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Exclusive Preview | Young Avengers #2

From Young Avengers #2

We’re probably as excited about Young Avengers as we are about any of the titles launching as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. Not only does the series reunite Phonogram collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, it teams Young Avengers mainstays like Hulking, Wiccan and Kate Bishop with Miss America, Marvel Boy and fan favorite Kid Loki — at least for starters.

“… What I want to do in Young Avengers is build a kind of larger metastructure that you can use to explore any part of the teen-leaning Marvel Universe outside the traditional doctrines of the larger government side heroes,” Gillen told Comic Book Resources in October. “I have a real strong vision for 12 issues. I have no idea if I’ll be staying on after that or going, but I have 12 definitive, brilliant issues, or maybe 13. After that Young Avengers will be set up as a device where you can go to any of the Marvel Universe locales where teen heroes live and work like the West Coast with the Runaways or the Jean Grey School. It’s a very wide ranging book in that way. For me it’s super heroism as a metaphor for talent and deciding what you want to do with it. There’s a line in my original proposal for this that the original Young Avengers book was kind of about being 16. This book is about being 18.”

Although we still have to wait a few weeks for the debut of Young Avengers — Jan. 23, to be exact — Marvel has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at Issue 2, due to arrive Feb. 27:

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Previews: What Looks Good for January

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1

Graeme McMillan

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 (of 12): I’m a sucker for Doctor Who, I think I’ve said that before, right …? No surprise, then, that I’m very much looking forward to this year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the BBC science-fiction show, with each issue spotlighting a different incarnation of the character. That Simon Fraser is providing art helps a lot, too; I’ve been a big fan of his “Nikolai Dante” work for 2000AD for a while. (IDW Publishing, $3.99)

One Trick Rip-Off/Deep-Cuts hardcover: Speaking of things that I’m a big fan of, Paul Pope easily fits that bill, so this enhanced reprint of his Dark Horse graphic novel — with more than 150 pages of rare and unseen work from the same period, including his Supertrouble manga — is far too tempting to pass up. (Image Comics, $29.99)

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 (of 4): I was very impressed with Star Trek: Countdown back in 2009, and the way it teased the then-upcoming J.J. Abrams reboot without giving too much away, so I’m looking forward to see if this prologue to this summer’s sequel is just as fun. (IDW, $3.99)

Star Wars #1: Brian Wood and Star Wars feel like an odd pairing in my head, but everything I’ve read about this new ongoing series set after the first movie (which is to say, Episode IV these days) seems completely up my alley, and the 5-year-old within me is completely sold on the chance to see more stories set in the “true” Star Wars era. (Dark Horse, $3.50)

Young Avengers #1: Kieron GIllen and Jamie McKelvie pairing on anything is pretty much a must-read for me, but seeing them let loose on Marvel’s teen characters and seemingly determined to make them actually seem like teenagers. … Yeah, this looks like it may be one of my favorite superhero books in quite some time, I suspect. (Marvel, $2.99)

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Food or Comics? | Havarti or The Hive

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

The Hive

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d make up for lost time and get the first collection of Mind the Gap (Image, $9.99). Rodin Esquejo is an absolute gem in my opinion, and Jim McCann looks to have crafted a story with some definite suspenseful power. After that I’d get James Stokoe’s Godzilla: Half Century War #3 (IDW, $3.99). This has become one of my favorite serials to come out, which for a work-for-hire book is tough. Instead of doing a story in service of the concept, it uses the concept to create a great story – and Stokoe really loves Godzilla and puts a face to those humans who oppose him. Finally, I’d get the free Cyber Force #1 (Image/Top Cow, $0) because, well, it’s free. I have an unabashed love for the original Cyber Force, and previous reboots haven’t really gelled the way I wanted to. I’m excited to see what Matt Hawkins brings to this, and I’m glad Silvestri is involved even if only on covers and designs.

If I had $30, I’d first stop for Glory #29 (Image, $3.99). I tend to read this series in built-up bursts, and I’m overdue to catch up. I like the monstrous rage Ross Campbell brings to this, and seeing Joe Keatinge capitalize on the artist he has to create a broader story is thrilling. After that I’d get a Marvel three-pack in Hawkeye #3 (Marvel, $2.99), Daredevil #19 (Marvel, $2.99) and AvX Consequences #2 (Marvel, $3.99). I’d buy David Aja illustrating a phone book – seeing him getting a great story is icing on the cake.

