Damn You, Heinberg! Give Me More Young Avengers!

Three years ago, I took a shot on a limited series from Marvel called Young Avengers. Written by some guy I never heard of, Allan Heinberg and drawn by a CrossGen castoff Jim Cheung, it looked somewhat cliche’. Teen versions of The Avengers, yawn. But I thought I’d not be so jaded, and try it and I was very pleased that I did. Those who read this site regularly or listen to our podcast know that when I get excited for a book, I get really excited, and Young Avengers hit whatever gland it is that controls that excitement in me with full force. 

So after enjoying the first issue so much, I did some digging on this Heinberg guy. Turns out he’s a Hollywood guy and was working on the FOX show, The O.C., which was a show I absolutely loved. So now the comic book references on The O.C. made sense, as did this guys ability to write teen characters. The characters who consisted of younger versions of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor etc., were so engaging and so real, that you forgot that this was a super hero book. They had emotions and vulnerabilities and ultimately were striving to bring good to world in the most noble of fashions. Jim Cheung’s art was outstanding on this series, and I knew that he would be a superstar. It’s no surprise that Bendis snatched him up for the Avengers and Illuminati series and now I find myself wishing/hoping with every issue of The Avengers that it’s a Cheung issue.

Mr. Heinberg’s connection to The O.C. also explains something about the Young Avengers series as well. Bare with me as I reminisce about The O.C.. The show started in August of 2003, and tapped into that same summer energy that Beverly Hills, 90210 had ten years before it. At a time when there was nothing on TV, this great drama that mixed teens and their parents, came onto the scene and delivered a stellar first 6 episodes. I stand by the fact that if you like shows like Gossip Girl, 90210, or the older night time dramas like Dawson’s Creek or Party of Five, or the granddaddy of them all, Beverly Hills, 90210, then you have to watch the first 6 episodes of The O.C., because I know you will enjoy it. These episodes were so well written, it’s scary, at least in my opinion. But then a funny thing happened to the show, people started watching and it got popular and then FOX gave it the green light for a full season. Unfortunately, it seems as if the team on The O.C. had given those first 6 episode their all, as the latter half of season 1 isn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but not has mind blowing as those first 6. I still recommend it, but let’s just say that once “Oliver” starts popping up, you need to be a little forgiving.

So how does this tie to the Young Avengers? Well, similarly the first story arc, the first 6 issues of Young Avengers are as good as comics get. They’re beautifully drawn, well written and have so much energy to them, that you simply must read them. Unfortunately, like The O.C., the last 6 issues aren’t as strong. Again, they’re great, and I strongly recommend them, but it’s almost as if Heinberg put his all into the first story arc, and then had to scramble on the second arc. Cheung’s art is still gorgeous, but the story (which involved Patriot and drugs — groan) wasn’t nearly as kickass as the first 6. That doesn’t change the fact that I love this team, this concept and when the 12 issues ended, I screamed, like many others that I wanted more!

So did I get more? Well, sort of.

After the series ended, The O.C. ended as well and Mr. Heinberg and his real job went off to join the staff of a hot new show called Grey’s Anatomy. Because of that, we’re treated to same old Marvel Comics employing Hollywood talent rhetoric. When asked when more Young Avengers is coming out at conventions, we’d get, “Allan has plans for more, but he’s kinda busy with his TV show, maybe you’ve heard of it…” and then the fans get laughed at for even asking for more comics they like, because the writer has to create drama for Kathrine Heigl. (Note to Marvel: Stop doing that at Q&As at cons. Please. Don’t belittle us for liking what you publish. Thanks.)

But then a funny thing started to happen in that as Young Avengers would come up in conversations on podcasts, in interviews and at cons, we’d hear that not only did Heinberg have plans for another Young Avengers “season” but that they were going to hold off on doing anything with the characters. No other writer could write another series. Heinberg has some spell over Marvel that allows him to keep these characters to himself. Now reality sets in and Marvel realizes that is unrealistic and proceeds to give us tastes of the Young Avengers. A crossover mini series for Civil War with the Runaways (awful), another crossover mini series with the Runaways for Secret Invasion (awful again), and a mini series called Young Avengers Presents (mediocre), with one and done stories focusing on individual characters. All of these series were written by other writers (with the best Presents stories by Paul Cornell and Matt Fraction), but apparently had been approved by Heinberg. So while we got more Young Avengers, we all knew it wasn’t the Young Avengers we wanted, or apparently that existed in Heinberg’s head, and we’d get to read when he gets around to it.

