For those of you who don’t know, I am a huge comic geek. Lucky for me, these days that is nothing to be ashamed of. The quality of art and, more importantly, story has never been higher. If you know where to look. For example, the work of author extraordinaire, Kieron Gillen. His work on Iron Man has been extremely entertaining and is breathing a breath of fresh air into a character that has 50 years of history, bringing new ideas to the character that feel natural and turns everything you know about him on its head.
The other series he is currently working on is Young Avengers. A series that has kind of been all over the place since its inception. It started strong and has been a roller coaster of quality over the years depending on the creative team. This latest incarnation has been so wonderfully creative and rich in character development in a medium that doesn’t have a lot of space for such exploration and usually just skips to the action instead. The team currently counts among its ranks the gay teenage couple of Wiccan and Hulkling. I have always been a fan of Marvel for featuring homosexual characters from the first Alpha Flight member, North Star (yay Canada!) to Carolina Dean and Xavin in Runaways or the Ultimate universe version of the popular X-Man, Colossus. Gillen treats their relationship not as a plot point but as just another relationship on the team. I love that.
In the latest storyline, a new character from the X side of the Marvel Universe, Prodigy, has been introduced and has just mixed things up in the gayborhood.
Prodigy was a mutant that had the ability to absorb the knowledge of every mind he encountered. When he stopped being a mutant (Marvel fans will know why and others will just have to accept that) he retained all of that knowledge… and a bit more.
Prodigy had obviously encountered many homosexuals in his life but even if he hadn’t, absorbing the essence of the opposite sex would leave him open to relationships with men as well as women. What’s interesting is how he looks at this. It was an “awakening” not an alien feeling. He looks at it as something completely normal and within the realm of possibilities of his life. It was just another of the many doors in his head that could have been opened.
As an artist, I have to mention the gorgeous work that Jamie McKelvie brings to the book. His pencils are so beautiful, simple, and creative. In a world of extraneous detail for detail’s sake, his style is very refreshing and a good example for anyone who wants to know how to visually tell a good story in a story-telling medium that all too often forgets how. The art would not be complete without the amazing inking of Mike Norton and the wonderful colours of Matthew Wilson. Inkers and colourists get the short end of the stick all too often. Fantastic work, boys.
If you’re looking for a great read every single month, look no further than Young Avengers. And if you do look further, check out Iron Man.
Until next time.