A pair of first issues this week: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Mike Norton bring back the Young Avengers: with Kate Bishop and Noh-varr hooking up, and Loki, Miss America, Wicccan, and Hulkling fighting and sniping at each other.
Meanwhile, Natasha Allegri writes and illustrates the exceedingly popular Adventure Time gender-swapped world of Fiona and Cake: the Princesses and Princes, dogs are cats, and the villains are scarier.
Young Avengers #1
According to Noh-Varr, there are no close harmony girl groups in dimensions with transcendental peace and enlightenment – his homeworld is such a place. He talks to Kate bishop the morning after their hookup, as she enjoys the view from his ship in orbit around Earth while listening to retro music from his Earth record collection: The Ronettes sing Be My Baby moments before Skrulls attack. The page where they escape the attack has panels featuring point to point action of Noh-Varr and Kate running and shooting, and has lettering displaying Kate’s thoughts in bold text. Her statement about her current status as a hero boils down to “I have no powers and I am in danger, but I regret nothing”.
This is the opening to Young Avengers #1
This first story arc is titled Style is greater that Substance. Appearance and how it relates to style certainly are a key theme here. Teddy, the shape shifting Hulkling, changes his appearance, and clashes with his partner Billy, the magical Wiccan, about how he enjoys taking on the role of a young avenger – the appearance of truly heroic characters like Spider-man – since he has little else he values in his life. The panel composition of Billy and Teddy’s fight is effective – two pages of uniform squares creates tension as Teddy jabs at Billy.
Loki, who appears as a kid, is called “cosplay boy” by an impatient waiter. His appearance is deceiving, as is Miss America’s, who dresses casually in shorts and a red, white, and blue hoody, but can toss tanks to the moon. Billy’s parents could be in trouble as a new/old character also deceives everyone with their appearance. This issue has great art choices and consistent themes – I highly recommend Young Avengers.
Adventure Time: Fiona and Cake #1
Where do Volcano’s come from? Cake has a good story about it, and tells it to Fiona as dramatic bedtime tale about a passionate woman made of fire. The shape shifting cat tell Fiona that volcanoes are a prison, and come from love, life, and loneliness. The serious tones are dissuaded with humor, and then the Ice Queen appears. She is chasing baby fire lions into the rain to test out a shard of black crystal she carries. An athletic Fire Prince – based on the Fire Princess – pounces, and tries to stop her.
There are some great character moments here: the prince is powerful – and has a type advantage over the Ice Queen – but the Queen plays on his mercy, attacking him with her black ice crystal, and proving herself to be a brute.
The lettering is suitably majestic and flowing for the fairy tale, while the font and colour captures character voice. Once the story arrives at Cake and Fiona’s tree house, however, it feels as though more needs to be done on character facial expressions and anatomy, as character proportions and eyebrows move around inconsistently.
There is a back up feature – Noelle Stevenson writes a short story about sweaters. Prince Gumball has made sweaters for all the main characters, and Marshall Lee’s sweater has a great bat design. unfortunately, neither story shows Fiona’s fighting ability, which is somewhat of a let down. The mini-series is building up Fiona and Cake’s world, however, which is great to read.