Daily Elite Daily #2

8 Reasons Why you Should Marry the Complicated Girl (suggested subtitle: Marry the Special Snowflake)

by Lauren Skirvin on Dec. 4, 2014

“Why wasn’t it me?” Carrie asked the love of her life right before he married another woman. “No, seriously. I really need to hear you say it. Come on, be a friend.”

“I don’t know. It just got so hard… and she’s…” replied Mr. Big.

“Yeah.”

I know it’s cliché to quote “Sex and the City,” but it’s still so relevant.

Is it cliché to quote Sex and the City? But the bigger question: will this lead to using more Sex and the City analogies to talk about the dating world? The answer is undoubtedly yes.

This episode revealed to girls like me what we’ve subconsciously known for a long time: We are the type of girls you should be with, but you don’t want to be with.

Sweeping generalities: 1
Logic: 0

Carrie is complicated. She doesn’t put up with not getting everything she deserves. She craves more from Big. She has opinions and a life and dreams for the two of them together.

This just in: complicated women don’t put up with not getting everything they deserve, have opinions and lives. Wow, the word must be full of complicated women.

Not that Natasha doesn’t care. But, she is a basic girl who wants to keep the peace at any cost, even if that means she put her needs aside. Her mind isn’t quite as analytical and imaginative as Carrie’s, so she can put up with more. She’s simple.

Nothing screams “A MILLENIAL WROTE THIS” more than using “basic” to describe a woman.

I am not simple. I am a challenge for any man, I will admit. As hard as I try to be the simple girl, it is just not in my nature to be one. I demand more from everyone because I see great potential.

Yes, I’m sure women actively try to be “simple.”

But, a real man knows that by being with a complicated girl, he will be better for it.

Or, I don;t know, I’m just spitballing here, maybe men should be with women who love them, and vice versa.

This is the type of girl you should marry. You may think it’s not what you want, but you want her.

So wait, do I want her or don’t I? I’m confused.

Even stubborn Mr. Big came to realize he didn’t want it easy, and he ended up cheating on Natasha… with Carrie.

SPOILER ALERT

No one will encourage you to follow your dreams.

Literally no one but a “complicated” girl will encourage you to follow your dreams, so you’d better go find one, gentlemen.

And now we finally get into the “8 reasons…”

Marry the girl who tells you exactly what she expects and follows through.

As opposed to the girl who tells you exactly what she doesn’t expect and doesn’t follow through? Because that would be pretty complicated too.

Marry the girl who can talk politics, even if her opinions are different from yours.

If she can’t talk politics, forget about her. Even if she has a PhD in chemistry.

Marry the girl with whom you sometimes fight.

My cousin married a girl he’s never fought with even once and she’s a very articulate woman. Checkmate, atheists.

Don’t get me wrong; a complicated girl who is not yet mature will be a pain in the ass. She will pick fights with you about everything, and you will always feel like a failure in her presence because you won’t know how to make her happy.

But, with a little experience and wisdom, this is the girl who will become wife material. And, once she’s at that point, you better never let her get away, or you’ll risk losing the best thing you ever had.

Experience I get, but wisdom? How does one chance upon that? It seems key to the whole argument here.

Daily Elite Daily #1

Elite Daily is a generally terrible website. So why not take down a bunch of its non-news content? As often as I can, I’m going to do a close dissection of one Elite Daily article. I will not link to it, because that is what the website wants. I will give the headline, date of publication and author so you can search for it, if you so wish.

Why I Believe in Marriage, Just Not Weddings

by Laura Argintar on Dec. 5, 2014

In this article, Ms. Argintar argues, I’m sure for the first time ever, that weddings are insane. I will give her a tiny bit of credit, however, in that she actually backs up some of her claims with links. But that won’t stop me.

I know many of you are already on the defense.

The first line of the piece doesn’t even attempt to hook the reader in. Instead, Argintar smugly assumes people who are reading this have no idea how fucking insane weddings are and will support them to the death.