If I could splurge, I’d lash onto Charles Burns’ The Hive (Pantheon, $21.95). I’m reluctantly late to the game when it comes to Charles Burns, but X’ed Out clued me into his awesome cartooning power. After devouring his previous work, I’m excited to read The Hive as it first comes out. I don’t quite know what to expect, but after finally coming around to Burn’s skill I’m up for pretty much anything. Continue Reading »

Bryan Lee O’Malley covers Young Avengers #1

As if confirmation that Phonogram collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are reteaming for the Marvel NOW! launch of Young Avengers (followed by CBR’s exclusive first look) weren’t enough cause for celebration, Marvel has provided Newsarama with variant cover for the debut issue by none other than Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley.

“I basically dance like Loki from that young avenger cover, btw,” Gillen offered on Twitter.

The series, which premieres in January, features a lineup that mixes a little of the old with a little of the new: Hulkling, Wiccan, Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Marvel Boy, Miss America and that dancing machine Loki — at least for starters.

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The Fifth Color | A Crusade to grow up

Avengers: the Children's Crusade #9

I never thought this day would come...

Two years is a long time to wait for closure. And while it might not have been exactly two years since we started Avengers: Children’s Crusade, there were months that felt like we were on this journey forever. Months where you picked up an issue and wondered where everyone in this book was in the grand timeline of the Marvel Universe, how long ago this was supposed to be set from the books we were reading at the time and, especially with the earliest of issues, where we were all going by the time we hit the final issue. What was this crusade for?

Way back when at issue one we find Billy Kaplan, the magically-powered Wiccan, at a crossroads: his unexplained and undefined magical powers were chafing in a Marvel Universe full of super-science, genetics and good old fashioned genius. The potential was there for the Avengers and/or X-Men to have another fiasco on their hands and came to step in. While the adults bickered (and honestly came across as really rash and hostile as opposed to say the approach taken with the Avengers Academy kids, just saying), the Young Avengers teamed up with Magneto to find the one person who knows about having out of control & mistrusted magical powers: Wanda Maximoff.

Early on, this mini-series was presented as the final word on the disgraced Scarlet Witch and the truth behind M-Day. Reading the series over now that the complete picture is here, Allan Heinberg was very clearly here for one reason, but what was it?

WARNING: Avengers: the Children’s Crusade will be discussed to the point of utter spoilage. Please grab your copies and read along!
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After nearly seven years, Hulkling and Wiccan finally kiss

From "Avengers: The Children's Crusade" #9

That roar you hear is the collective jubilant shout of legions of Tumblr users upon reading this week’s Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9. You see, after nearly seven years as (arguably) Marvel’s highest-profile gay couple, Teddy (Hulkling) Altman and Billy (Wiccan) Kaplan finally had their first on-panel kiss. And, boy, was it a doozy, capping off a heartfelt apology turned possible marriage proposal. That’s right, Marvel Universe could be heading toward its first superhero same-sex wedding — but given how long it took Teddy and Billy to just kiss on the page, we probably shouldn’t look for those embossed invitations anytime soon.

Still, as Gay League notes, “These boys get more action than Rawhide Kid – and without a mature readers label to boot!” Of course now that they have kissed, what’s left for all of those fanfic artists to draw?

Read the full sequence below, and check out one of the more entertaining reactions to the Big Moment.

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C2E2 | A roundup of Day 2 news

For those playing along at home, here are highlights of the announcements (and confirmations) coming out of the inaugural Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo today:

Casanova: Luxuria #1

Casanova: Luxuria #1

• Marvel confirmed the long-awaited third volume of Casanova, the critically acclaimed spy-fi series by Matt Fraction, Gabriel Bá and Fabio Moon, will debut in July through its Icon imprint. The issues originally published in the Image Comics “slimline” format — 16 pages of story for $1.99 — will be re-colored, re-lettered and repackaged. “It’s going to be in full color,” Fraction told Comic Book Resources. “It’s hand-lettered by Dustin Harbin, who’s an amazing cartoonist and a very old friend of mine. So it’s really an entirely new presentation of the material. The color is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s going to be produced at full size. So what was once Casanova #2-3 will now be issue #2 of the Icon Casanova, and so on. You’ll be getting 32 full color pages for full price.”

• Via video, writer Allan Heinberg provided details of Marvel’s Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, the miniseries announced in October that reunites him with Young Avengers artist Jimmy Cheung. The bimonthly, nine-issue limited series that builds on plot threads dating back to House of M, and involves Wiccan attempting to find and redeem the Scarlet Witch.

• Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada revealed that “O.M.I.T.” — the mysterious acronym we’ve seen on guitar picks and in comic-book ads — stands for “One Moment In Time,” and deals with the controversial “One More Day” story that erased the wedding day of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Serialized in The Amazing Spider-Man #637-640, the new arc by Joe Quesada and Paolo Rivera will turn back the clock to show the events on what should have been the couple’s wedding day.

