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Fandom overview: Young Avengers
dier, alli, kane
jazzypom wrote in sequentialcrack

Subject:Young Avengers: Marvel.

1. What type of book is it: noir, superhero, comedy, western, science fiction, horror.

The Young Avengers is a series about teenage superheroes stepping into the void that the Avengers left behind when they disbanded due to the actions of The Scarlet Witch. Iron Lad, seeing his future self as the time travelling despot of Kang, decided to travel back in time to save the world from himself by turning to the Avengers for help. Unbeknownst to him, the Avengers already disbanded, so in his desperate wish not to be his future self, he recruits fellow teenagers to come to his aid.

2. Who are the creators of the book, and the major writers and artists who've worked on it?

The Young Avengers is seen as Marvel's answer to DC's Teen Titans. Allan Heinberg (writer) and Jim Cheung (penciller) were given the task of coming up with the teenagers' identity and backgrounds. Frustratingly for the book's fans, the series sputters along in fits and spurts. It started off as a monthly, then got discontinued, due to Heinberg's various writing commitments for various TV shows. Marvel has had the various one off specials, such as: Young Avengers: The Siege, Young Avengers Presents, Young Avengers: Dark Reign. The comic has had other notable pencillers and writers pushing the series such as Alan Davis, Paul Cornell, Matt Fraction, and Ed Brubaker doing various one off stories or tight story arcs.

3. What is the book's significance? Is it important to comics fandom as a whole? Is it important to the comics industry in some way? Written by a woman? The first book with a gay lead?

Young Avengers is noted for having a high profiled gay couple in its pages (Billy Kaplan/Teddy Altman). In 2006 the book won a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding comic book series, and got the Harvey Award for best comic series. Its importance to the comics canon can be argued in that it is one of the first high profiled series from a major comic company to have a gay pairing who (a) aren't overly concerned about their sexual orientation and (b) both characters are still alive and happy. In addition, the book is known for having an all 'minority' led cast. Kate and Cassie are female, Eli is a person of colour (POC), Billy and Teddy are gay, Tommy and Billy are technically Jewish, because of their mother's bloodline (Wanda: the scarlet witch).

4. How does it link to other books? Is it a Bat-book? Influenced by some other famous book or character?

As said before, the Young Avengers is seen as an Avengers spin off. At first, they are noted as fanboys by Jessica Jones and Kat Farrell, and in a lot of cases prove her right. Each teenager's identity taps into the Legacy era, which is notable for Marvel, because up to that point, they normally did not push that aspect of their comics (unlike their competitor, DC). Each character identifies with an original Avenger: Billy's power is reminiscent of the Scarlet Witch, (magic) Tommy is an offshoot Quicksilver (speed), Teddy is Hulk (strength), Kate is a sharpshooter, and wealthy (Hawkeye, Tony Stark), Iron Lad (Vision).

5. Why is it awesome?

The characters make the book awesome. In a lot of books with teenage protagonists, a lot of writers don't seem to get the essence of what makes teenagers click. Yes, they can be contrary, rowdy, careless, short sighted, immature, or just too old beyond their years - Heinberg gets the fact that teenagers are all of these in varying amounts. In addition, if you're into the concept of teamwork in the best way, the jounce and jolt of different personalities, moving to acceptance, then caring for each new recruit. The bonds of affection are deeply felt amongst each team member even when they argue all of these traits make this book a treat. The snark between the teenagers is good too - what I like is that they don't have that 'Whedon speak' that a lot of teenagers flirted with in the late nineties, early naughties. They can sass, and are smart mouthed, but are their own people.

In addition, the comic isn't afraid to flirt with controversy, but it doesn't come across as The Writer Making A Point. Billy and Teddy's relationship are accepted as a given, Eli is an angry young man for reasons to do with his grandpa and the US government, and in the comic his concerns aren't dismissed by the older Avengers. Kate is the one who holds the team together when the others can't, and she tends to be the Tony Stark in this part of the Legacy: eloquent, tough, affable and bankrolls the group's entire existence.

Major Characters: Pics, scans, short bios, and whatever else you'd have to say about them.

These are going to be the cliff notes version. The links given at the end of the post are comprehensive enough, I feel.

PhotobucketIron Lad: Nathaniel Richards- Unwilling to become the time travelling despot of Kang the Conqueror Nate has travelled back to the early 21st century to gather the Avengers to arms so that they can save him from his fate. Unable to find the original Avengers, he recruits people who were related to them via legacy- that's how he meets up with Billy, Teddy and Eli.


(Teddy is the blonde with the earrings)

Billy Kaplan and Teddy Altman: Wiccan and Hulking respectively. Billy Kaplan is an unabashed fanboy, and Scarlet Witch is his favourite Avenger. In some quirk of Marvel fate, she's the one who gave him his powers. He's raised reform Jew (his parents are Reform Jews and have raised him in their religion) and has younger siblings. Involved with Teddy Altman, who for a time recently thought he was a mutant who mutated into a shapeshifter. In a key storyline of the comic, he's actually half Kree and half Skrull royalty. Up to that time, Teddy just thought of himself as a kid raised in a single parent household.

In some parts of fandom, they are dismissed as a 'Starbucks' couple; slickly marketed, easily digestible. In other parts of the fandom, there is a deep investment in the relationship, to the point of waiting seven years (and a strange tale with a hell of an ending) for them to finally kiss. Billy and Teddy are the most popular pairing in the fandom in terms of fic and art. They are warm personalities currently engaged in a healthy relationship. Good for them.

