Avid comic collector & fan for nearly twenty years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
Published by Marvel Comics, The Young Avengers was created by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung. This team of superheroes featured characters that were adolescents and connected or somehow related to various Avengers or superheroes in the Marvel Comics.
The concept of this team is quite simple and very much like the Teen Titans. Young Avengers mirrored their adult counterparts.
We see what I mean by that, so lets get into some significant Young Avengers comics.
Young Avengers #1
1st appearance of the Young Avengers
1st appearance of Patriot & Iron Lad
1st appearance of Hulkling & Billy Kaplan as Asgardian
1st appearance of Kate Bishop
Well, when it comes to the most important of key comics for the Young Avengers, it should be their debut. Well, at least, most of the team member's 1st appearances, and there are quite a bit of 1st appearances in this issue of Young Avengers #1.
So let's dig into this very first Young Avengers key comic and look at the team members who debut in this awesome issue.
Oh, my, this is Eli Bradley and he's actually the 2nd Marvel character to take up the name or mantle of the Patriot. That's true, a Golden Age fellow named Jeffrey Mace was the first to appear as Patriot, and he did so in The Human Torch #4. That issue is numbered issue #3 on the cover, however.
Well, Eli Bradley is actually the grandson of Isaiah Bradley. As the super soldier serum was lost after the death of Dr. Erskine, the government, naturaly, wanted to create more super soldiers like Steve Rogers. Col. Walker Price and Dr. Wilfred Nagel, used Isaiah and 300 other African-American solders as test subjects to recreate the super soldier serum.
Only Issaiah and a handful of men survived the process and became a covert black ops team during World War II. On one mission, Issaiah took a Captain America costume and shield, and even though his mission was a success, Issaiah was court-martialed for stealing the Captain America costume.
He would serve 17 years in solitary confinement, but he did have a daughter prior to the experiments. She would give birth to a son. Enter Eli Bradley, and he did not genetically receive his grandfather's powers.
Instead, Eli used the Mutant Growth Hormone (MGH) to simulate superpowers. In the Marvel Comics MGH are illegal.
He would end up quitting the team, but Hulking was captured by the Super Skrull. Eventually, Eli would become a real super soldier by receiving a blood transfusion from his grandfather, Issaiah.
Asgardian - Billy Kaplan
You ready for this character? A little bit complex as it has to do with Scarlet Witch.
Let's get down to brass tax, because there's quite a bit to explain.
Okay, so if you're a comic fan of the Avengers, you may remember that Scarlet Witch and the Vision had twin kids. Uh, yeah, how a human mated with an android was highly odd, but it did happen.
Tommy and William's Maximoff's birth happened in Vision and the Scarlet Witch #12 of the 2nd/Vol 2 or 1985 twelve issue limited series. It was then revealed that her children weren't real in issue #52 of the West Coast Avengers.
Tommy and William's souls were actually missing pieces of Mephisto. In the end, Agatha Harkness had to make them disappear.
This would end up really messing up Scarlet Witch in the near future. In the House of M story line, Wanda would warp reality in a desperate act to bring back her children.
The end of that story line would change Marvel Comics for quite a bit, as the Scarlet Witch would depower 90% of the mutant population. It was an act that carried over into mainstream continuity.
Okay, so how is all this connected to Billy Kaplan. Well, Billy Kaplan and his brother Speed are actually the reincarnations of Tommy and William Maximoff.
Seriously? No, joke, and, yes, they went there. Therefore, Billy is the son of Scarlet Witch and Vision in a twisted sense.
Billy Kaplan is gay and is in a relationship with the Skrull changeling known as Hulkling. Speaking of which, let's talk a bit about him.
Okay, here we have the shape-shifting, Skrull known as Hulkling. His Skrull name is Dorak VIII and his Earthly name is Teddy Altman.
He is the son of the original Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) and the daughter of Emperor Dorak VII, Princess Anelle. That was a no-no, and immediately after his birth, Teddy was marked for death by his grand-father.