• Oni Press announced Yo Gabba Gabba! Story Comic Book Time, an anthology based on the wildly popular preschool television series. The 128-page hardcover will be released this fall.

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Before the Young Avengers, we almost had the Young Avengers

New Warriors #1

New Warriors #1

Marvel’s senior VP-executive editor Tom Brevoort shares a fun blast from the past over on his Marvel.com blog: a proposal for a series called Young Avengers. But this isn’t the Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung book that came out in 2005; it’s a proposal from 1989, by studiomates Jim Valentino and Rob Liefeld. Before Youngblood, Shadowhawk, Deadpool, X-Force or even Guardians of the Galaxy, the duo pitched a series about Namorita, Firestar, Vance Astro, Speedball and Richard Rider — as Torpedo, rather than Nova — coming together with two new characters to train under the direction of Rick Jones.

“At the time this was written in 1989, while both of them had dabbled in doing Marvel work, neither creator had really had a break-out hit. Sharing a studio at the time, they hoped that YOUNG AVENGERS might be it, with Jim writing and Rob illustrating a series they would co-plot,” Brevoort writes.

Although the pages are a bit blurry when scanned in — they were typed more than 20 years ago — you can still read about some of the plots and villains they planned to use, as well as new characters they were creating named Cougar, Brahma, Photon and Combat. Which may sound familiar to readers of Youngblood and related titles.

“As it turned out, work was already underway on the book that eventually was entitled NEW WARRIORS, which prevented this incarnation of YOUNG AVENGERS from moving ahead. It’s actually pretty extraordinary to see how close the line-up for what Jim and Rob proposed was to the eventual NEW WARRIORS team,” Brevoort writes.

If only they’d given Rick Jones some battle armor and a skateboard …

Six by 6 | Six comic-related ‘mom’ moments

Martha Kent

Martha Kent

Behind every good man is a good … mom. Comic books may not always be kind to moms — just ask Martha Wayne, Mary Parker or Lara-El — but the moms who do survive their children’s origin stories go on to do some pretty incredible things. So in honor of Mother’s Day, here are six comic book “mom” moments, where mothers really stepped up to the plate for their kids.

1. Martha Kent knits Superman’s costume: I’m not totally 100 percent sure if this is still considered to be in continuity or not, but it’s something I always accepted — that Ma Kent, Superman’s adoptive mother, made Superman’s costume. That’s probably because of my earliest exposure to the character (beyond the Superfriends cartoons, anyway) — the reruns of The Adventures of Superman I used to watch as a kid. The first episode saw Ma Kent sending Clark off to Metropolis with a suit made from the baby blankets in the rocket that brought him from Krypton to Earth, with the idea that the fabrics wouldn’t tear. When John Byrne rebooted Superman in the 1980s, he kept that element, sort of; in Man of Steel, Ma Kent makes Superman a skintight costume out of ordinary Earth fabric, so it will have “near invulnerability through its close proximity to Superman’s aura.” In any event, a good superhero needs a good costume to wear while fighting evil, and Ma Kent more than stepped up to the job.

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NYCC | Young Avengers vs. Young Masters of Evil

Young Avengers?

Young Avengers?

Marvel announced this weekend at the New York Comic Con that Paul Cornell and Mark Brooks are working on a Dark Reign: Young Avengers mini-series, set to debut this May. In the book, Patriot, Stature and the rest of the crew run into a new group of super-folks calling themselves the Young Avengers, and chaos, naturally, ensues.

“This is a bit of a dream project for me,” Cornell writes on his blog. “It’s basically the Young Avengers running head on into a new group of, well, are they heroes or not? At any rate, they’ve stolen the Young Avengers’ name. Our heroes are put in the same place as the original Avengers were put when they themselves appeared, how do they react to these new kids who don’t really know what they’re doing: fight; mentor; feel attracted to? How about varying degrees of all three?”

But fans looking at this new crew of teenage malcontents will recognize some of the names as not Avengers, but their archenemies, The Masters of Evil. Back in 2006, original Young Avengers writer Allan Heinberg said he wanted to introduce a Young Masters of Evil in his second season of the book. He added they’d have ties to the originals “in the same way the YA have ties to the Avengers.” Heinberg’s second season of Young Avengers obviously never happened, as he became busy with Grey’s Anatomy. But it’s nice to see the idea didn’t die and has been picked up by the very capable Paul Cornell. And it seems a natural tie-in to the themes introduced in Dark Reign, particularly Dark Avengers.

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