Connecting the Dots: Young Avengers
There are two types of speculators: those who lead and those who follow. By the time news hits, cheap copies of relevant keys are gone and sometimes all that are left are overpriced, often lower grade scraps. It’s the individuals who actually read and research comics who ultimately profit by making insightful, sometimes far-out, connections that puts them far ahead of the market.
The release of Avengers Endgame brought a bevy of speculation and profitable returns for those who purchased speculative books prior to April 26. This begs the question: is it worth embracing spoilers if it gives you an advantage in the speculation market? If you look at the number of listings in the days prior of Avengers #11 (2011) and Thor #190, it’s clear many embraced the spoilers. However, the time to truly purchase potential key books is months and perhaps years before they blow up.
It has long been speculated that Young Avengers would be a part of the fourth wave of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For those scrutinizing Endgame for hints of what’s to come, the inclusion of three or four characters presents some interesting opportunities: Lila Barton (Hawkeye’s Daughter), a now older Cassie Lang (Ant-Man’s Daughter) Morgan Stark (Iron Man’s Daughter) and Harley Keener (the boy whom Stark mentored in Iron Man 3). While the anticipated appearance of Kate Bishop (Hawkeye II) never materialized, each of these characters potentially add fuel to Young Avengers speculation.
The obvious spec is Young Avengers #1. This book features the first appearances of the core team: Wiccan (Billy Kaplan), Hulkling (Teddy Altman), Iron Lad (Nathaniel Richards), Patriot (Eli Bradley) and future Hawkeye II, Kate Bishop. (Wiccan’s brother Speed makes his debut in Young Avengers #10). At 87,991 copies sold according to Comichron, this book has numerous listings on eBay and is well-represented on the CGC census. These factors will always hinder the investment potential of this book. There is a Wizard World Los Angles Sketch Edition that offers a lower print run, with a recent sale of a 9.8 at $371. It’s very important to note that at this point, none of the actual characters introduced in the MCU appear in Young Avengers #1. Therefore, it’s time to speculate.
The premise of the announced Hawkeye TV show is that Clint Barton trains a protégé. If a female Hawkeye is to make her debut in either on TV or in a movie, it’s more than likely his daughter Lila. While the no version of this character is present in comics, Kate Bishop is the closest approximation. Copies of this her keys include Young Avengers #1 (first appearance), Young Avengers #12 (first Appearance as Hawkeye) and Young Avengers Presents #6 (first meeting with Clint Barton). Since these issues are on speculators’ radars, cheaper copies of these keys are rare. It remains to be seen what version of the character Marvel will feature.
A better spec is Cassie Lang, who was introduced along with her father in Marvel Premier #47 (1979). In the comics, Cassie assumes the size-changing identity of Stature in Young Avengers #6 (2005). Sales of the book dropped to 67,539 copies from the first issue and there are far fewer CGC graded copies at 53 (21 9.8s). A 9.8 recently sold for $200. A far less known Cassie Lang key is Astonishing Ant-Man #6, which features her first cameo appearance as Stinger. (Her first full is not until issue #8.) With 20,375 copies sold and only three graded copy in the census, it makes the potential return on this book more desirable. Another lower-run title to be on the lookout for is Young Avengers Presents #5 (28,777 copies sold).
Perhaps the biggest Young Avengers spec is Iron Lad. In the comics, Iron Lad is none other than a younger, time-displaced version of long-time Avengers villain Kang the Conqueror, who was introduced in Avengers #8 (1964). This version however is benevolent and forges relationship with his teammates, however, there is currently no direct MCU correlation. The two most obvious candidates are Morgan Stark and Harley Keener. From his age alone, Harley presents a far better candidate than Tony’s daughter, who is five-years-old in the film. Harley also demonstrates his advanced technical abilities in Iron Man 3. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a tremendous leap for the character to don a suit of armor. Thanks to Topher S, we know the character might actually have a first appearance in a comic book, the Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe #4 (2016), although it's a photo of Ty Simpkins from Iron Man 3. There is only one graded copy listed and it the book is generally scarce online. However, if Marvel wants to stick with Kang, Endgame establishes time travel as an option and the time lord could still be introduced as Iron Lad, which is now possible since Marvel has the rights to the Fantastic Four.
Although these three characters provide a workable core for the team (that’s not to say that other existing MCU teenage characters such as Shuri or Spider-man couldn’t join as well), the Disney+ provides opportunities to introduce more characters, such as Wiccan and Speed. Wanda and Vision’s “children” could make their debut with in the forthcoming WandaVision. Furthermore, the Loki-centered streaming show is rumored to include a younger version of the character; Kid Loki arguably debuts in Thor #617 (2011) and joins the team in the first issue of the second volume of the comic series. There were 49,165 copies sold of Thor #671; the 1:15 Tron variant comes in at 3278 copies.
Whatever Marvel plans for these existing cinematic characters, there are a number of scenarios that could launch the team; it’s possible that fans could even see a formal or informal version of the Young Avengers aiding or rescuing their adult counterparts in the next Avengers film. While some books have been already specced upon, some creative thinking could lead to more books becoming valuable keys.