A Skrull nurse would smuggle him to Earth and raise him while posing as his mother. It was not until a Super Skrull came to Earth seeking Teddy and revealed this all to him.
Creator Allan Heinberg originally was going to make Hulkling a female character by the name of Chimera. He was initially not sure if Marvel was going to allow him to have two openly male gay characters in a relationship like that.
Editor Tom Brevoort and Heinberg discussed it, and it was decided to have them two openly gay, male characters that were involved. History is made.
Because he is half-Kree and half-Skrull, Teddy has shape-shifting abilities plus super strength. He also has healing factor but no where near the level of Wolverine or the Hulk, but he is still pretty bad ass.
Kate Bishop debuts in Young Avengers #1 as a civilian or as herself. No superhero identity or whatnot.
She actually is a bride's maid in this issue, and the Young Avengers of Hulkling, Patriot, Iron Lad, and Asgardian end up crashing the wedding she's attending to stop a bunch of gunmen who took the place hostage.
She is named in issue #1 however, and she does show up plenty in this issue. Kate Bishop would eventually take the mantle of Hawkeye and join the Young Avengers team.
She does not join in this issue, but we shall get to that Young Avengers key comic in a bit.
Iron Lad - Nathaniel Richards
Okay, most comic fans know that Nathaniel Richards is also another complex and highly confusing character due to a lot of time traveling. Yes, he is a descendent of Reed Richards and does end up becoming Kang the Conqueror in so many different iterations and alternate time streams.
So, here's the deal: We're just going to deal with this Nathaniel Richards. He is from the future in a reality officially called Earth-6311. It's implied that he is a descendant of both Reed Richards and Victor von Doom.
A young sixteen-year old Nathaniel Richards learns that he becomes Kang the Conqueror from his adult self and travels back in time to avoid the villain he would become. So begins this character's journey.
Nathaniel and the Young Avenger's origin would thus begin, and that's where the very next issue comes in.
Young Avengers #2
Origin of Nathaniel Richards
2nd Iron Lad, Patriot, Hulkling, Billy Kaplan, & Kate Bishop
Kate Bishop meets Cassie Lang
Okay, let's just state and get all the 2nd appearances out of the way. So, this issue also holds the 2nd appearances of Iron Lad, Hulkling, Billy Kaplan as Asgardian, Eli Bradley as Patriot and Kate Bishop.
A little more fun stuff: This issue also is the first time Kate Bishop and Cassie Lang first meet. Cassie is looking for the Young Avengers.
Now to the real meat of this issue. Young Avengers #2 reveals the origin of Nathaniel Richards and this will eventually lead to how and why the team is formed.
As I mentioned before, his future self as Kang the Conqueror visits him. It appears that his future self stops a fateful event from happening, a fateful event that saw one of his crazy bullies being prevented from slicing his throat.
So his future self as Kang the Conqueror stops a bully of his younger self from slicing his throat, which would lay him up in the hospital for a long time and nearly bankrupted his folks. Outfitted with his own technological armor given to him by...well...himself...from the future, he almost kills his bully.
Nate takes his new technology and travels back in time, hoping to find the Avengers. This comic came out shortly after the time of the Avengers Disassembled story arc, so when Nate arrives in mainstream continuity, he finds the Avengers had disbanded already.
Coming across the remains of the then deceased Vision, he ends up downloading a fail-safe program that would either reform the Avengers if they ever disbanded or find the next generation of Avengers. We all know which route this story took, but that would not be explained in this issue just yet. Next!
Pattering his armor off Iron Man's, Nate as Iron Lad ends up seeking out this new batch of Avengers to stop his future self and possibly changing his own evil destiny. Of course, this is told to Captain America and Iron Man as they investigate who these Young Avengers are.
In the next issue, Nate will explain how the Vision fail-safe program selected the Young Avengers members, and like mentioned before, it was because each had a tie or connection to the "adult" Avengers in some way. However, nobody really knows the connection just yet.
Oh, the mystery. Yep, you can expect some individual origins to happen for the Young Avengers here and there, but there is one member who does know his origin.
