Young Avengers

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A Spin-Off of Marvel's moderately successful Avengers series, set just after Avengers: Disassembled, this was aimed at young adult readers, but still contained enough Darker and Edgier material to please Marvel execs.

The comic has so far had a 12-issue run, an annual issue, a Civil War tie-in where they teamed up with the Runaways (and another for the Secret Invasion), and a series of special Young Avengers Presents... books which focused on each character individually. A limited series by the original writer and artist, entitled Avengers: The Children's Crusade, ended with Cassie and the Vision dead, Patriot retiring from superheroics, and the other kids becoming full-fledged Avengers. Oh yeah, and Scott Lang and the Scarlet Witch are back.

Generally, reception has been positive, especially from GLBT readers, for the honest presentation of a relatively realistic gay couple who (so far) haven't had it any worse than any other superhero in the biz.


Tropes used in Young Avengers include:
  • Action Dress Rip: Kate's first superhero costume is her bridesmaid's dress with half of the skirt ripped off.
  • Aesop Amnesia: The first arc ends with Iron Lad (Really a teenaged Kang the Conqueror) being explicitly told that he can't stay in the present to avoid his fate of becoming enemy of the Avengers, because of the damage it would do to the timestream. Cue The Children's Crusade, where he not only returns, but his actions directly lead to Dr Doom killing Stature. Way to go, you armored idiot.
    • Also potentially a case of Genre Blindness, as one of the things that makes Kang the way he is his penchant for constantly trying to alter events via time travel. Iron Lad somehow fails to notice that he has exactly the same tendency and not only tries to use time travel to change events in which he himself is a participant, but actually does so repeatedly even when it causes obvious problems. Then again, he is a younger Kang.
  • Almost Kiss: Speed interrupts Wiccan and Hulkling just as they're about to kiss on-panel for the first time.
    • Eli and Kate almost kiss while riding a carriage around Central Park.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Hulkling, Patriot, and Wiccan became superheroes to be like the original Avengers.
    • Coat-Of-Arms is a fan of Norman Osborn's, and she helped put together the Young Masters for the chance of seeing him become the Green Goblin again. Her actual dream is to dance with him to George Michael's "Shoot the Dog".
  • Badass Gay: Wiccan is a Reality Warper and Hulkling is The princess of Skrulls and Mar-Vell's kid.
  • Badass Normal: Kate Bishop and Patriot both started out this way, but Patriot got hold of first some drugs, then a blood transfusion full of Super Serum, leaving Hawkeye the sole BN on the team.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: Patriot.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Kate Bishop's second Hawkeye costume.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Wiccan and Hulkling are the sweetest, most unassuming Yaoi Guys you could ever hope to meet... until you threaten one of them, in which case the other will be very put out.
    • Hulkling never hesitates to lay the physical smack down; Wiccan is less easily provoked but has magic, so he hits harder. Case in point: he once put twenty people into comas for threatening Hulkling.
  • Blessed with Suck: Poor Melter of the Dark Young Avengers wants to be a superhero. Unfortunately, that's hard to do when your power is melting people.
  • Butt Monkey: Stature, between Civil War and Secret Invasion.
  • The Cavalry: Iron Lad's return in The Children's Crusade to prevent Wolverine from killing Wanda.
  • Code Name: All of them.
    • Billy changed his codename from Asgardian to Wiccan, because of the obvious jokes that would occur once the press got wind of his homosexuality (even Eli got a chuckle out of this). It should be noted that despite the codename, Billy is not of Asgardian descent; on that same note, Hulkling is of no relation to The Hulk, he's actually the half-Kree/half-Skrull son of Captain Marvel & Princess Anelle.
    • Lampshaded with Kate Bishop - The rest of the Young Avengers jokingly call her "Hawkingbird" after she arms herself with Hawkeye's bow & Mockingbird's sword. After she doesn't pick a codename, it's pointed out mid-mission that she probably should pick one, unless she wants the rest of the team to accidentally give away her secret identity in battle.
  • Coming Out Story: Spoofed. The character Wiccan is reluctantly trying to tell his parents he became a superhero, but they misunderstand and assume he's coming out with his boyfriend. They're supportive of his sexuality; however, he didn't get a chance to say anything to them about being a superhero until '"Family Matters".