The $51 billion industry, with over 800,000 employees (including a personal social media concierge who will live-tweet your wedding for a cool $3k…)

Of the 800,000 “employees” of the wedding industry, only one can be the social media concierge. Everyone else is out of luck sorry.

While marriage remains an institution that benefits just two people, weddings are an enterprise and the people who profit most aren’t the bride and groom.

Really? The bride and groom don’t profit from a wedding? But people the bride and groom pay money to actually do profit? Please, tell me more.

It’s the caterers, event spaces, planners, decorators, florists who stand to gain the most from two people falling in love.

Uh, yes. Because they are paid to do their jobs.

Why do we feel the need to consummate the sacred act of marriage by shelling out thousands of dollars on superficial extras, like gold-trimmed place cards?

I don’t think she’s using the right word here, unless somehow spending thousands of dollars on gold-trimmed place cards can now replace having sex on your wedding day.

My friend once received an invitation to a wedding that was a mini record player with a pre-recorded song. This novel prop was just the start of what he recalls was an “insane wedding.”

GODDAMNIT. This was marginally interesting, but she doesn’t expand on what this “insane wedding is.” Is anyone still following her train of thought? Hard to when the next part goes:

Every time I see a 32-year-old woman on TLC saying she wants to look like a princess in a poofy fairytale ball gown, my heart dies a little. Since when did weddings become the new Sweet Sixteens?

In what way does this thought connect to the previous one? I’m lost.

Why are we squealing over penis straws at age 25 like we did when we were 12 and shopping at Urban Outfitters for the first time?

Okay I’ve only ever been in an Urban Outfitters once. Do they sell penis straws?

Beyond the reception, the add-ons to the wedding celebration cost an elaborate amount as well. Instead of One Big Day, a typical couple now has multiple big days: engagement parties, his and her bachelor fetes, bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, further fueling this economic complex.

Engagement parties might be new but I’m pretty sure everything else she mentions has been around for a very long time. Also, nice use of “economic complex.”

It’s basically become more about an exchange of goods and less about an exchange of vows.

I thought it was about people other than the bridge and groom profiting?

I understand that the reception is important. In a cultural context especially, weddings are a time when two families and friends come together and rejoice in the expansion of the clan. But if two people become contractually betrothed and they don’t throw a party after for everyone to celebrate it, does that mean that their union wasn’t legitimate?

No.

Despite 500 words to the contrary, I’m not saying that I’m against celebrating the love and joy and union between two people.

And now 500 words in, any readers still hanging on are throwing up their hands.

What I am conflicted about is the commercialization of this special love. We already have Valentine’s Day, we don’t need to be sold and marketed another overpriced holiday all in the name of finding The One.

Presumably, if you’re getting married you have already found The One.

When I say “I do,” I want it to be to the person I love, not the table linens.

What a way to bring this to a close. Who the fuck would ever say “I do” to table linens?

Epizootic

“I learned a new word today,” she said. They had been silent for a few minutes so it startled him when she said it. They were both enjoying the summer sun and the controlled chaos of Trinity Bellwoods Park.

“Oh yeah?” he replied. He opened his eyes and sat up, sweeping off the grass that inevitably stuck to his hair, arms and shirt. Whenever she said that she learned a new word, it would always be an unspoken challenge between the two. He was no walking Oxford dictionary, but he had a decent vocabulary. So did she, of course. “What would that be?”

She also sat up, also sweeping the grass off of herself in a similar fashion. “The word is…” she paused a moment, perhaps trying to make sure she got the pronunciation on her first try. “Epizootic.”

A short word, but a fun pronunciation. He asked her to repeat the word, then said it to himself phonetically. “Ep-ih-zoh-aw-tic…” He shook his head. “Nope. nothing.”

“You can probably figure out the definition if you think about it,” she said. “But I’ll tell you anyway. It’s the animal version of an epidemic.”