Young Avengers #4
Cassie Lang & Kate Bishop joins team
1st appearance of Hulkling in human form
1st appearance of Kate Bishop in costume
Ah, so the evil future Kang finds out where they are and shows up. Captain America and Iron Man tricked the youngins into a vault for their safety.
Cassie Lang was not chosen by the Avengers fail-safe program, but it's implied that she would've been if the Vision had known about her powers. By the way, her having powers is revealed in issue #2 where she grows large unintentionally.
So, future Kang is looking for younger Kang to return him back to his proper place in the time stream. The youngins below are planning how to protect young Kang from future Kang.
Well, as we all know about time travel and messing with things, you can start altering the present...errrr...past, in this case.
Cassie and Kate help the Young Avengers to escape the vault and act as members of the team.
Yeah, I know, not exactly the iconic costume, but Kate doesn't take up the Hawkeye mantle just yet either. Actually, she doesn't take up that mantle for a good couple of issues.
It's still a pretty cool image of her first look as a costumed hero.
Young Avengers #5
1st Kate Bishop cover
1st appearance of Jonas (Vision)
Okay, I originally was not going to put this issue in here at first. Then again, I thought this is sort of an important issue to both Vision and the Young Avengers.
It gets a bit hairy so let's start off with something a bit more easy. This issue's cover is the 1st Kate Bishop cover.
I guess it's not exactly a "full" if peeps really want to go that route, but whatever. Still a 1st cover appearance. You can make up your own minds about that.
Okay, so let's back to the Vision. In the Disassembled story line, the Vision goes haywire after Wanda has a break down due to the loss of her twins. He ends up battling against his Avengers team mates and is ripped apart by She-Hulk.
When Iron Lad found the Visions remains and discovered the Vision's fail-safe program, he downloaded the Vision's operating system into his own armor and patterned his armor off of Iron Man. When he goes back home, he reactivated the armor and left it in the present just before returning to the 30 Century.
The armor is a fusion of the Vision's operating system and the imprint of Nate's brain pattern. Therefore, it has Nate's emotions and is a sentient being. Another thing is that the armor kept Nate's feelings for Cassie Lang.
So, this issue has the first appearance of the third Vision in Marvel Comics. It is a new Vision or is suppose to be. He would name himself Jonas in a different comic.
Young Avengers #6
1st Cassie Lang as Stature
Billy Kaplan becomes Wiccan
Kate Bishop & team get revised costumes
Iron Lad leaves group
1st full or 2nd Kate Bishop cover
It seems that Nate or Iron Lad agrees to go back to his time, so he leaves the group in this issue. It would later be learned that the resurrected Vision in issue #5 was actually a fusion of the Vision's operating system and Iron Lad's futuristic armor tech.
So, in true comic book fashion, this allows Iron Lad's armor to gain sentience. Yes, Nate did leave the armor with the group, and it somehow acquired Nate's brain patterns (emotions), a long with his feelings for Cassie Lang.
Alright, so it seems that Captain America and Iron Man don't give the Young Avengers their consent and threaten to shut them down. This almost worked if it weren't for Kate and Cassie.
The gals convinced them that they should keep going and a few important things happen in this issue. Okay, Cassie is seen suited up before this issue.
She is first seen suited up in issue #2. Only thing she doesn't put on is the mask.
However, she claims her code name is Stature in this issue, and the very last page shows her all suited as "Stature". Kate gets her iconic costume and it's mentioned if she'll take up the code name of Hawkeye but she refuses.
Billy Kaplan becomes Wiccan and gets new threads as well. This Key Young Avengers issue has seen heat due to Cassie Lang, and it is highly anticipated that her character in the MCU will be aged up and she'll become Stature.
In terms of the Young Avengers, there is other goodness to this issue as well, so it is one of the Young Avengers key comics to fully be aware of.
Young Avengers #8
1st told Origin of Patriot (Eli Bradley)
This issue has Eli confess about why he needs to take Mutant Growth Hormone, and apparently when Nathaniel and him first met, Nate was actually looking for Josiah, Eli's uncle.
