Doom, with no recollections or memories from her life up until that point, Billy realises he must save his mother. Iron Lad returns from the future, saving them from Doom’s clutches and they are able to travel further back in time to restore Wanda’s memories and powers. While there, Cassie is also able to save her father before he dies. Saving her father however results in her own death as the final clash between Doom, the Avengers and the Young Avengers ensues.
Dawn of Now!
Eight years after it’s original release, the creative team of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie breathe some fresh new life into the Young Avengers team. Wiccan, Hulking and Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) team up with Marvel Boy, Kid Loki, Ms America, Prodigy and Speed. This fresh arc injected a dose of fun into the teen heroes. The artwork was light and bright, and the story gave way to a fun adventure. Sexuality also played a big part in the arc, with Teddy and Billy having relationship issues, Prodigy slowly coming to terms with his sexuality, festering a crush on Teddy. While Ms. America Chavez flippantly reveals she is a flying, dimension-hopping, virtually indestructible lesbian.
A team of diversity and equality, overcoming inner demons, time traveling overlords and alien races. The Young Avengers give a voice to an age group that all too often get spoon-fed conservative content. The young Avengers speak to a generation, and tell them, it’s ok to be yourself. It’s ok to be different.
But where are the Young Avengers now?
Wiccan and Hulkling have joined the New Avengers, alongside the likes of Squirrelgirl and the original Hawkeye Clint. America Chavez has joined the Ultimates alongside Black Panther and Captain Marvel. While Kate Bishop continues to work alongside Clint as the Haykeye duo of the Marvel-Comics! The other young Avengers are yet to appear in any post Secret Wars comics.