The not-so-elusive queer female comics reader

Archive for October, 2012

Avengers #31 – Who’s That Girl?

A mystery character turns up in Avengers #31 who it looks like is going to drive at least part of the plot of the last arc of the book.  I have a theory of who it might be, and I really hope I’m right.

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New Young Avengers title!

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are launching a new Young Avengers book as part of Marvel NOW!!!!

I am BEYOND thrilled.

I love Gillen’s writing, and I’ve particularly loved the way he’s written younger characters in Generation Hope and Journey Into Mystery.

I’ve been crossing my fingers that their new project would turn out to be  Young Avengers ever since Marvel released the one-word teaser that just said “Amateurs”.

It’s a somewhat revamped team, which I expected. After all, almost 1/3 of the team didn’t survive Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (*cries*). And so far I’m really liking the announced new team:

Billy Kaplan (Wiccan), Teddy Altman (Hulkling), Kate Bishop (Hawkeye), kid Loki, Noh-Varr (now apparently back to being called Marvel Boy), and Miss America Chavez, who’s the only character who I know nothing about.

I do wonder where Tommy is, considering the fact that of all the Young Avengers he was the one who least wanted to quit heroing at the end of Children’s Crusade. And I miss Eli too, and hope that the implied traveling nature of the book means he’ll make an appearance at some point.

I think keeping only three of the original Young Avengers was a good plan. I actually wouldn’t want the new incarnation of the book to read like the original team plus a couple characters. I love the original team passionately, but I think their arc together is done. And I want a book that gives them new places to go, rather than dwelling on the past and particularly the tragic end of Children’s Crusade. Also, I think the strength of Marvel team books has always been in the shifting memberships. Stories about characters with conflicting world-views and personalities who are forced by circumstances to learn to work as a team are my favorite type of superhero stories.

Honestly, this is kind of my dream book. Billy and Teddy are my favorite adorable queer superheroes. I have an enormous crush on Kate Bishop and think she needs to be in every book EVER. I don’t know what I’d do without my monthly dose of kid Loki, and I was so worried he’d disappear entirely at the end of the current Thor/Journey Into Mystery crossover event. Noh-Varr’s a character I didn’t expect to like, but completely fell in love with during his run in Avengers. His time with the Avengers ended quite badly, and I was really concerned that he’d been written out of the main continuity for a while.

Also, I really like some of what Gillen and McKelvie said in their interview over at Comic Book Resources

“Young Avengers” came up. I thought, “If I’m going to to do this book I want to do it with Jamie and Mike Norton.” And I wanted Matt Wilson on colors. I wanted Clayton Cowles who was our letterer on “Journey Into Mystery.” I wanted to make something that was completely beautiful and bespoke.

I looked at something like “Daredevil” and how aesthetically coherent it is. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like that for Marvel.

The series I’m most loving right now all have very coherent and unique looks to them: Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy’s Captain Marvel and Kieron Gillen and a variety of artists on Journey Into Mystery. I’ve fallen out of love with the current storyline in Daredevil, but keep reading it because it’s just such a gorgeous book.

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.

Which, really, is what brought the original Young Avengers together in the first place.

After that “Young Avengers” will be set up as a device where you can go to any of the Marvel Universe locales where teen heroes live and work like the West Coast with the Runaways or the Jean Grey School. It’s a very wide ranging book in that way. For me it’s super heroism as a metaphor for talent and deciding what you want to do with it. There’s a line in my original proposal for this that the original “Young Avengers” book was kind of about being 16. This book is about being 18.

Seriously. DREAM. BOOK.

Avengers Vs. X-Men: Dropped Plot-lines

I started a blog and then promptly developed a pinched nerve in my neck that made typing for any length of time unadvisable.  Because that’s just how my life goes.

Now that Avengers vs. X-Men #12 is out, I want to try to organize some of my thoughts on the event.

First of all: I have read most of the related canon for the Avengers and the X-Men since House of M.  There are some gaps in my reading, things I had no interest in reading or bounced off of rather strongly, but in general this is the era of Marvel canon I am most obsessively familiar with.  And, as a bookend to House of M — as closure on a distinct chapter in Marvel continuity — I think Avengers vs. X-Men works well.

