More 2013 Highlights and Lowlights

young-avengersTime for so more highlights and lowlights, this time from Sean Robinson


1. /Saga/

I could sit here and tell you what Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga is closest to in forms of other literature. I could tell you it’s Star Wars meets Game of Thrones, but that would most certainly not give it the recognition it deserves. Saga is more than an amalgamation of many science fiction and fantasy works. It is the fully realised story of two people on different sides of a war who fall in love, with more character development in a single panel than most series do in one issue.

Combined with Staples’ glorious art and design and we have a series that is one of the best, and I hope will keep on going for years to come.

Favourite issue:  #14 has my favourite page in a comic this year too.

2. /Rachel Rising/

I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of this horror series written and drawn by Terry Moore. I haven’t had a chance to review it just yet, only having discovered it not too long ago, but this has quickly jumped up to being one of my most anticipated series each month. A slow burning horror series centred on the resurrection of the title character Rachel, it is probably most impressive in what Moore doesn’t write, letting the images speak for themselves for pages on end, creating a truly creepy world. A masterpiece of horror in any medium.

Favourite issue: Seriously the entire run is fantastic, can’t pin a single issue down.

3. /Young Avengers/

I never read the original Young Avengers run that people held so dear, so I can’t speak to the quality or the legacy which that series holds.  What I can tell you is that the second volume of Young Avengers is awesome in its own right. Sure, it’s creepy that Loki is a kid again, but a hilariously told tale from Keiron Gillen about growing up as a superhero, with all the awkwardness of being a internet-age  teenager, completed by a brilliantly designed page layout from Jamie McKelvie. It’s coming to an end soon, so you best be getting on the train while you still can.

Favourite issue:  Issue #7, complete with Loki’s newsfeed. Great stuff.

Lowlight of 2013

/Joker’s Daughter #1/

This issue is a travesty – a mess of storytelling and sub par art work. A character that doesn’t need to exist, who has the most tenuous ties to the Joker. Regardless, could work with an able writer, but Ann Noncenti messes it up so horrifically that I never want to see or hear from this character again. Shame on you DC.

Review: Young Avengers #7 – Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie

youngavengersFull disclaimer – I have never read the much-loved original run of Young Avengers from a few years back. It slipped right past me, and I have always intended to pick it up. So without this preconception, I picked up the first arc of Young Avengers a few weeks back, and haven’t looked back. This title is absolutely fantastic, and with issue 7, it looks like its only going to get better.

Writer Kieron Gillen has managed to create a superhero team that doesn’t feel quite so self important like the other Avenger crews. Too often in those larger titles the world feels like it’s the only thing at stake, and everything is written with that in mind rather than a more closer threat. With Young Avengers this isn’t the case. Their enemies, while equally universe-spanning, feel a lot more personal rather than an attempt at destroying the planet – and with the events of issue 6 setting up a fairly terrifying villain who has taken one of their own – it feels like these heroes are merely trying to get by rather than looking for danger. It makes the series feel more realistic, with the threat being a danger to the team, not some mustache twirling super-villain’s attempt at a new world order

Gillen’s more grounded storytelling transfers over well to the characters. Each individual character acts like you’d imagine a group of 18 year olds battling personal dilemmas like having sense of worth and managing powers. Not only are their issues real, but the dialogue feels real also. These are a bunch of teenagers who react to each other, and the language reflects that –  these are kids who are stuck with one another, so it’d make even the most quiet of people want pick on one another.

The story in this issue is mainly about having the pieces fall into place. The team is approached by Prodigy, who gives Wiccan information about his brother, who is seemingly absorbed by an inter-dimensional being. As they move to stop him, they find themselves about to pass through other dimensions to do so. There isn’t a great deal going on, but if Young Avengers can be this good on a slow issue, it’s even more brilliant on a better one.

Speaking on brilliance, Jamie McKelvie rivals Hawkeye‘s David Aja in art duties and panel design. From his impressive work on his Tumblr-esque recap page, his breakfast menu credits page, or his Facebook photo reel, each page brims with smart design and great art. His character designs, while were initially a bit too realistic for my liking, and felt like a Saturday morning cartoon, have grown on me and I take back all of that. I absolutely adore McKelvie’s work.

In fact I adore the entire series. Gillen and McKelvie’s smart design and storytelling have elevated this series to one of Marvel’s best, and one of my favourite series so far. Lets all hope it lasts longer than its predecessor.