If You Don’t Like Young Avengers, I Don’t Like You
Let’s talk about Gillen and McKelvie’s run of Young Avengers, specifically about how awesome it is and the representation of sexuality. I’ve wanted to talk about this since issue #09 and David explained what it was like to realize he was bisexual. Maybe it’s dumb, but that bit really spoke to me personally. I can’t speak for all bisexauls because, contrary to popular belief, we are not of a hive-mind. (If this isn’t one of those Bisexual Fact meme things yet, it should be.)
But anyway! Issue #09!
You know what sucked? Being a teenager. You know what didn’t suck? Figuring out my sexuality. I guess I was lucky in that one day I woke up and knew what my feelings were, that they had always been there, and that was that. There was nothing to freak out about, because freaking out would have been like suddenly being surprised and upset that oxygen was also a thing. I told a few friends, and nothing changed. But despite this comfort zone of mine, it was hard to find stories that matched up with me. Bisexuality wasn’t explicately named, even in some of Francesca Lia Block’s stranger works, but “girlcrushes” were. Lesbians and homosexuality were.
So to read this series and identify with David just felt. Well, it felt nice.
Obviously I’d like to talk about more than just my own shit, so now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on. The series is wrapped up with issue #15, and I have some mourning to do until I can get the next Hawkeye focused on Kate.
— Yeah, let’s talk about Kate. (Psst. Spoilers.)
“Princess. I’ve seen the way you look at me. You’re not that straight.”
This could be a few things! This could be America actually calling Kate on her statement, but for the most part it’s probably just America teasing her friend. Gillen sums this up rather well in an ask on his Tumblr…
One of the things in Young Avengers (and life) is that every character has got to define their sexuality in the manner of their choosing. In this area, one person doesn’t get to tell another person who they are. Kate has said she’s straight. At least at the moment, as Kate says she’s straight, she’s straight. [Source]
For the entire book (and I’m only going to talk about this run in particular), Kate has been involved both sexually and romantically with Noh-Varr. While this certainly does not mean she is 100% heterosexual, it is the evidence we have. Kate is 21, a New York socialite, and maybe the most “traditional” of the group. America’s statement could be a gentle nudge to suggest to her to explore her own sexuality, or again, it could just be teasing. If we approach everything from the Kinsey scale, truly heterosexual and truly homosexual are rare on the sexuality spectrum, and it’s quite possible Kate leans towards straight with some girlcrush tendencies.
That said, it was fun to see The Gay Friend trope get dumped on its head here. Billy and Teddy have their relationship, David woke up bi, Noh-Varr doesn’t discriminate, Loki is the patron god of certain debaucherous sex acts, and America was experimenting with boys that one time with that jerkbutt the Ultimate Nullifier.
By the way…
Um, I want more of her. Everywhere. Look at the art for her universe.
Seriously, just look at it. The watercolors and the disregard for physics. This is beautiful, and America defied destiny and gave this world up because she did not want a utopia without her mothers. Who probably got the rudest awakening of her life to find that Billy, the Demiurge, is a teenager who can’t keep his shit straight. Who is just like everyone else.
I think we all have one of those moments, just not on such a grand scale of alternate dimensions and superpowers. Still, she roots for Billy and Teddy, because true love is what’s going to save the day.
And do I even need to wax poetic about her in general? I might. I do love her. I want to cosplay as her so bad despite being a pale white girl with stick straight hair. She kicks holes through the multiverse and punches Loki when he gets too Loki.
Billy Kaplan & Teddy Altman
I’m going to pretend I don’t go on Tumblr for a moment and that the Young Avengers tag isn’t rife with people hating on Billy and Teddy and their arc except to say: did we even read the same story?
So you’re dating a boy who can wish things into existence, including possibly the feelings you think you have for him or maybe even you yourself. This is definitely something the two of you should talk about, preferably before said magic user boyfriend wishes your mom back to life for you in a misguided attempt to make you happy because it will accidentally summon a multidimensional parasite. It’s okay, these things happen!
But there are multiple instances over the issues #13-14 where it looks like they do figure that shit out, and regardless of the bigger picture, they are okay with the circumstances of who and what they are. Teddy accepts Billy, and Billy understands Teddy’s feelings. That is how you figure shit out in a relationship.
Loki, you’re getting your own series where you get to emo-kid it up all over the place. Hell, can we have America showing up in Agent of Asgard to punch him when he’s getting out of line? I’d read the hell out of that.
This is all I’m going to say about Noh-Varr because otherwise it’ll just turn into a giant picspam and that’s what Tumblr is for.
Young Avengers is a great series and I love the characters and I love the style it was written in, specifically showing their more normal moments rather than focusing entirely on punching, and they’ve got so much going for them that I hope they don’t get benched for too long.