Hi, comic lovers! It’s very rare that I get a week with two comics I love as much as this week’s winners. Some truly fantastic stuff coming out of the House of Ideas at Marvel these days. It’s work like this that keeps my passion alive for mainstream comic books.
Young Avengers #2
In the end of issue #1, in an effort to do something nice for his boyfriend, Wiccan (the son of the Scarlet Witch) reaches into an alternate dimension to rescue Hulkling’s mother moments before she was killed. Or at least, that was his goal. Actually, he pulled over some sort of extradimensional parasite that tricked him into opening up a gateway, and she’s got their adoptive parents, as well as most of the Uncanny Avengers, under some sort of spell.
And then she throws them into a metaphysical time-out, which does not bode well for our young heroes.
And then we get one of my favorite two-page spreads in the history of comics. If you read Keiron Gillen’s run on Journey Into Mystery, you were treated to getting to know Young Loki. He’s just the best. He’s a trickster god, reborn and taking advantage of a second chance. Sorta. But he’s still Loki, just with less cackling evil madness, and more long term planning. I put Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery on my shortlist that I reserve for works like The Sandman, Starman, Claremont’s original X-Men run, and other such rarefied works. I just love the character.
So Young Loki shows up, plays havoc with the fourth wall and comic book conventions, and breaks the kids out. Because he actually knows what’s going on. And since he’s Loki, they don’t really trust him, decide to take him captive and go to the nearest Asgardian stronghold (in Oklahoma, long story), and then things also don’t go well.
It’s worth not glossing over the fact that this is a young Super-Hero team book where two of the characters are gay and romantically involved. And it doesn’t have to be published in an Adults imprint, or get slapped with a Mature Readers label – it’s rated T+ (Teen Plus), like most of the line. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this couple.
Equally amazing was….
I’ve liked Matt Fraction’s work for a while, but for some reason, Hawkeye is really bringing out the best of him. It’s an entire new level he’s reaching. I love it when someone whose career you’ve been following has everything click like this.
Hawkeye #8 is a noir tale. Which means it’s about a dame (Shh, in noir, we’re dames.) She’s beautiful. She’s trouble. Don’t trust her. The hero does anyway, and gets in over his head. There’s a McGuffin (a very small safe, in this case), a sort of hilarious gang, fistfights, gunshots, disapproving avengers, even more disapproving sidekicks (Kate Bishop is the best! I will always say this.)
This is how you do a one-shot story. The pacing is great, the characters are strong, the art is fantastic. There’s some really nice paneling for the talky sections, that don’t take up half the page count while getting out the atmospheric dialogue.
I’m not alone in singing the praises of Hawkeye. This is a critical darling, and for good reason. Check it out, will you?
Click on the images (they’re links to where you can buy them digitally at Comixology) and try one of these. They’re the good stuff you’ve always known comics can be.