I was at the comic shop a couple of weeks ago, recommending some books to another customer and got very excited to have them pick up the Young Avengers. I explained the premise and the background and they were on board, but then they said “Is there going to be more?” and I explained the situation and I watched the interest fade from their face as they realized there wasn’t going to be anymore. Why should they even bother with the first 12 issues then?

A while back, on the audio podcast, I ranted against Allan Heinberg (Damn You, Heinberg!) for not mentioning us in Wizard. That was all a joke. I hope everyone (and Mr. Heinberg) realized that. But now, today, I’m bringing it back:

Damn you, Heinberg!  I want more Young Avengers.

I understand that the day job is taxing, I can only imagine what it’s like to show run a wildly successful show like Grey’s Anatomy, even if you and the other writers are slowly deteriorating the characters to point of ruining them. I get it. But if you do care about comics, and do care about the fans out there who enjoyed your stories, you need to find the time to get your second season of Young Avengers written. It’s been over 2 years since Young Avengers #12 came out. It’s long overdue. If you can’t do that, well then I think you accept that fact and allow Marvel to let another writer take the characters. I wouldn’t have suggested that after reading the Runaways crossovers (so bad), but after reading Young Avengers Presents, and seeing how well Fraction and Cornell did with their stories, I realized that yes, another writer can do this. Heck, Heinberg could plot it and someone else could do the dialogue. Just do something!

I hope everyone realizes that this comes from a good place. I don’t want to come down on Mr. Heinberg or be overly mean or judgmental of yet another Hollywood writer coming to comics briefly, giving us a taste and then running back to the “real” job. Not at all. It’s just that when someone asks me what book do I miss or wish was an ongoing series, Young Avengers is always my answer. So this purely selfish. If you haven’t read Young Avengers I strongly urge that you do. Check out the complete collection of the first 12 issues and judge for yourself. It’s easily in my top ten comics out this decade. I think you’ll probably end up like me, wishing for more and cursing Heinberg for holding it back from us.



  1. i really need to read this.  i’ll try to get the collection at WCCC

  2. I loved this series – and the relationship between Hulkling and Wiccan is one of the few realistic and well-adjusted gay relationships out there.  Too bad its stuck in comics limbo.

    (Yes Ron, there are iFangays – we’re out here)

  3. Ron, I think you’re right on the mark about this.  On one level, I appreciate that Marvel is being so respectful to Heinberg as the creator of these characters — but it’s just unrealistic and unfair to put these characters out there, that other writers obviously want to use, on the theory that Heinberg is one day going to come back and continue their story.  And face it, when that story happens, it’s going to have to be damn good to justify the wait.  I have to admit, I’m particularly annoyed at this because I’m a Scarlet Witch fan, and *her* story also seems to be on hold until Heinberg comes back — and that’s a character he definitely didn’t create.

    There do seem to be hints floating around that Heinberg has turned in a script, but that’s almost like a Bigfoot sighting at this point.

  4. I wonder if Steve Gerber ever read about Marvel not doing a Young Avengers series because the characters were Heinberg’s and just went and ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s in his pajamas.

  5. @Jimski: what do you mean?

  6. One of the many things I always disliked about DC was the plethora of sidekicks. Hate them. And then there’s the Legion. Dear God, all those Lads and Lasses and Boys and Girls and Kids and Kidettes. Sheesh. All contribute to the Make Mine Marvel Mentallity I’ve nurtured for 30 years.

    Then this Heinberg guy comes out with a book thats first story arc is called "Sidekicks," prominently featuring IRON LAD. I should hate Hate HATE this book. But I don’t. I kinda love it, really. It’s well done comics, top to bottom. I like the characterizations, the art (Cheung is great, and he draws teenagers to look like teenagers – e.g. Cassie has a lanky, 14 year-old girl’s build and not a supermodel bod  -unlike whoever did those fill in issues), and the idea of establishing a legacy of heroes, one of the things I actually DO like about DC.

    I still can’t figure out how the whole Kree/Skrull appearance for Hulkling in the second book fits in with Secret Invasion, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s a good series. I’d like more. And if you don’t have it, go get it. It’s good. Iron Lad excepted.