Apparently Josiah was born after Eli's mom, so his uncle was genetically affected by the super soldier serum that enhanced Isaiah. The only problem was that Josiah had been missing for a while, so Nate recruited Eli after he lied and said that he was a super soldier too.
So, Young Avengers #8 has the 1st very brief told origin of Eli Bradley and how he met Iron Lad and pretty much how he is recruited by Nate to the Young Avengers as Patriot. His origin would be expanded on in later issues.
Actually, let's get that Young Avengers comic next.
Young Avengers Special #1
Origin of Hulkling & Billy Kaplan
Origin of Kate Bishop
Extended origin of Eli Bradley
As of now, I don't think this is a widely known key issue just yet. It has the first told origins of Hulkling, Billy Kaplan, and Kate Bishop.
The issue also extends the origin of Eli Bradley and digs a bit further into his past and his relationship with his grandfather. The prior events that lead up to Cassie Lang looking for the Young Avengers and meeting Kate Bishop in issue #2 is revealed in this issue as well.
Great read and definitely not just a Young Avengers key to have, but an origin key for Kate Bishop, Hulkling and Billy Kaplan also. This issue does not reveal Hulkling's Kree and Skrull origins however. It tells of his life prior and up to when he first meets Nate Richards as Iron Lad.
Young Avengers #10
1st Appearance Tommy Shepherd
Reveals Teddy is Skrull
Extended origin of Hulkling
Here it is: the magical issue that debuts Tommy Shepherd. We don't know he's the reincarnated brother of Billy Kaplan, but all the members of the Young Avengers do remark about how the pair look identical. You know, that's a lead up.
Another great thing about this issue is that it extends the origin of Teddy Altman and reveals his Skrull origins. See panels below:
Young Avengers #11
Origin of Tommy Shepherd
Extended Origin of Billy Kaplan
Reveals they are brothers
Reveals they are children of Scarlet Witch
Yo, what happens when you have a Super Skrull come to visit you and tell you that you're the son of a Skrull princess? Well, apparently a whole bunch of stuff, and it seems the Skrull is not the only one searching for Teddy Altman.
Yep, seems the Kree know of his existence and come to collect him. That means a slight bit more about his parents is revealed. Actually, it's really just a recap from the Kree perspective, and the important thing about this issue is that it reveals he is the son of Captain Mar-Vell.
This issue reveals that Teddy is the son of Captain Mar-Vell and how that became possible. However, that isn't all that's important about this issue.
Seems that this Super Skrull isn't such a bad guy after all, and somehow he knows about Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd and who they really are. Yep, then the issue gets into it, and it's explained how Billy and Tommy are the twin sons of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.
Yeppers. Cool issue and I have become a fan of this comic series. Onward to issue #12.
Young Avengers #12
1st Appearance of Kate Bishop as Hawkeye
Eli becomes super soldier.
Tommy becomes Speed & joins Team
1st appearance as or becomes? Whichever, a few issues prior teased this eventual outcome, but it is in this issue where Kate finally succumbs and takes up the mantle of Hawkeye.
She is the third character to do so, and it was under the behest and blessing of none other than Captain America.
Also, Eli got hurt in issue #11. He was rushed to the hospital and after the battle with the Kree and Skrulls, the Avengers go to see him.
Cap was going to give him blood, but it seemed like another Captain America beat him to it. By the end of the comic issue, it's implied that Eli's blood transfusion from his grandpa turned him into a real super soldier.
And last but certainly not least, Tommy suits up, takes the mantle of Speed and joins the team in this here issue. As stated before, there is a lot more to this issue when it comes to key issue goodness other than Kate Bishop's 1st appearance as Hawkeye.
It does have Tommy Shepherd's first appearance as Speed, when the speedster joins the team, and when Eli becomes a "real" super soldier. Issue #12 was the last to volume 1 of the series, but are we done?
Nope, not quite, but this Key Young Avengers comics series shall be continued another time and, possibly, another place. Thanks for reading and please share this. Much appreciated. Happy Hunting out there!
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