The young Avengers first appeared in 2005 thanks to the author Allan Heinberg and the artist Jim Cheung. Following the separation of the Avengers – due to moral and physical assaults and the death of many of them like the Vision and Hawkeye – a mysterious team of teenagers, with powers and costume similar to the Avengers’, arises. First composed of Iron-Lad, Patriot, Hulkling and Asgardian – who later changes it for Wiccan – the boys are soon joined by Stature, aka Cassie Lang the daughter of the departed Ant-Man, and Kate Bishop, then by Speed, aka Tommy Shepherd. This series ended in August 2006 with his 12th issue. Between 2013 and 2014, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie have relaunched the Young Avengers as a Marvel Now! series, but it has been cancelled with the 15th issue. This time, the team was composed of Hulkling and Wiccan, Speed, Hawkeye, the teenager Loki, Marvel Boy and Miss America, soon joined by the ex-mutant Prodigy, aka David Alleyne. So just as the Unity Squad did and still does in Uncanny Avengers, the Young Avengers reunites all heroes, mutants and even god and aliens.
The first arc of Young Avengers, from the #1 to the #6, Sidekicks, tells the story of a new unofficial team of young super-heroes, that the reporters have named Young Avengers. Reunited by Iron-Lad, they are trying to prove to the dissembled Avengers – Captain America and Iron Man – that they are true and legitimate heroes. Despite their efforts, Cap thinks they’re too young to be out in the street fighting against villains. They are a bitter reminder of Bucky’s apparent death, caused by Captain America’s inattention himself. In order to avoid an other teenager’s death, the Avengers are ready to get to extreme measures : calling the young Avengers’ parents. If this threat can make us smile, we mustn’t forget that the young Avengers are about fourteen or fifteen years old top. Besides trying to avoid the Avengers, the young ones have to train to defeat Kang, their ultimate threat as Iron-Lad presented him at first. But it turned out Iron-Lad is a young Kang the Conqueror, who escaped from his own time to avoid becoming Kang.
Family Matters (#9-12) focuses on the origins of Teddy Altman (Hulkling) and Billy Kaplan (Wiccan), and their connections with the original Avengers. If Hulkling looks like Hulk, is before all the son of a Kree and a Skrull, conceived while some Avengers were being captured by the Skrull. Among them was the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver ; the Scarlet Witch who’s the “mother” of Billy and his twin brother Tommy. The Scarlet Witch was one of the central figures of the Avengers during these years, before she “disappeared” after House of M.
Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen released a new version of the Young Avengers in 2013 as part of the Marvel NOW! rebranding. Years have passed since the end of the last series, it’s a more open-minded world and an event occurred – Northstar and Kyle’s wedding in Astonishing X-Men #51 – which allow the gay characters to be more out in the open. This change reflects on Billy and Teddy’s relationship. Whereas on the first series they never kissed and their romantic relation was only implied, now they’re kissing and living like any other heterosexual couples. Furthermore, this evolution of the society, visible through the comic-books, is also seen in the questionning about David Alleyne’s sexuality : he doesn’t know if he’s gay or bi, that’s why he kissed Teddy back in the prison world. The Young Avengers vol 2 tackles society matters like the orphanhood, the sexuality and the teenage life. They are more than just heroes, but teenagers as well.