Last week, I made my regular contribution to PopMatters with a quick look at how secret identities seem to matter and exist less than before. This week I was more productive, with a couple reviews for read/RANT on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2 and Thor: God of Thunder #13, a new "1987 And All That" for The Chemical Box about G.I. Joe Special Missions, and another column at PopMatters discussing the interesting and accurate depictions of teenaged attitudes, morals, and flaws in Young Avengers and Harbinger. I always like it when I get to have stuff come out on all three of the sites I write for outside of Comics Matter in the same week, so that was nice.
Something I Failed to Mention
The column about Harbinger and Young Avengers was more of a character examination, so I sort of intentionally didn't really discuss the real-life creators behind the titles. However, one of the key things that sets those two series apart is the fact that Young Avengers is the collaborative product of a single amazing creative team, while Harbinger is basically just writer Joshua Dysart's project, with many different artists working on it, sometimes even within an issue. As is to be expected, this distinction gives Young Avengers the edge, making it more of a standout, signature piece. Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Mike Norton, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles have been the steady hands at the wheel of their book from the start (with the seriously perfect pick of Kate Brown subbing in on art for issue #6), and the clarity of vision they share is evident every month. They get to really play with the comicbook medium, not necessarily breaking the mold but definitely doing some unexpected, experimental bits here and there. To his credit, Dysart is writing well enough that the visual ups and down in Harbinger don't ruin it. The acting isn't always clear, but the characters' voices have the strength to support that. Where the art has the most potential to hurt the book is in the action scenes, but that also tends to be what the various artists do best. So all-in-all they're both series I feel very connected to and invested in, but Young Avengers has the not-insignificant advantage of looking consistently fantastic.