“Oh, I probably could have figured that out,” he said. “I was just so flustered by not knowing the word.”

She laughed. “So in other words…”

“Yes,” he said with a sigh. “I lost.”

***

He met her two years ago, and he had his high school to blame. Growing up in the small town of Paisley, Ontario, he was surrounded by people who were happy with their lots in life. As he progressed through his four years with no interest in school sports, he found himself increasingly uneasy talking with some of his classmates. What were you in a small town, if not an athlete?

Not to imply that Saugeen Shores Secondary School was a scene from some teen comedy, but sports were always a big deal. He instead found a passion for chemistry, taking to learning the periodic table by atomic number, by heart, by the time he was in his final year.

On encouragement from his teachers, he applied to the University of Toronto’s chemistry program and got in easily. His friends were a little shocked that he would within a year be making the transition to the “big city.” He had no such qualms. He wanted to get the hell out.

His first visit to Toronto (to tour the campus, of course) was a little terrifying. The subway wasn’t too complicated, but once he got to St. George Station he got a little confused by which exits led where.

Things went a little better once he moved in. He took to his studies with vigour, as always, but he made more of an effort to be involved with extracurriculars. He ended up, on a whim, getting involved with a U of T theatre group. The first production he had a role in was As You Like It, as Duke Senior, a role his friends described as “eerily suited to him.” Apparently he always had an air of authority, even when he didn’t mean to.

In third year, he met her. She tried out (and got) the part of Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew. He did not get the part of Petruchio, but he still worked up the courage to talk to her after her audition.

He wasn’t sure how to describe what drew him to her. She just had an air of confidence in the way she presented herself, from the casual, barely-there makeup around her eyes to the way she had hair piled up on a bun. During her audition (she recited Hamlet’s most famous speech) her eyes could look like they could well with tears one minute and blaze with anger the next. He wasn’t nearly so poised, which was probably why he was interested. Maybe he could learn a thing or two.

“That was really cool,” he said, somewhat choking on the words.

“Oh thanks,” she said, without looking up.

“What got you interested in this play?” he asked.

Now she looked up. “I don’t know,” she said after a few seconds. “I just felt like it.”

“You felt like auditioning for a Shakespeare play?”

“Yeah,” she replied. “Can’t believe they liked me so much.”

“Wait, you just had Hamlet’s ‘To Be or Not to Be’ soliloquy memorized?”

“Everyone has something they know by heart, I’m sure you do,” she said.

“That’s true,” he said.

“That was an invitation for you to tell me what that is,” she said.

“Oh, well, I know the periodic table by heart, from atomic number 1 to 118.”

“Get out!” she said, a smile forming on her lips. “Prove it.”

Without hesitation, and now in his element, he began listing the elements. By the time he got to “cesium,” she told him to stop and that she believed him.

She glanced at her watch and apologized, saying she had to leave. But she asked him to hang out, an invitation he wholeheartedly accepted.

They met a few days later, deciding to hang out the cheap way (they were students, after all) by going for a long walk. They decided to walk to Exhibition Place, which at least an hour on foot, and so they had plenty to talk about on the way and back. She was studying history and had done extensive traveling in the year she took off before applying for school.

She spent a few months in Asia before taking a brief detour to Oceania, then headed west to Europe. By the time she was back in North America, she felt like she had to relearn customs.

They learned a lot about each other, that first real meeting, and it quickly became something more. When he finally asked her if she would be his girlfriend, she laughed in his face. He was hurt for a minute, until she clarified the reason for her laughter. “I didn’t think we had to formalize it. What is this, 1895?”

As they spent more time together, he grew to love her devotion to vegetarianism and her unabashed love for NewsRadio, and she grew to love his habit of mumbling to himself when deep into writing up a lab report and his tendency to eat slices of pizza crust-first.

***

“Say it one more time,” she said. “I don’t hear it often enough.”

“You’re really relishing it,” he said, and she didn’t disagree. “I lost, I didn’t know the definition of the word, congratulations.”