  7. I wouldn’t presume to put words in Jim’s mouth (that would be wet and gross, by the way) but I think what he’s driving at is that Marvel will "put aside" characters for big name writers that they steal from other media, but they don’t bestow the same respect for tried-and-true comics creators.

    You”d think they would have learnt their lesson with Smith and his Bullseye mini that never did. But I guess not.

    Plus which, you’ve got a writer that comes from tv where the writing is done collaboratively, right? (I don’t presume to know too much about how thaty all works, but I’ve heard things.) So why is only Heinberg allowed to tell the next YA story? 

  8. @ReiMehari basically, Steve Gerber created Howard the Duck and wrote every issue of the comic, but then after a dispute about how to use the character Marvel fired him and kept right on using Howard. It’s a pretty interesting story:


    Either Marvel learned from it, or one of the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy gave Heinberg some kind of inoculation against it.

    I contend that someone else could probably get their hands around the emotional nuances of Hulkling.

  9. YA is one of my favorite Marvel series of all time.  I picked it up on a whim, and was blown away by it’s amazingness.  I join my fist with yours Ron as I pump the sky, damning Heinberg and his desire to make a gagillion dollars in television rather than a mere pittance in comics.  Damn you!

  10. Is there only the first Volume in Trade.  I am going to buy them, but i can only find Vol. 2 in Hardcover. 

  11. @NJBaritone-Yay for ifangays!  A welcome addition to our kaleidoscope of funs for sures! 

    They need to bring this back proper.  Young Avengers Presents was only so-so for me as well.  I am right with you Ron about giving this to Fraction or Cornell.  I am thinking Cornell, since Fraction has so much more going on as well.  Plus I love me so Cap. Brit.  I just don’t want them to have a "New" Young Avengers…with Arana and X-23.  That would be horrible.

  12. I think the only problem with bringing the YA back is that it’s yet another Avengers series. Now I loved that mini-series Ron totally made a love letter about; every issue was soild and entertaining. But lets look at it this way, we already have:

    Mighty, New, Initative, Ultimates, and soon Dark Avengers out for Marvel. 5 is bad enough, but now your asking Marvel do release a 6th Avenger’s book? Even they would think that is too much. If they would drop Mighty and not do Dark Avengers then I would love to see a YA series. But I just dont think Marvel would do yet another Avengers series just for the heck of it.

  13. This was a great series. I’d love some more Heinberg YA, damn all the other Avengers titles. 

    I think part of the problem as well was that Heinberg went to DC to do that horribly delayed One Year Later Wonder Woman arc. That was actually pretty good as well, once it was all done and read together without the two to three month lags between issues.

  14. I think a few of the YA’s are going to be in Mighty Avengers

  15. I know one thing, and one thing only, that is NOT Hawkeye.

  16. i agree…we do need more YA!!

  17. I completely agree with this article.

  18. If somebody comes to Marvel with a great pitch or script then sure, no reason to wait for Heinberg to finish up his TV projects.  But I also don’t feel like they need to put out a book just to put it out.  Actually, I feel this way about all titles.  Don’t publish a comic just because a month has passed.  Publish because somebody had a story to tell.

  19. this was a GREAT series. This was the only medium where i can see the new hawkeye. Im a big fan of hers. and when they did the young avengers presents mini series, it was just bait for me. they need to make this an on going. I WANT MORE JIM CHEUNG! i would buy every issue.

  20. @Josh

    That maybe true but she’s still pretty bad ass. Also Clint gave her the go ahead in the last YA Presents so…

  21. Clint is clearly not himself.  They got him running around in some damn fake ninja costume, NOT A BOW TO BE SEEN!

    She can call herself something else, and she can be a great character, but I’m taking a "Conor-Kilpatrick-On-Kyle-Rainer" stance on this one.  

    She is not my Hawkeye!  The archer will rise again!

  22. You need an acronym.

  23. Jim Cheung did a lot of the selling for me when I was compelled to score the HC a few months back… the quality of the story was just a bonus, to me.

  24. If he felt he needed a sex change, who are we to judge?

  25. I agree with this article completely. More YA please! (Also, I do not care about Grey’s Anatomy, I have no interest in watching it ever, and the fact that it is preventing me from getting more YA just makes me detest it even more.)

