Membership: Vance Astro, Brahma, Cougar, Firestar (Angelica Jones), Namorita (Namorita Prentiss), Nova (Richard Rider), Speedball (Robert Baldwin), Torpedo;
   possibly Combat, Gridlock, Lynx, Rebound

Purpose: To train to become the Avengers of the future

Aliases: None

Affiliations: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Rick Jones

Enemies: Force (Eightyfive, Greenscape, Malevolence, Photon, Shatterstar, Spectra), Freedom Force, Griffin, Henry Peter Gyrich, Lunatik, Nefaria

Base of Operations: Earth-???

First Appearance: (intended) Young Avengers#1 (circa 1990)

Young Avengers#1) - Seeing the need to train the next generation of already emerging superhumans to be heroes and future Avengers, Captain America gathered together Namorita, Vance Astro, Firestar, Speedball and Torpedo and entrusted training these Young Avengers to his friend Rick Jones.

(Young Avengers#2-4) - A re-powered Nova  joined the team, as did a newly emerged superhuman, Brahma; they also encountered the savage Cougar, who declined to join them.

(Young Avengers#5) - The Young Avengers battled the space criminals known as Force; meanwhile in Washington D.C. government agent Henry Peter Gyrich had taken an interest in the team, and berated Captain America for endangering minors.

(Young Avengers#6) - Despite Torpedo quitting in a fit of pique mid-battle, the rest of the Young Avengers finally learned to fight as a team and drove Force back into space. However, in Washington D.C. Gyrich instructed Freedom Force to round up the Young Avengers.

(Young Avengers#7) - Freedom Force attempted to carry out their orders, taking especial interest in Namorita, Astro, Firestar and Brahma, as they were suspected of being unregistered mutants. They were apparently unsuccessful or eventually ordered to stand down.

(Young Avengers#8) - When the recently escaped felon the Griffin went on a rampage, the Young Avengers tried to apprehend him, but found his savagery too much to contain until Cougar turned up to assist them. Equally ferocious, with his help they subdued Griffin, and afterwards Namorita convinced Cougar to stay with the team, though he still refused to officially join. Torpedo subsequently returned to the Young Avengers, and was reprimanded by Rick for having left the team in the lurch. Elsewhere a young man searching through his late uncle's laboratory discovered the means to reproduce the dead man's superpowers (see comments).

(Young Avengers#9) - When Maggia bosses began being wiped out by a super-powered vigilante the Young Avengers tried to stop the assassin, who turned out to be the heir of the late Count Nefaria, and more than capable of holding his own against their entire team. Elsewhere the threat of Lunatik arose (see comments).

(Young Avengers#10) -The Young Avengers again battled the new Nefaria, who once more soundly defeated them. While he returned to Italy to set up his families' power base, the battered and bruised Young Avengers were left wanting blood, and Cougar finally agreed to join their ranks.

Comments: Created by Jim Valentino and Rob Liefeld.

   In the late 1980s both Rob Liefeld and Jim Valentino were up and coming creators at Marvel, but not yet established as major players with any ongoing series. Marvel editor Craig Anderson mentioned to the pair that the company was looking for a Young Avengers title, and the pair jumped at the idea, viewing it as a "dream gig." Having just completed a couple of issues in the Atlantis Attacks crossover and with an existing love of aquatic characters, Liefeld wanted to feature Namorita and use her Atlantean supporting cast (which might have meant seeing SURF return), with the rest of the cast being made up of characters that were favorites of both men - Speedball, Vance Astro, Nova and Firestar. In addition the pair proposed to introduce no less than fifteen new, mostly young characters into the Marvel Universe in the series first year, some of Young Avengers, and others as their allies or foes, including Brahma, Cougar, Combat, Lynx, Rebound, Gridlock, Spectra, Photon, Malevolence, Eightyfive, Greenscape, Shatterstar, and new incarnations of/successors to Lunatik and Count Nefaria.

   In April 1989 Valentino and Liefeld handed in their ten page proposal outlining the series' concepts, characters and a very brief breakdown of the first ten issues. Back in 2010 Tom Brevoort posted this on his Marvel blog, but sadly all bar two of the pages have now vanished from the internet - if anyone out there saved copies, I'd love to see them, and to expand this profile a bit further. Following on from that Rob Liefeld discussed the project on his own blog, named some of the characters they had intended to introduce, and included the only two design sketches he still retained, Brahma and Vance Astro, which I've used here, alongside Liefeld's sketch of Cougar from Marvel Age and his Namorita art from New Mutants Annual#5, to Frankenstein the main image above. I wasn't able to find any examples of Liefeld having drawn the other confirmed team members, or I would have endeavored to include them too.