“Well thank you,” she said, doing a mocking bowing gesture (the best she could accomplish while still sitting on the grass).

“How did you come across the word, anyway? Sounds like a word I should have known, not you.”

“Came across it in some research I was doing today,” she said. Just a month ago she got an archiving job at Robarts, and when she was finished a task and had some downtime she’d skim articles for interesting factoids to pull out later. “In 1990, something like 10,000 cormorants died from Newcastle disease. It was seen as pretty bad, but it might have been even worse 100 years ago, when it wiped out a slew of Scottish livestock.”

“You really learn a lot of strange things,” he said.

“It’s what I do,” she said. There was another lull in conversation, this one lasting at least five minutes. He looked around the park, from the baseball diamond (currently hosting some adult softball game) to the dog bowl, a naturally lower-elevated part of the park where people take their pets to play in a large but enclosed space.

“Hypothetical question,” he finally said, to start a new train of thought. “If you had to pick one current world problem to be the cause of the apocalypse, what would it be?”

“Hmm, good question…” she said. She closed her eyes and ran her hand through her hair. “It’ll be something to do with Russia. Maybe Putin will overplay his hand and some country will get offended and then BAM, some other country will get spooked by the tension and launch a nuclear missile. I just know it’ll be something really stupid like that. It’ll be a few minor events that suddenly add up to something huge, like when Princip killed Archduke Ferdinand.”

“That’s a kind of cynical view of our world leaders, if you ask me,” he said, considering her answer more as he spoke. “I mean sure, they make lots of bad decisions, but I don’t think anyone would think to start a nuclear war.”

“Maybe not now, but it’ll happen, I’m sure of it,” she said. “What do you think will be the cause of the inevitable end of Earth?”

“I’m not sure if this counts, but I think it’ll be whenever the volcano at Yellowstone National Park erupts. I read somewhere that it’s had a sort of typical pattern of eruptions over its thousands of years of existence, and it’s basically been dormant for a lot more years, mathematically, than it should.”

“It’ll erupt someday, so what?”

“So what?” He did his best not to strike a professor-ly tone but he couldn’t help it. “A massive eruption could send huge clouds of ash up to the sky and blot out the sun. We’ll all live in misery for the brief time we’ll be able to survive without sunlight. I see everything going all Walking Dead, minus the zombies, of course.”

“So nuclear war or massive volcano. Fun options,” she said.

“I worry about our conversation topics sometimes,” he replied. Suddenly they both heard a shriek. They looked over to see what was happening. A small crowd had gathered.

Deciding to join the herd, the two walked over and saw three birds lying dead on the ground, with no visible wounds.

They looked at each other, and mouthed the new word in unison.

Reading Comic Books Out of Order #8 — “Suicide Squad: From the Ashes”

suicide squad from the ashes_0001I apologize again for the gaps between these posts, which are gradually growing larger as I try and keep up with my life.

I first became familiar with the Suicide Squad not through comics, but through the Justice League cartoon. It being a show aimed at children first and foremost, a name like “Suicide Squad” wouldn’t work too well. Instead, the team was called “Task Force X,” which also served as the title of a brilliant episode. In it, Deadshot, Plastique, Captain Boomerang and Clock King team up with Rick Flag to steal the destructive Annihilator armour from the Justice League home base.

Despite the episode being focused on a team of villains, it was there where I found myself really liking Deadshot, the smug bastard.

When browsing for a few new graphic novels, I ended up picking up Suicide Squad: From the Ashes partly because Deadshot referenced his time in the Squad during the excellent Secret Six comic I read previously, but mostly just because I knew Deadshot would be in it (sadly in a more diminished role, but the reasoning behind that will be clearer later in this post).

To dig into the plot of this limited series (if I’m correctly recalling that it was a limited series) is to dig into so many plotlines that it would take several posts to unravel them all. We’ll start with Amanda Waller. She figures prominently into this book, and her zero tolerance for bullshit makes her a great new head of the Suicide Squad, as she collects a series of villains including Deadshot, Bronze Tiger and Nightshade, to start.