  • Cool Big Sis: Kate Bishop.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: Kate bought new uniforms for the Young Avengers after Captain America and Iron Man confiscate the originals in an attempt to shut the team down. Later, an abandoned building owned by her father becomes the Young Avengers' base of operations.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone. Wiccan, Speed, and Kate might be best at it, though.
  • Different As Night and Day: Wiccan and Speed. Wiccan is a gay spellcaster who's a pretty nice guy if you don't hurt his boyfriend. Speed is a hyperactive juvenile delinquent with a penchant for using hyperkinetic shockwaves to blow stuff up.
  • Doomed by Canon: Once we learn that Iron Lad is a teenage Kang the Conqueror, his fate is a given.
  • Downer Ending: The Children's Crusade ends with Cassie and Jonas dead; Iron Lad giving into his darker tendencies and well on his way to becoming Kang The Conquerer; Eli having a Heroic BSOD, giving up being Patriot and moving to Scottsdale to live with his mother; and the rest of the team so despondent that they give up the super hero lifestyle, although several months later, Captain America (comics) calls the four of them to Avengers Mansion and tells them that even if they no longer operate as Young Avengers, they will now always be considered Avengers.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Pretty much everyone on the team has an issue, be it drugs, rape, parental abandonment...
  • Everyone Can See It: Stature and Speed see the bond between Kate and Eli clear as day, but Kate claims that the two do nothing but fight.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Wiccan and Hulkling both wear them. Kate wears a variation with just the pinky and ring fingers cut off, presumably to protect her hands when she uses her bow.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foregone Conclusion/Failure Is the Only Option: The Young Avengers, even if they find Wanda, will not be able to reverse M-Day due to a) other comics already published occurring chronologically after, showing M-Day as still in effect and b) the Powers That Be saying M-Day is here to stay and won't be undone. About the only reason to follow that part of the storyline of The Children's Crusade is to see how/why they fail... and indeed, though no one except Rictor gets their powers restored thanks to Patriot and Doom, Wanda does get found, her memories restored, and her Reality Warper powers returned back to normal. She even will be able to rejoin the Avengers, once she gets her head back together and has some quality family time.
  • Gayngst: Mostly averted, but a flashback does reveal that Billy used to get bullied because of his sexual orientation.
  • Gentle Giant: Hulkling. But again with the whole don't hurt his boyfriend thing.
  • Good Parents: The Kaplans.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Hulkling is half Kree and half Skrull.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Tommy manages to impress Wolverine with his eagerness to make Skrulls blow up with super-speed. Billy flat-out calls him the team sociopath in The Children's Crusade.
  • Heroic Wannabe: The entire team, who formed because they were fans of the original Avengers, though they do pretty well for themselves and eventually get their inspirations' acknowledgment.
  • Identical Grandson: The Vision... kinda.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Billy and Tommy, leading them to suspect that they are related in some way. They are.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Hulkling (Kree/Skrull hybrid) and Wiccan (human/possible mutant).
    • Stature (human) and Vision (synthezoid).
    • Big Zero (human) and Egghead II (some sort of robot).
  • Invisible to Gaydar: Wiccan and Hulkling.
    • Although, Wiccan lost a few points of Invisible to Gaydar when he decided the best disguise for the team was outfits from The Sound of Music.
    • Even earlier than that came from Young Avengers Presents... in which he mentions quoting Project Runway for a spell.
  • Jewish and Nerdy: Wiccan.
  • Jumped At the Call: Pretty much every one of 'em.
  • Killer Rabbit: Molly Hayes, during the Runaways crossover.
  • Knight Templar: Doom, after he absorbs the Scarlet Witch's powers and claims he wants to restore mutants and save/rule the world, in The Children's Crusade. As usual.
  • Legacy Character: Depending on how loosely you use the term, anywhere from half the team to all of them are legacy characters. Patriot, Hawkeye, and the Vision are each the second superhero to go by that name; Speed, Wiccan, and Stature have original code-names, but consider themselves successors to Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man, respectively; Hulkling falls somewhere in the middle.
    • Stature is a straighter example, being the daughter of the late Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man.
  • Lighter and Softer: Alias fans may find it weird seeing Jessica Jones as a maternal figure who doesn't smoke, drink, or curse (although the first two were because she was pregnant at the time).
