Young Avengers #6
Written by Kieron Gillen
Illustrated by Kate Brown
Review by Joey Braccino
In Young Avengers #1-5, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie took readers on a multiversal, multichromatic superheroic adventure that explored the innate insecurities of emerging adulthood. Space aliens, frost giants, and squishy pan-dimensional matriarchal Big Bad’s ran rampant throughout the first five issues, and our hapless team of Young Avengers came together to save the day and start a new story for Marvel NOW!
In Young Avengers #6, Tommy “Speed” Shepherd and David “Prodigy” Alleyne have a case of the Mondays. For real.
Gillen continues his genre-bending, post-modern storytelling with Young Avengers by taking two formerly cover-worthy teen characters—Speed was a late-comer to the original Young Avengers series under Allan Heinberg; Prodigy was an original cast member of Nunzo DeFilippis and Christina Weir’s New Mutants and New X-Men: Academy X series—and dropping them into the mundane banalities of office-life. In the opening pages, David Alleyne, a character who has endured losing his mutant ability to absorb and access the knowledge of anyone in close proximity in M-Day and served as a leading member of the younger X-Men during Cyclop’s militaristic survival years on Utopia, sits at a desk and runs a telephone help-line for people with super-powered problems.
Gillen immediately establishes the titular “Toll” of the arc by focusing on the drab lives of these two characters for at least half the book. In keeping with the emerging adult theme of the book, Speed and Prodigy grapple with the realities of “secure” employment and this assumption that their powers and their experiences promise them something greater and more meaningful. The two characters debate jumping back into the superhero game throughout the book, and the ultimate resolution to this issue is intriguing and promising for future stories.
Kate Brown takes over art duties this week from the ineffable Jamie McKelvie. Brown maintains the naturalism and innovative lay-outs of McKelvie’s work, but brings a bit of anime/cartoon aesthetic to the book. Brown’s work is reminiscent of Becky Cloonan and Nick Bradshaw’s artwork: kinetic, clean, and creative.
This series is a must-read. Sure, this book departs from the things I’ve loved about Young Avengers so far—tumblr-inspired recap pages, Kid Loki, Wiccan’s hair, McKelvie, things that go sploosh—but it’s still incredible nonetheless. Check it!