With the impending cancellation of Avengers Academy, Marvel Comics will be ending its one and only series starring teenaged characters not in the Ultimate Universe. So is the Marvel Universe only going to be a country for old men now? Is Marvel surrendering the field on this to DC Comics?
If I’m counting right, DC Comics currently has five ongoing series that star teenagers as the leads, not counting their book for the Young Justice animated series. Also, I’m not clear on how old the Ravagers are supposed to be. Now, I admit that isn’t quite a fair comparison. Young heroes, especially sidekicks, have always been way more prevalent in the DC Universe for the Marvel Universe. That gives DC a natural edge in this regard. But that doesn’t mean DC should outstrip Marvel quite so much here.
It’s not like Marvel is empty-handed.
I can’t speak for everyone when it comes to Avengers: Children’s Crusade. But I remember one of the things I was most excitement about with it was the potential for us to finally get a Young Avengers series back once it was done. How long had we been waiting for Allan Heinberg to get to tell the second half of his big story with the team? And then the damn story ended with the team being disassembled. DIsappointing, to say the least.
It was a decision I still don’t understand. Here you had a tangible audience waiting for a book, and the book never comes.
Also, how is it we do not have a book featuring a team of young mutants running around? Since when does that happen? The concept is practically a staple of the X-franchise. New Mutants, Generation X, New X-Men. Currrently... nothing? Oh, there’s a New Mutants book at the moment, but there’s hardly anything “new” about it. I thought for sure when Schism ended and the X-Men began focusing on teaching young mutants again that we would see a revival of New X-Men or Young X-Men. Wasn’t the fate of young mutants kind of a central issue? But we didn’t get it. And when Wolverine and the X-Men does focus on its students, it tends to be the likes of Kid Gladiator and Broo rather than the wealth of young mutants around.
I don’t get it. With Marvel currently so franchise happy that it is putting out anything, no matter how vague in concept, with either “Avengers” or “X-Men” in the title, you’d thing tried and tested concepts like Young Avengers or New X-Men would be a given. And hey, it’s possible those Marvel NOW! announcements are still pending. Maybe that’s the secret concept of Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers. And there was that promo suggesting something was to come with the likes of Wiccan, Loki (who I feel incorrect in counting as a young character and Miss America).So there’s a chance we are going to get a new teen-oriented book or two.
Marvel didn’t just used to be the place where you could get books like Young Avengers and New X-Men, though. You also had Runaways, Spider-Girl, X-23 and Skaar: Son of Hulk. Young heroes may not be as abundant as they are in the DC Universe, but there’s not exactly a shortage. Nor have teen-oriented titles ever been inherently low-selling like other kinds of books are known to be. Oh, some of these books definitely suffered from low sales and were rightly cancelled. But others have been able to find a stable audience.
Teen books may not be guaranteed sellers, but there are always places for some of them in the lineup. And while I have never been a big fan in general of them, I have to admit to missing the mainstays like a book about a team of young superheroes and a group of young mutants. There’s a noticeable hole in things when they are absent, and hopefully, it’s something Marvel NOW! will remedy.