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Wiccan and Hulkling, in The Children's Crusade. Half the trouble Billy gets into is because of ignoring Teddy's common-sense warnings, and Teddy's not shy about making his displeasure known when he finds out about it.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Kate's mother died at a young age and her father was inattentive at best.
  • Love Triangle: The team basically consists of the stable gay couple and two sets of love triangles: a Betty and Veronica situation with Kate, nice guy Eli, and bad boy Tommy; and the angstier/quirkier triangle between Cassie, a guy she knew for a few hours, and a robot with the memories of the guy she knew for a few hours.
    • Mythology Gag: The Stature/Iron Lad/Vision love triangle replicates the Scarlet Witch/Wonder Man/Vision love triangle. The Visions keep having this problem.
  • Meaningful Name: This might not be intentional, but Wiccan and Hulkling's names are Billy and Teddy, which reminded me of another pair of very close friends (time travel, anyone?). However, those two are no where near as close as Wiccan and Hulkling.
  • Moment Killer: Dammit, Tommy!
    • Ms. Marvel too. Wiccan and Hulkling just can't catch a break.
  • Nice Guy and Bad Boy: Kate with Eli and Tommy.
  • Not So Different: Doctor Doom drops one of these on Billy after Billy sneaks into Castle Doom looking for Wanda.
  • Only Child Syndrome: Averted. Kate has an older sister, Billy has two little brothers, and Eli comes from a large family, though only Kate's sister has actually been shown. Tommy might also have biological siblings; it's hard to tell, considering we still know next to nothing about the guy.
    • Teddy has a couple of half-siblings on his father's side, although these are unlikely to ever be relevant to the series (being space-faring superheroes in their own right).
    • Billy and Tommy are twin brothers, though they didn't grow up together, nor are they technically biologically related.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall
  • Paper-Thin Disguise (several):
    • Kate's 'mask' is a pair of sunglasses (hopefully she never wears those when not in costume).
    • Cassie and Eli wear actual masks, but their secret identities are already closely associated with the legacies they take on: Cassie, publicly known as the daughter of the second Ant-Man, wears a variant of his costume and doesn't hide her hair or most of her face (Domino Mask); Eli's grandfather is likewise publicly known to have been Captain America, and Eli, likewise with a Domino Mask, is Patriot. Both have been easily found out (though, thankfully, not by villains).
    • Actually, Eli's grandfather, Isaiah, is only known as a legend among the Black Community and heck even Wolverine had never heard of him before Black Panther and Storm's Wedding.
    • Eli's first costume did avert the trope by covering almost everything.
    • Wiccan has no mask at all and yet somehow avoids detection. Then again, He IS a wizard, you know.
      • Could be that snazzy headband's doing.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: In the first issue of The Children's Crusade, Billy's massive use of his powers without even realizing makes the Avengers worry that they might have another Scarlet Witch on their hands, who, for those who don't remember, is a Reality Warper responsible for both House of M and Decimation.
  • Pregnant Badass: Jessica Jones. "Can I give you some advice, Kang? Never threaten a pregnant woman - especially one with powers."
    • In The Children Crusade's one-shot, alternate-future-Kate states that she's pregnant with twins but is still active as an Avenger.
  • Pregnant Hostage: See above.
  • The Psycho Rangers: Dark Young Avengers, also called Young Masters of Evil.
  • Rape as Backstory: Kate Bishop, again.
  • Reality Warper: Wiccan.
  • Relationship Reveal: Wiccan and Hulkling, although it was downplayed due to everyone seeing it coming.
  • Running Gag: Not so much a gag, but a frequent occurrence when Clint Barton was using the Ronin identity between Civil War and Siege; whenever he teamed up with the Young Avengers, Kate would be incapacitated at some point in the battle purely so the writer (yes, more than one did it) could have Clint take up the bow and arrow again.
  • Scarf of Asskicking: Kate Bishop,
  • Shadow Archetype: Most of the Young Avengers have a Shadow Archetype in the Dark Young Avengers.
  • Sizeshifter: Stature and Big Zero.
  • Slap Slap Kiss: Eli and Kate, although it takes them until the Siege tie-in to get to the actual kiss. Cassie sees it coming a mile away.