The reason she’s doing this? The former leader of the Squad, Rick Flag, dies while fighting Rustam, who is working for Qurac (I couldn’t believe that was the name of the country). Except Flag didn’t die (much to the chagrin of fans, apparently), instead taken to Skartaris thanks to Rustam’s magic sword. The two men call a truce to escape the place, only Flag and Rustam fight again before they can leave, and Flag ends up killing Rustam and using his sword to escape solo.

Once back on Earth, Flag re-joins the Suicide Squad along with countless others, including White Dragon, Marauder, Multiplex, Blackguard, Plastique, Twister, Windfall and more. Oh yeah, and Waller can with the help of a device control the radioactive monster Chemo.

The new Squad’s first mission is to kill all the board members of Haake-Bruton, a pharmaceutical company that plans on releasing a virus that could wipe out large portions of the world population.

Except the mission doesn’t turn out as easily as it should, thanks to another Squad member, Wade Eiling, a giant, hulking monster who also has some suggestive control over Flag. Eiling wants to profit from the endeavour, offering to kill all the Squad members in exchange for Haake-Bruton board membership.

Oh, and Rick Flag might not even be Rick Flag,

If that all sounds like a lot to take in, that’s because it is. A ton happens in this book, and it involves more characters than I count. It makes for a crammed experience, to be sure, and thus it’s hard to get a grasp on many characters’ personalities when we’re constantly switching points of view. Later in the story several villains die, but they’re given such little “screentime” that it’s hard to feel upset about their loss. The characters themselves don’t even feel the loss—Waller cheerfully welcomes a new Squad member at the end, a face that comic book fans will most definitely recognize.

Still, despite its drawbacks, I did enjoy going through this thing, because I’ve found that more than anything I enjoy reading about B-list and C-list characters as the stars of the show. Deadshot’s limited appearances are still fairly memorable, especially with his interactions with the son of Captain Boomerang. Eiling, despite being possibly the mos repulsive character in the book (and that says a lot) is enjoyable to watch as he schemes and plots. And as mentioned, Waller is incredible, so it made me a little sad when I heard that she is rebooted as a younger, thinner woman in the DC comics New 52 line of stories. (I’ve read one book in the New 52 and since reading all of the old stuff I’ve been steering clear away).

Reading Comic Books Out of Order #7 — “Haunted Tank” (2008)

haunted tank_0001It was important to put a year of release after this title, because it’s a mini-series that re-imagines J.E.B. Stuart, a ghost of a general from the Civil War era of the United States. Old J.E.B. used to appear in GI Combat, from what I’ve read, and from the reactions of some long-time fans of that series, it appears Stuart’s character went under a bit of a “re-imagining” as well.

In this five-issue miniseries, collected in this one book, we meet a group of US soldiers fighting in the Iraq war. Each has a distinct nationality, from the “French” soldier Beauregard “Babe” Johnson, to the Southern American “Hot Rocks” Diaz, to the Korean “Chop Chop” Kim, to Jamal Stuart, their leader and a black man. I’m not usually one to draw on people’s races to distinguish them from one another, but this series is about race more than anything.

Anyways, Jamal and his crew are suddenly ambushed by a squad of Iraqis and might have been in serious trouble, too, had it not been for the arrival of James Ewell Brown Stuart, who arrives in true ghostly fashion and slaughters the Iraqi squad. J.E.B. quickly tells his backstory to Jamal and Babe and reveals that his purpose is to aid all of his descendants in battle.

If you were paying attention, yep, that’s right—Jamal is J.E.B.’s ancestor. J.E.B., who was a plantation owner during the Civil-War era.

Cue the outrage from Jamal, who doesn’t normally bring up his background until he realizes that J.E.B. is almost literally the spirit of racism. J.E.B. quickly shows himself to be absolutely clueless at how to be respectful to Jamal, first calling him a “nigrah” and then later a “darkie,” thinking the latter is less offensive.