Eli Bradley: Patriot

Eli Bradley is an interesting Legacy Hero for various reasons. His granddad was the first Captain America - before Steve Rogers, but Steve Rogers has been the most lauded. His uncle served in Vietnam as another Captain America, but both men have been ignored/forgotten by mainstream American history. As a result of this, Eli has a keen sense of justice, and an admittedly black and white viewpoint towards certain subjects. He's also a fan of the big (and impulsive)gesture and with his earlier interactions with Kate and Cassie - sexist. He's also another fanboy in the same vein as Teddy and Billy, but has only shown it on occasion, whereas Billy/Teddy are always in fanmode. In the earlier issues of the comic, Eli is leader of the YA at first blush, but eventually coleads with Kate Bishop, before ceding the position to her in their last adventure.


Cassie Lang is Stature. She's a fun character and the baby of the group. She grew up around the Avengers, as Scott Lang's (Ant Man) daughter. Her mother, fearing for her safety, allowed her to be enrolled in self defence classes, eventually taking her away from the Avengers mansion for Cassie to live with her and her new husband. When we first see Cassie in the comic, she's running away from her mum and her stepdad to join up with the Runaways, but sees the Young Avengers on the TV so decides to hook up with them instead. On her way to the old Avengers mansion, she meets up and forms a fast and enduring friendship with Kate Bishop. Later in the comic, Cassie and Nate have a relationship, but that's truncated, as he has to go back to the future. Or something.


Kate Bishop meets the Young Avengers under trying circumstances. The YA do try to save the day, but end up putting everyone at risk. Kate helps them through, because she is quick witted, resourceful and tough. She saves the Young Avengers at key parts of their shared history. From their initial meeting, to bankrolling the Young Avengers to being the leader who sees them out on their last shared adventure, Kate carries them all. Kate's story is complicated- a rich girl who's uncomfortable with her wealth and privilege, she seeks causes to take forward. She's a hero, but an accidental one, and only stumbles on the Young Avengers because she didn't want Cassie to venture off alone. I think Kate Bishop is the hybrid of Clint Barton and Tony Stark in this new generation of Avengers- smart mouthed, skilled with a bow, access to great wealth and bankrolls this generation of the Avengers.


Thomas 'Tommy' Shepherd - a late addition to the Young Avengers, he's Billy's twin. Not much is known re: his background, apart from the fact that he's from New Jersey, and the Young Avengers busted him out of mutant juvvie. On the surface of it, Tommy hits all the trope of 'cocky action hero' - in that he's handsome, snarky, highly competent at what he does, and nonchalant towards this whole superhero gig that he's found himself a part of. Billy describes him as the 'team's sociopath', whereas Tommy thinks of the YA as being 'internet Taliban' judgemental. Although Billy and Tommy do trade barbs at every opportunity, you do get the feeling that they like each other, really. Tommy and Kate have insane chemistry, to Eli's discomfort. In other comics (such as their team up with The Runaways, Tommy is seen to be good with children (the interaction between Molly and himself is golden), and takes his responsibilities as hero very seriously (see Young Avengers: The Siege).


Vision, Jonas- man, I don't even know what to say. Basically, when Nate came back to the 21st century, he found Vision destroyed after Avengers Disassembled, so he rebuilt Vision out of parts of his armour, as well imprinting Jonas with some aspects of his personality and affection for Cassie. So Vision is a hybrid of the old Ultron, old Vision, and bits of 30th C hyperkinetic armour by Nate/future! Kang. Jonas doesn't have his old memories, so he doesn't have much feelings for the Scarlet Witch, but has feelings for Cassie.

Main Relationships

The most popular relationship in this fandom by a mile is Billy/Teddy. Eli/Kate tend to be written in tandem with Tommy, as in, Eli/Kate/Tommy. There's Cassie/Nate, but that isn't touched on, because in the comics, they don't share much screen time.

Fandom Resources: Fanwork archives, rec lists, scan archives, ship manifestos, fandom primers, fan sites, discussion boards/comms.

Young Avengers: Wikipedia entry- a comprehensive overview of the series, from genesis to end. Beware of spoilers.

Best. Overview. Ever. Funny, but oh so accurate, and really pithy.

Young Avengers Marvel wiki

Young Avengers TV Tropes. Disclaimer: People report that TV tropes is a time suck: click at your own peril.

youngavengers- LJ comm for all things young avengers. Fic, freakouts about canon, discussion, but mostly fic. There's a mirrored comm on Dreamwidth, but it's not active.

AO3 tags. There's fic there, but not much.

At Last: Hulkling & Wiccan Share First Kiss in 'Young Avengers: The Children's Crusade' #9.

yabigbang is a good community to watch for upcoming big bang entries.

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Just a heads up, but you put Billy as the blonde with the earrings. That's actually Teddy.
Also: "Up to that time, Billy just thought of himself as a kid raised in a single parent household. " That was also Teddy
^-^ thought you might want to know

Ah, man. Sorry, thanks for the correction. Am correcting now.

Thanks again.

woot! Awesome overview and I look forward to your recs!! :D

Tommy and Billy are technically Jewish, because of their mother's bloodline (Wanda: the scarlet witch).
Wanda isn't Jewish. Billy is Jewish because the Kaplans are Jewish.

I'll change it. Cheers for the correction

I thought Wanda would be Jewish because of her dad? Or is it one of those religions that's passed through the mother?

No matter, I'll change it, thank you!

Re: I'll change it. Cheers for the correction

Well, under most traditions of Judaism it is passed by the mother, yes; although Liberal Judaism would be okay with passing it from the father for someone who is raised and identify as Jewish. But more importantly, Wanda and Pietro were raised by Romani adopted parents; they weren't raised as Jewish, and if they identify or even are curious about their Jewish heritage because of a father who, shall we say generously, they have a complicated relationship with, I don't think I've ever heard of a panel showing it.

I'll correct it - damn my smart phone. I'm going to have to hold off when I get home.

Thanks again!

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