No matter what, at least [Billy and Teddy] have each other. And you have Eli.
I do not have Eli. All we do is fight.
Why do you think that is?

  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Hulkling, Wiccan and Speed by their origin stories. Especially ironic when one considers that Comic Book Time is very much in force in the Marvel Universe. Most notably, Franklin Richards was born in 1968. He has yet to reach puberty in the main timeline, whereas Speed and Wiccan had to have been born sometime during the 1990's in order for their backstory to work. Of course, Franklin has a Story-Breaker Power that makes ever allowing him to grow up a problem, whereas Wiccan and Speed do not. Hulking, however, is like Franklin in that he really ought to be much older than he is.
  • Start of Darkness: For Kang The Conqueror. Especially obvious after the end of The Children's Crusade.
  • Suddenly Ethnicity: Patriot's first costume completely covers his face, so we don't find out he's black until the third issue. This leads Cap to mistakenly assume his costume is based on Bucky instead of Eli's grandfather.
  • Suddenly Sexuality: Completely averted. Signs that Wiccan and Hulkling are a couple are there from Day One.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: Patriot states that he got his powers from a transfusion from his grandfather, a Super Soldier made with Cap's Super Serum. However, it was actually Mutant Growth Hormone. Later, he actually got one from his grandfather.
  • Superpowerful Genetics:
    • Wiccan and Speed somehow inherit their "mother" and "uncle's" mutant powers, despite being reincarnated, and therefore not genetically related to the Maximoffs at all [or each other, but they're still identical twins]. Though trying to apply logic and/or science to Reality Warping will only bring you sorrow and grief, especially considering that the boys are technically older than their past lives. And both The Vision (a robot) and Mephisto (the devil) can lay equal claim to being their father? Your head may explode now.
  • Super Serum: Patriot, using the stuff that started the trope.
  • Super Speed: The imaginatively named Speed, AKA Tommy. He's even faster than Quicksilver.
    • Not necessarily, when they were racing Quicksilver was carrying Wiccan on his shoulder and still managed to beat Speed the second time. However, this is a definite case of New Powers as the Plot Demands, as Quicksilver has never in his long existence as a character exhibited the level of super speed that Tommy routinely displays, nor had he been able to do things such as phase through solid objects by vibrating his body, which he can apparently do now. This does parallel the case with Wiccan though, whose magical and/or reality warping powers are far more extensive than the Scarlet Witch had throughout most of her career.
  • Taking the Bullet: When Cap refuses to hand Hulkling over to the Skrulls or the Kree, one of the Kree soldiers opens fire. Patriot takes the shot, and Cap has the Sentry (their most powerful member) fly him to a hospital to make sure he gets there in time.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Hulkling, when he finds out he is a Skrull (and the prince of them, at that).
  • Tonight Someone Dies: The Children's Crusade #8. It's Cassie.
  • Transparent Closet: Averted and played straight; Billy and Teddy are open about their sexuality, particularly to Billy's parents, but still 'in the closet' about being superheroes.
  • True Companions: Shows up in spades, particularly in the The Children's Crusade mini.
  • Two Girls to a Team
  • Vomit Discretion Shot Check Billy's face in the panel after Speed vibrates them through the wall in Avengers: The Children's Crusade #1.
  • Wham Issue: Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6. The Scarlet Witch is alive, remembers everything she did (and feels horrendous remorse for it), and acknowledges Speed and Wiccan as her children, before discovering that she can undo "No more mutants". But now the X-Men have come calling....
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Speed.
  • You Killed My Father: Cassie tries to do this with Scarlet Witch when they end up on the Mighty Avengers; ironically, Cassie is right that Wanda shouldn't be trusted, but not for the reason she thinks (Wanda is actually Loki, God of Mischief, in disguise).
    • Hulkling had trouble trusting the Super-Skrull after the Super-Skrull, in his desperation to bring Hulkling back to the Skrull Empire so that he, as the rightful heir to the Skrull throne, can bring peace and order to the Empire burned Hulkling's mother actually the Skrull nanny entrusted by his real mother to raise and protect him in secrecy to death right in front of him. Hulkling never quite forgives him, but is able to trust him after the Super-Skrull explains his reasons while showing genuine guilt for the murder.