Jamal, in short, develops a giant chip on his shoulder, but J.E.B. is far from the only racist among the crew. All the soldiers in Jamal’s group show nothing but utter contempt for Iraqis, referring to them by a slew of offensive names, including “diaper heads.” The only member of the crew who shows some sensitivity for the place they’re stationed in is Chop Chop, who succinctly describes that Iraq is actually the birthplace of modern civilization as we know it.

The comic, as becomes quickly apparent, is a huge satire, a send-up of war and what it does to people. The number of epithets uttered by the main cast alone is mind-boggling, and the violence is absolutely over the top. Every time someone is killed, huge gushes of blood that look like sheets come out.

With the increased violence there’s also an increased dose of foul language, something I had never seen in a comic book aside from literary graphic novels I’ve read in the past. Hell, on the first page the word “fuck” appears three times. This actually helps to ground the story in reality, as I don’t think there are many people on Earth who doesn’t have a few “bad words” in their regular vocabulary.

Despite it being an only five-issue series, by about the second or third issue it already feels like the story has been told, save for a rather shocking battle in the last volume. That being said, the conversations these characters have are potent and the backstory of J.E.B. becomes the series’ strongest material, especially as it leads up to an explanation as to how Jamal and J.E.B. could be related.

As I referred to earlier, some fans of the original series might not enjoy the “racist” incarnation of J.E.B., but if you (like me) are going into this with no prior knowledge, you will probably get a kick out of this.

Reading Comic Books Out of Order #6 — “Secret Six: Unhinged”

secret sixI’m going to come right out and preface this post by saying that this might be my favourite series since beginning “Comic Books Out of Order.”

The series itself revolves around a group of mercenaries who will do whatever, so long as they’re paid handsomely. In the beginning of the book we are introduced first to Junior, a villain who we don’t see in full until much later. All we know right away is that Junior is horribly fearsome and apparently even scares criminals in Arkham Asylum. Then we switch to Thomas Blake (Catman) and Floyd Lawton (Deadshot), as Blake talks about the possibility of him “going straight.”

The scene is actually pretty hilarious—they’re talking casually as armed men come into the convenience store they’re in and try to rob it. For several panels, they continue the course of their conversation until Floyd finally chides the would-be robbers on their poor skills and kicks the ever-loving crap out of them. This convenience store scene alternates with a scene involving Scandal Savage (the bastard child of Vandal Savage) stressing out over the death of her girlfriend and member of the Secret Six, who I eventually learn went by the name Knockout. Ragdoll (a very fitting name when you look at the guy) tries to console her, as does Bane, to little avail.

Floyd and Thomas return to their base, which seems to be either a mansion or a castle, and Scandal tells them about the mission they’ve just accepted. They’re to break a villain named Tarantula out of prison and return her and a card she’s carrying to their benefactor, whose identity they don’t know.

It seems like a simple enough mission, but we get some early foreshadowing when Huntress calls Thomas, telling him to not take the mission, or they’ll all be killed. Batman agrees, and Blake and he end up in quite the fistfight.

As it turns out, the card is nothing ordinary. It’s a “get out of hell free card,” and it does exactly what is says. Every person in the world would want to get their hands on that. It doesn’t help that Junior wants the card, and puts a $10 million bounty on the head of every member of the Secret Six.

There are plenty of twists and turns along the way. but I don’t want to give everything away, because this book is incredible.

Mostly what I love are the characters themselves. The introduction to the book is helpful, as Paul Cornell touches on the moral grayness of these characters—they’re not presented explicitly as heroes or villains, just a group of people who (begrudgingly) care about each other. I first realized who much I love Floyd Lawton as a character when I watched “Task Force X,” an excellent episode of Justice League Unlimited. Floyd is a smug bastard, but beneath the mask he cares about his teammates. Ragdoll’s perverse and shameless personality adds hilarity to nearly every scene he’s in. Bane, believe it or not, is the kindest of the bunch and starts to act like a father figure for Scandal.