  26. @Josh

    Would you prefer she go with Hawkingbird again? 

  27. [Dr. Doom impression]

    Once again, Richards, you are…correct.

    [/Dr. Doom impression]






  28. hey those one shots were readable, and the team ups with the runaways were not that bad . i mean its almost the same thing, almost ad good, right

  29. That CIVIL WAR team-up with the Runaways was terrible.  One of the few minis I dropped in the middle.

  30. Josh is sexist.  

  31. Well, if Marvel’s ladying of evil continues unchecked, it only makes sense that the Avengers will have to do something to close the ladying gap. Still, Clint needs to get his head out of that gitmo hood and find himself some new duds.

    The thing about the Civil War mini was that, as it was coming out, the main CW book was showing the characters doing the things they were going to do after the mini ended, including a game-changing breakup of the team. I remember being in the middle of the first issue and having the epiphany: "Wait a minute. This is nothing. This doesn’t need to be."

    The Secret Invasion mini didn’t hurt me. At least both teams have "important" ties to the Skrulls to build a story around.

  32. I’m with Josh on this one, even though it diverges from the topic a bit, she is not Hawkeye. I like her, but Clint will be the one and her sunglasses make me think she is the love-child of Ultimate Hawkeye and Balck Widow or something. On topic…The One-Shots and Secret Invasion tie-ins didn’t hurt this series form me, but may somehow I’m able to separate it from the original YA. I’m half-surprised they didn’t offer Terry Moore to write this full time, since he gets their young series now, haha.

  33. I think I read one issue of the Young Avengers/Runaways Civil War mini and the characters sat around for two pages discussing the parallels and differences between the two teams, like they had been assigned a "compare and contrast" essay in English class.  

    @josh  I don’t know why they’re so insistent on Kate being *the* Hawkeye.  Clint could get his bow back, and Kate could do a Nightwing or Arsenal thing and get an identity of her own; that wouldn’t change the story.  Marvel has such a dysfunctional relationship with legacy. 

  34. 2 things: Looks like our team is finally back on track with both creators back to the title. Joey Q teased a bit of the first script two weeks ago in My cup of Joe via myspace.


    Kate is Hawkeye as a hawkeye fan i’ve come to terms with this as she’s a fun character and Clint has given her his blessing. Can’t wait till its actually solicited, pretty damn excited! 

  35. Here is the teaser from the My Cup O’Joe article:


    Q) Any update on that Allan Heinberg project?

    A) It’s being worked on. Hey, here’s an excerpt from it now:

    CAPTION (WICCAN): In the beginning, nobody really knew what to make of us.

    CAPTION (WICCAN): Seven super-powered Avengers fanboys—and girls—who had only come together because the Avengers had fallen apart.

    CAPTION (WICCAN): Since then we’ve fought KANG THE CONQUEROR — and the KREE and SKRULL armies. We’ve been on both sides of a superhero CIVIL WAR — and somehow survived the SECRET INVASION of Earth.

    CAPTION (WICCAN): So you’d think maybe the Avengers would learn to TRUST us by now…

    CAPTION (WICCAN): … but we’re still struggling to prove we’re worthy of calling ourselves YOUNG AVENGERS  

  36. a fraction young avengers series would be amazing.

    but, what im most frustrated about is that not only are they holding up the young avengers appearances for heinberg, but they’re not letting anyone do anything with wanda either, because that’s what he’s going to do with the next arc. ugh. i need wanda closure!

  37. My YA HC sits proudly on my shelf as one of my prized comic collections, along with the first Starman Omnibus.  It pretty much ranks up there in my top three series–Jim Cheung’s art is amazing, and the story by Heinberg is simply incredible.  I have wanted more Young Avengers for years, and I have to second everything Ron’s said here–I need more, and every month that passes without more YA arriving in my pullbox is a travesty.  And when I think about the fact that Grey’s Anatomy is the reason that there’s no more YA…


     Also, I have to agree with NJBaritone–the Hulkling/Wiccan relationship is awesome, and it’s really refreshing to see a young gay couple treated just so normally and matter of factly in a book like that; it’s one of the reasons I like this series so much… I don’t know a single iFangay who doesn’t love this book for that reason as well as the multitudes of others.