Following Endgame, we don’t really know what the Avengers team looks like in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Is there even a team anymore? While we’ll no doubt see some version of the superhero team in the future, I have a strong feeling that this isn’t the only version of the Avengers we’ll be seeing in the MCU.
Over the past year, we’ve had a few new characters introduced to the MCU in WandaVision, Loki and The Falcon and The Winter Solider. Characters who, when apart may not seem that important, but when put together make up a teenage version of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – the Young Avengers.
So who are the Young Avengers, and where would they fit in the MCU?
Who are the Young Avengers?
It probably goes without saying that this is all pure speculation, and is based on what we’ve seen in the MCU so far and a bunch of comics that were published over the past two decades. There are also spoilers ahead for these comics.
Created by writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung, the original Young Avengers series ran for 12 issues back in 2005. The initial Young Avengers team included Wiccan (William Maximoff), Iron Lad (Nathaniel Richards), Patriot (Eli Bradley) and Hulking (Teddy Altman), who were then joined by Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Stature (Cassandra Lang), Speed (Tommy Maximoff) and a version of Vision that is a combination of the android’s programming and Iron Lad’s emotions. If you’ve been paying attention to the MCU, most of those names should sound familiar.
Cassandra is the daughter of Ant-Man Scott Lang and last appeared in Avengers: Endgame, both William and Tommy Maximoff were in WandaVision and Eli Bradley is the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, who both appeared in The Falcon and The Winter Solider. We haven’t seen Kate Bishop in action yet, but she’s due to debut in the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+.
While you might not know Nathaniel Richards by name you’ve seen him before. Or at least, a variant of him – Iron Lad is the teenage version of He Who Remains, aka Kang the Conqueror. Loki has already hinted that we’ll be seeing different variants of Kang in the future and it seems like the MCU is building towards something big with this character, so a heroic version existing somewhere out there in the multiverse makes sense.
The only major character from this lineup that we haven’t seen yet is Hulking. Although consider he’s a Kree-Skrull hybrid, it wouldn’t be that big of a stretch to suggest that he might rock up in the upcoming Secret Invasion series or The Marvels.
While she’s never been an official member of this team, we’re also due a Ms. Marvel series on Disney+ later this year. I don’t think it’d be that surprising to have the eponymous hero on the Young Avengers team.
How would the Young Avengers fit into the MCU?
As mentioned before, we don’t really know what’s going on with the Avengers at the moment.
In the original comics, the Young Avengers formed because the Avengers had dissembled. Realising that the world needs an Avengers team, Iron Lad brought together Wiccan (originally named Asgardian), Hulkling and Patriot to fill that void. If there is no active Avengers team in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Young Avengers could easily fill that void.
What should you read?
Compared to some other Marvel characters, the Younger Avengers are fairly young, so there’s not a lot of comics out there. There’s the original series by Heinberg and Cheung, which shows us how the team formed and has them facing off against Kang the Conqueror, who has travelled back in time to make sure his younger counterpart stays on track to become, y’know, a conqueror.
After that, there’s the sequel Avengers: The Children’s Crusade by the same creative team, and then a second Young Avengers series created by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Released in 2013, this second series included Kid Loki on the team. He’s another character who was recently introduced into the MCU during Loki, and we last saw him wandering off into the Void at the end of time. And if there’s one thing Lokis do well, it’s survive.
All of these comics are pretty good to great. In terms of art, these comics are why Cheung is considered one of the best superhero artists of the past few decades. While McKelvie’s art is comparatively more indie in appearance, his take on superhero comics are crackling with vibrancy and includes some great experiments with page layouts.
There’s an unfortunate trend in mainstream superhero comics where teenagers aren’t written to sound like teenagers, and instead, come across as the spandex-clad versions of “How do you do fellow kids.” Thankfully, both Heinberg and Gillen know how to write teenagers that actually sound like teenagers, adolescent awkwardness and angst included.
This isn’t too surprising in Heinberg’s case, as he was the co-executive producer, executive consultant and writer for The OC. This also explains why The OC was the only mid-2000s teen drama to namedrop comics writer Brian Michael Bendis in multiple episodes.
Only time will tell if the Young Avengers will be making the jump from the comic page to the big screen. Considering how chock-full Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe currently is though, we probably won’t see the teenage superhero team get together until maybe Phase Five.
But if we do get some version of the Young Avengers in the future, I just want to be the first to say, “I told you so.”