As a self-contained story though it’s rather sloppy and there are a lot of trailing and dropped threads that are never clarified. In particular, there were a number of characters who played a large part in the lead-up to A vs. X, but then were almost or completely absent during the event, or whose plotlines seem to have just fizzled out part of the way through the event.

Maybe some of my questions will be answered in some of the A vs. X Aftermath comics, but currently they’ve all been left unacknowledged and unresolved.

1) The Young Avengers.  In Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the Young Avengers are responsible for bringing back Wanda Maximoff, a key player in all of A vs. X.  At the end of Children’s Crusade the Young Avengers break up and are seen sitting out many of the big events that have taken place in the Marvel Universe in the last year.  But then some of them are shown back in costume being honored by the Avengers.

We know that Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) has already returned to heroing in the new Hawkeye ongoing, and Billy Kaplan (Wiccan) is prominent in some of the Marvel Now teaser imagery.  (His role is currently unclear, but it seems likely he’ll be appearing Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s as yet unrevealed title teased with the image “Amateurs” today.)  Given their key part leading up to A vs. X, it really jumped out to me that none of the Young Avengers ever appear or are even mentioned in A vs. X.

2) Cable.  In Avengers: X-Sanction, Cable returns from the future to try and kill the Avengers because he believes they will be responsible for the death of his adopted daughter, Hope Summers.  Given his major role there, his absence in A vs. X is quite striking.  We last see him at the end of Avengers: X-Sanction, where Hope manifests some of the Phoenix power and  cures him of the techno-organic virus that has plagued him most of his life.  On the last pages of the mini we see him still unconscious in the Utopia med-bay discussing Hope with Cyclops on the astral plane.

So, where is he during A vs. X?  The Avengers do in fact come for Hope and her father is nowhere to be found.  Hope defies and goes up against Scott Summers, but her father – Scott’s son — is nowhere to be found.  Cable tells his father that he will “be there for you when you need me”, but when Scott is being gradually corrupted and then fully taken over by the Phoenix force his son is not even referenced.

According to this interview with Dennis Hopeless about his new series “Cable and X-Force”, Cable doesn’t awaken from his coma until after Avengers vs. X-Men is over, but that doesn’t answer the question of where his body physically is and why there’s no reference to him that I can recall anywhere in A vs. X.

3) The remaining Four Lights.  Generation Hope was a great book, and the connection between Hope and the “Five Lights” — the first five new mutants since M-Day — is made quite explicit in it.  We know that Hope has a psychic connection to the Lights and can both intentionally and unintentionally influence their actions.

In Uncanny X-Men #13 their memory is tampered with by Unit, but it’s unclear how much of their memory he changes.  Certainly he cannot have erased their connection to Hope or their memories of their experiences with her, without it being glaringly obvious to anyone around them, but nevertheless in the rest of A vs. X they only appear as background characters, and always on the side of the mutants.  Even when Hope leaves Utopia with Wanda Maximoff and the Avengers there is no indication of the Lights desiring to follow her, even though Transonic is actually present when the Avengers come for Hope.

Before Unit changes their memories, he tells the Lights that Hope may need them with her to successfully channel the Phoenix, but there is never any follow-up on this.  Hope successfully channels the Phoenix with the help of her Iron Fist training and Wanda Maximoff’s chaos powers.  It’s unclear if the Avengers even know the Lights exist at all, let alone that they might be useful in balancing Hope’s powers.

4) Unit.  Speaking of dropped plot-lines.  What the hell is up with Unit?  This incredibly powerful android character is shown to have gained control of Danger and to be meddling with events surrounding the Phoenix from his place in the X-Brig, but he only ever appears in Uncanny X-Men and his meddling and its potential consequences never show up or are acknowledged in the main series.  There’s only one issue of this run of Uncanny X-Men left and with all that happened in A vs. X it seems unlikely that the Unit plotline will be resolved before the series ends.

Also, if the Phoenix Five were all powerful and able to easily read the thoughts and intentions of everyone on Utopia — as is shown several times — how is it possible that they remained completely oblivious to Unit’s duplicity and secret agenda on Utopia.

I realize that even with an event as lengthy as A vs. X not everything can be addressed, but these particular absences and the lack of explanation for them really weakened the story in my eyes.