Are you Young? Wild? Free?note Pictured, clockwise from left: Miss America, Kid Loki, Wiccan, Hulkling, Hawkeye II and Marvel Boy. Not pictured: Patriot, Speed, Stature, Vision, Iron Lad
"Who the #*&% are the Young Avengers?"
The Avengers' main young heroes team, equivalent to The DCU's Young Justice or Teen Titans. Created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung, The team debuted in Young Avengers #1 in 2005 and aimed the young adult readers, but still contained enough Darker and Edgier material for older readers as well. After the first volume ended, Heinberg promised in the letter section a season two that unfortunately was never made, instead many minis were made with various writers having an opportunity with the team (One of them was Matt Fraction who wrote an story about Kate Bishop and Clint Barton building the foundations of what years later would become his acclaimed volume of Hawkeye). Many years later, Heinberg had the chance to write his epilogue in the form of a mini-series called Avengers: The Children's Crusade. A new volume of Young Avengers was released as a part of the Marvel NOW relaunch, this time in the hands of acclaimed Phonogram and Journey Into Mystery writer, Kieron Gillen.After The Avengers disassembled, a young time traveler decided to assemble a team with people related to the Avengers history, however none of them knew how exactly they related to the Avengers so they decided to just use codenames and costumes related to the Big Four (Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor) as an homage. The initial lineup were Patriot (Elijah "Eli" Bradley), Asgardian (William "Billy" Kaplan), Hulkling (Theodore "Teddy" Altman) and Iron Lad (Nathaniel "Nate" Richards). Later, another four members joined: Stature (Cassandra "Cassie" Lang), Hawkeye II (Katherine "Kate" Bishop), Speed (Thomas "Tommy" Shepherd) and a younger version of The Vision, but Iron Lad left the team and Asgardian changed his codename to "Wiccan" thus forming the most classic lineup of the team. A year after the events of The Children's Crusade, a new version of the team was formed including three of the original members (Wiccan, Hulkling and Hawkeye II) and three new members: Marvel Boy (Noh-Varr), Miss America (America Chavez) and Loki (yes, that one).Generally, reception has been positive, specially from GLBT readers. According to most people some of the best things on the original book were the cultural diversity of the members and 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. However inside Marvel, the team is very well liked and protected, having appeared in almost all of the major events since its formation, having regular appearances and cameos in other titles to keep the characters from falling in limbo, giving its creator the task of bringing back major characters in a story of the team, honoring most of the creator's decision for the characters in his final story and launching a new volume with a fresh direction to not collide with the original direction the team's creator had.The most important comics where the team appears are:
Young Avengers: The origin and beginnings of the team.
Civil War: Young Avengers/ Runaways: During the Civil War storyline, the Young Avengers team up with Marvel's other group of teenage superheroes to fight a government branch who had sent a brainwashed Marvel Boy after them.
Young Avengers Presents: An anthology by different creators, each issue focusing on a different member of the team.
Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers: During the Skrull attack on Earth, the two teams of teenage superheroes have to join forces again, when Xavin's old mentor is sent to find and kill Hulkling.
Dark Reign: Young Avengers: There's a new team calling themselves the Young Avengers in town. When the original Young Avengers investigate, they butt heads with with Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers.
Siege: Young Avengers: A one-shot detailing the Young Avengers' activities during the Siege of Asgard.
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.
Affirmative Action Legacy: The original Patriot (decades before Eli took up the mantle) was a white guy named Jeffery Mace. Kate Bishop is also a female, while the original Hawkeye was a male. America Chavez is also the third person to use the Miss America identity, and both of her predecessors were white women.
Justified in Eli's case, as he's also legacy in a different sense to another such character.
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 & 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 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.
The Bad Guy Wins: The boys' first outing as heroes had them up against Electro, who was... out of their weight class. After he got done giving them the beatdown, they basically just said "Let us leave and we'll never bother you again." On the plus side they went straight from there to the church at the beginning of Volume 1.
The Cavalry: Iron Lad's return in Children's Crusade to prevent Wolverine from killing Wanda.
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".
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 battle staves, and also wears Mockingbird's mask. 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.
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.
Doomed by Canon: Once we learn that Iron Lad is a teenage Kang the Conqueror, his fate is a given.
Downer Ending: 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 & 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 calls the four of them to Avengers Mansion & 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.
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 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.
Have I Mentioned I am Gay?: In The Children's Crusade, Teddy continually calls Billy his boyfriend over and over and over, with such frequency that you'd think the writers get paid for bringing it up a ridiculous amount of times in the space of a few issues.
Averted by the end of the arc, as they actually have their first on-panel kiss and become engaged - the current run is doing a much better job at showing what their relationship is actually like.
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.
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 codenames, 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 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.
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 is reminiscent of another pair of very close friends (Time travel, anyone?). However, those two are no where near as close as Wiccan and Hulkling.
Ms. Marvel too. Wiccan & Hulkling just can't catch a break.
