Yay! An issue of Young Avengers I didn’t totally hate! And I think I know why, it’s because it only really featured 2 members of the team, and crucially, Wiccan was barely there, and even then, he was asleep, I really think a lot of my problems with this book may come down to Wiccan, who is a terrible character. It’s a shame normally, because Gillen and the rest of the book’s fans seem to love Wiccan for some ridiculous reasons that may just be his floppy fringe, but when there are issues like this, where he’s mostly absent, it just makes everything better.
Much of this issue is focused on the main villain of this title so far, Mother. I’ve found Mother to be a pretty crap villain so far, she’s not been very well-defined, but here, we find out more about her and what her deal is, which is very useful. Best of all was the opening scene, where Gillen goes a little meta and has Mother notice his horribly over-wrought captions… and eats them. That was a great moment, and actually genuinely a bit scary. Mother is then visited by a procession of characters.
First up is Loki, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Loki is actually the villain of the piece here, as we find out the true extent of his manipulation of the idiot Wiccan and what he’s trying to achieve. Wiccan is ‘The Demiurge’ and he’s going to rewrite the rules of Magic in the Marvel Universe at some point, and Loki wants to steal his powers so he can control all Magic, which I suppose would be pretty useful. I did roll my eyes at the fact that Wiccan is some kind of special destiny ‘chosen one’, but I actually think that is deliberate on Gillen’s part, Wiccan’s only personality trait is that he’s a nerd, so it makes sense that he’d warp reality to make himself Azor Ahai or some other Game Of Thrones reference. See, I can make references too! Make a Tumblr about me! Ouch, that was a bit harsh, sorry, anyway, the point is, that I think Wiccan is only the chosen one because he made himself the chosen one in his own solipsistic way. Gillen may even be commenting here on the popular belief that Wiccan is just Allan Heinberg’s author-insert Mary-Sue.
Mother is then visited by ‘Patriot’, who continues to be very creepy, and then by Leah, who I still don’t really care about because I haven’t read JiM. I did like the scene at the end though, with her introducing Hulkling to the rest of her support group.
Her support group is made up of a whole bunch of the Young Avengers’ ex-boyfriends and girlfriends. There’s Ultimate Nullifier from ‘Vengeance’, 3 of Noh-Varr’s former flames, and ‘Patriot’. Plus of course, Leah herself. All of these characters feel that they have been wronged by the YAers, and that they actually do have something to ‘avenge’ and want Hulkling to join their cause. Which of course, he refuses. Leah seems to let him go free, only because it’s magic, he resurfaces not in Austin, but in New York, which of course is a no-go area for the team, and Mother immediately attacks.
This was, as I said, a much better issue for this title, it managed to clarify a lot of the more confusing elements of the book’s main villains in Mother and Loki, making their motivations clear, and it also provided some more immediately exciting threats in Leah’s new team of ‘Evil’ Young Avengers. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see these two teams clash, and for once, the emotional responses could be earned. I also really enjoyed Jamie McKelvie’s art once again, he’s doing the best work of his career on this title, he and Mike Norton make for a fantastic team, and he manages to make even pages with plain white backgrounds visually exciting. But most importantly of all, Wiccan was only on one page, and that’s just a fucking relief, he’s so terrible.