Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s “Young Avengers” was an odd book in all the best ways from the start. It’s fitting that it ends, about a year (and fifteen issues) later, exactly as its creators intended: odd, but in the best way.
These two final issues focused on character over any kind of plot development, attempting to tie up loose ends, and give each cast member a reasonable send-off. Last month’s issue focused on Kate Bishop, Miss America, and Billy and Hulkling, so it’s only fitting that this issue focuses on Noh-Varr, Prodigy and Loki, with a guest artist tackling each section, as McKelvie returns back to do the final pages that feature all the characters together, save Loki.
Gillen, guest artist Becky Cloonan and colorist Jordie Bellaire bring a somber tone to Noh-Varr’s story that represents everything I have been missing all along for the character. Bathed in blues and appropriately angst driven, Noh-Varr’s moment of wistfulness, regret and even longing for not just a partner but his team, is powerfully resonant and leaves readers aching for more adventures with the character but not in a cliff-hanger-based way, which is nice.
Gillen and Ming Doyle with colorist Maris Wicks deliver a particularly somber Loki and Prodigy conversation that has far less humor to it than usual with the Loki character. It’s appropriate, tonally, given where the character finds himself, but a bit of a let down given what we have come to expect (and enjoy) from the character. Sometimes change is hard to accept, for Loki and for “Young Avengers” readers. Gillen does a good job however of setting up the further adventures of Loki, both here and in the final pages of the book.
Gillen and Joe Quinones, again with colorist Maris Wicks, finally (sort of) sort out the puzzle that is Patri-not as Prodigy tries to figure out exactly who he is and what he represents, right to his masked face. After a chaste kiss between the two, Patri-not actually becomes Tommy, and I’m not sure I understand any of it (does anyone?), but it’s hard not to just be happy that Tommy has returned.
The best pages are the last pages by McKelvie, which join all of the team back together again (sans Loki) as they head home. This team is at its best when it’s together, and the same is true for Gillen and McKelvie — their work is perfectly in sync here, as always. The team heads home for breakfast together, and all is right with the world. Even Loki, on his own, and sadder for it, feels right, as Loki in that group was never something that could last, but you get the feeling as a reader that he is better for the adventure, the same way as the readers are.
Right out of the gate, “Young Avengers” had a both inspired and cohesive vision about the kind of book it wanted to be. Above and beyond the perfect character designs, “Young Avengers” incorporated incredibly creative and well-conceived social media aspects — a necessary component for any book about modern youth that expects to be taken seriously. The incorporation of these elements from first page to last rooted this otherwise fantastical book into reality in an innovative and groundbreaking manner. “Young Avengers” will be greatly missed, but hopefully its lessons will be absorbed and built upon in the future.