And then there’s the writing itself. Cornell alludes to this divine panel as one of his favourite panels ever (please forgive my horrible scanning skills):

secret six panelThe pure look of betrayal on the shark’s face is pretty priceless, particularly because there were so many other villains to take out, and Catman chose the most predatory-looking.

My comic-book-guru-friend said that this series is a crap shoot to recommend, because it’s a series about very, very messed-up and damaged people, But it’s for precisely this reason that Secret Six is so compelling. Give me this over the 50,000th iteration of Batman.

 

Reading Comic Books Out of Order #5 — “Young Avengers: Sidekicks”

young avengersSince entry #3 of this series I’ve been fortunate enough to be reading first issues of numerous series, so for a short while I had been wondering if continuing to call the series “Reading Comic Books Out of Order” was an accurate reflection of what I was writing about. Young Avengers: Sidekick is an origin story of four new superheroes, but it takes place at some point later in the Marvel continuity. So I’m still reading things out of order.

The story takes place directly after the Avengers disband. A cursory Internet search has revealed that trying to understand the intricacies of that storyline wouldn’t be in my best interest unless I actually read the thing. Anyways, we find out fairly early on, via our favourite lovable grouch Jonah Jameson, that a group the paper has dubbed “the Young Avengers” has appeared. The guys even resemble the original four; there are Thor, Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America look-alikes. Their powers are even the same, to some degree, with the “Iron Man” possessing even more powerful tech than Iron Man himself.

Jessica Jones, apparently an employee of the paper, as well as the civilian identity of Knightress and Jewel, is tasked with finding out more about them, since she’s also apparently Luke Cage’s girlfriend and has some connection to the Avengers themselves.

It doesn’t take too long for Captain America and Iron Man to find Jessica, and it takes even less time for them to meet up with the “Young Avengers” after the “super fanboys” help to stop a robbery. Steve Rogers and Tony Stark soon get a hold of Iron Lad, who reveals that he is none other than a past version of Kang the Conqueror. I understood quickly from the reactions of Jones, Rogers and Stark that he’s a pretty bad dude, and a lot of his shenanigans seem to revolve around time travel.

“Is this a time travel thing? ‘Cause I hate time travel things,” Jones says.

“With Kang, it’s always a time travel thing,” Stark responds.

“See, that’s why I hate Kang,” Jones says, in a rare moment of humour followed not too much later by the unraveling of time and history. It turns out all the Young Avengers have some kind of history with the Avengers, including Cassie Lang, the daughter of Hank Pym (Ant-Man), who later ends up joining the group. Patriot is the grandson of the Isaiah Bradley, the Black Captain America.

The main threat the Young Avengers face is the arrival of villainous Kang, because good Kang (Iron Lad) escaped to the present to avoid becoming the villain he was destined to be. Predictably, by avoiding that fate, things start to change; Jones loses her pregnancy and her Jewel outfit changes, other members start disappearing.

This book has plenty of twists along the way, and while the ending is probably pretty predictable, it’s an excellent origin story, and the end of the book paves the way for the current (?) Young Avengers lineup with some redesigned costumes.

Despite an influx of new characters, plenty get their time to shine. The relationship between Patriot and Kate Bishop (the first female Hawkeye) is pretty funny, since the two are both so strong-willed that they inevitably (and continually) butt heads. Kate also seems to treat Cassie like a sister, particularly when Cassie discovers her powers she didn’t know she had.

Some of the art is a little weird, in particular some later panels when villain Kang is attacking or is attacked. Facial expressions suddenly become a little blocky and emotionless. But it’s mostly fun to look at.

When I first glanced at the cover I thought “Oh no, not a story about the Avengers when they were teenagers!” but it’s not that at all, and ends up working really well as a self-supporting series.