Mr. Fanservice: Noh-Varr spends entire first issue of new series only in his underwear, and mostly dancing.
Mythology Gag: in the new series, Kid!Loki is manipulating the formation of this new team for reasons known only to himself - he specifically notes that getting TheAvengers together is a classic Loki thing to do. (This is at least the third time that he's done it, and the second time on purpose.)
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pretty much all Iron Lad tried to do so far, especially in Children's Crusade, where everything he or Billy tried to do to turned horrible.
Billy again in new series after ressurecting Teddy's mother, Miss America for stopping Loki from preventing it and Loki himself for making her think he wants to kill Billy, which is why she interrupted him in the first place.
Not Wearing Tights: As creators noted, Miss America doesn't have a costume, just a theme of clothing.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Playing With Syringes: What happens to Wiccan, Hulkling, Xavin and Karolina when they get captured during the Young Avengers/Runaways Civil War crossover, although they get rescued fairly quickly. Also makes up the backstories for Speed and Noh-Varr, instilling both boys with a distrust of authority. Each time, the implication is that alien beings and mutants are considered to have less rights than normal humans and no legal protection against this treatment.
Put on a Bus: Speed in new series had moved out, because Kaplan's were driving him nuts. Kieron Gillen noted that it's because having him on the team would make the cast too big, plot too Billy-centered and he shares so many bits of personality with either Noh-Varr, Miss America or Kid Loki, that he would seem redundant. It's however possible he might join the team once the cast will expand and will be in issue #6.
Executive Meddling: Eli however is under editorial embargo, because a different writer already has plans for him.
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 occurance 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 & arrow again.
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?
Slut Shaming: Kate mentally discusses it with herself in the beginning of he fist issue of the new series, thinking she should be ashamed of herself for having a one-night-stand with Marvel Boy. She then decides that such thoughts are idiotic.
Played straight out of universe though. #3's letter page has a very critical letter attached concerning this, believing that the two sleeping together makes them both 'instantly dislikable', as it's not the kind of behaviour superheroes should be partaking in. While Kieron Gillen disagrees and had to respond in the most withdrawn manner he could, he vents his frustration at this sentiment on his tumblr page, while mentioning that it's not the only letter like this he got (he chose the one that was actually printable), with most putting focus on Kate doing the act. Evidently, Mr Gillen does not like the idea that there's anything wrong with a woman sleeping with a guy she likes on the first date.
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.
Somebody asked Kieron Gillen, the writer of the new series, about it. He answered by yelling that every time somebody tries to force Marvel Universe's timeline to make sense, a character in Avengers Arena gets their wings.
Standard Female Grab Area: In Issue #2, Patriot tries to stop Cassie Lang by using this. Subverted when she says her father let her take self-defense lessons and throws Patriot into a bush.
Start of Darkness: For Kang The Conqueror. Especially obvious after the end of Children's Crusade.
Although, Wiccan lost a few points of Straight Gay when he decided the best disguise for the team was outfits from The Sound of Music. And with the latest artist's rendition of his hair.
Even earlier than that came from "Young Avengers Presents..." in which he mentions quoting Project Runway for a spell.
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.
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 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.
Timey Wimey Ball: Where Kang the Conqueror is involved expect to find this trope is full effect. Iron Lad is actually Kang's past self. He started the Young Avengers to help him fight Kang because he doesn't want to become Kang. When Kang shows up Iron Lad kills him, in the process inadvertently turning the world into a Bad Future. In order to put things back to normal he has to return to the future and become Kang.
Jessica Jones: Is this a time travel thing? Because I hate time travel things. Iron Man: If it's Kang it's a time travel thing. Jessica: See, this is why I hate Kang...
From interviews you might get the impression Kieron Gillen wanted to create much larger cast, but decided he wouldn't be able to tell a good story with it and cut it to bare minimum. He plans on slowly expanding it as the series goes on. He also wanted to use Eli, but was told another writer already called dibs on him.
What Happened to the Mouse?: The Young Masters of Evil that appeared and escaped at the end of the arc. They haven't appeared or been mentioned since.
It's a bit complicated. They appeared at first at the start of the Heroic Age in a short story. After that, they split up. Melter ended up drafted by The Mandarin. Executioner and Egg-Head showed up in the Vengeance miniseries along with Mako, a new Black Knight, and the Radioactive Kid. Executioner and Radioactive Kid ended up in a Latverian Prison, Black Knight quit and Mako had his head cut off. The rest of them joined Jeremy Briggs Clean Slate plan in Avengers Academy.
Word of Dante: It isn't quite clear if Wiccan and Speed are actually Mutants. Just about every fan assumes so, which probably led to a few times that they've been referred to as mutants in the series.
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).
Wiccan 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 Empireburned Hulkling's mother actually the Skrull nanny entrusted by his real mother to raise and protect him in secrecyto death right in front of him. Hulkling was surprisingly forgiving, especially after the Super-Skrull explains his reasons while showing genuine guilt, but his boyfriend was not.