   While waiting to hear back from Marvel about the proposal Liefeld was offered the permanent New Mutant art gig. However, he was hesitant to commit to it, as he was still hoping that the Young Avengers project would happen. However, as Tom Brevoort revealed, Anderson had been unaware that while he had suggested to Liefeld and Valentino that they might pursue the Young Avengers idea Marvel was interested in, fellow editor Tom DeFalco had also been working on the idea, coming up with what would eventually morph into the New Warriors. Because of the remit, both would-be creative teams had trawled through the same pool of existing but little used teen characters not claimed by the X-Men or New Mutants, and thus by sheer coincidence (and all involved have confirmed it was just coincidence - no one feels anyone else was trying to steal their idea) had picked virtually identical line-ups. Presumably because he was the first person to be aware of both proposals and realize that Marvel's right and left hands had been doubling up their efforts, it fell to then Editor-in-Chief Mark Gruenwald to inform Anderson that DeFalco's project had already been approved, and though presumably not yet permitted to tell others outside editorial about DeFalco's project, Gruenwald then phoned Liefeld to make sure he didn't miss out on accepting the New Mutants gig.

   Unlike some of the lost projects that Marvel had planned, which could theoretically have still happened off-panel on Earth-616, the Valentino/Liefeld Young Avengers would be hard-pressed to do so. Apart from the fact that most of the new characters proposed for the series ended up being used by Liefeld and Valentino elsewhere, it would be difficult to explain why when Night Thrasher attempted to recruit his initial New Warriors they didn't inform him they already knew one another. But in these days when we've been getting old creators coming back to produce alternate reality continuations of their fondly remembered runs on titles, perhaps one day we might still see the Valentino/Liefeld Young Avengers in action.

    This profile was completed 8/19/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

The Young Avengers have no known connections to:

Vance Astro

Telekinetic mutant Vance Astro was the counterpart to Earth-616's Vance Astrovik, who eventually became the New Warrior Marvel Boy, a.k.a. Justice.



Brahma was apparently a superstrong mutant. When the Young Avengers project fell through, Rob Liefeld used the character in his subsequent Image series Youngblood as a member of that titular team.


Originally planned for Young Avengers, Cougar made a sort of Marvel debut in Marvel Age#82, by this time repurposed to be a potential New Mutant. However, for whatever reason Liefeld ultimately didn't use him there, and instead he eventually became a member of Liefeld's Youngblood team at Image Comics. Since Earth-616 Cougar did make a small cameo
not-really him appearance in Avengers West Coast#64, that means a version of him does exist on Earth-616 (the mainstream Marvel universe), so the Young Avengers member is presumably an alternate reality counterpart to him.


Microwave-emitting mutant Firestar was a counterpart to Angelica Jones, the Earth-616 Firestar.


Atlantean/human hybrid Namorita was a counterpart to the Earth-616 Namorita.


Richard Ryder (sic) was a member of the Young Avengers as Nova; since his Earth-616 counterpart was depowered at the time when the Young Avengers stories were set, the Young Avengers version had presumably found a way to regain his powers (just as the 616 version later did to join the New Warriors).


Robbie Baldwin, the bouncing hero Speedball, was a counterpart to the Speedball of Earth-616.


Torpedo was a new character, but given the name may well have been related to the late Torpedo, Brock Jones, though I suspect that if their Torpedo was connected to Jones, it would have been Brock's son Dan or daughters Ann or Tammy who was wearing the armor, rather than another relative, as happened on Earth-616 with Mike Jeffries (a.k.a. Turbo).


Combat would have either been a Young Avenger, or a foe or ally of theirs. Liefeld later used him as a member of Youngblood at Image Comics. There he is an alien warrior, so a similar backstory was likely in Young Avengers.


Gridlock was either a Young Avenger, an ally of theirs, or an enemy. Unlike most of the other characters proposed, I've not been able to find either Liefeld or Valentino using a similarly named character elsewhere, so either he/she got dropped completely, or was renamed before being used.


Feline humanoid Lynx would have either been a Young Avenger, or a foe or ally of theirs. Liefeld later used her as a foe of Youngblood's Cougar at Image Comics.


Rebound would have either been a Young Avenger, or a foe or ally of theirs. Valentino later used him in ShadowHawk at Image Comics, and then as a member of the Others. Given that he's a humanoid dinosaur, I wonder if the Young Avengers version might have turned out to be tied to Stegron, a native of the Savage Land, or a member of the Saurian race.

Captain America

Captain America was the hero who had felt the need to train the next generation of Avengers, and was a counterpart to the Earth-616 Captain America.

Rick Jones

Rick Jones, charged with training the Young Avengers, was a counterpart to Earth-616's Rick Jones.


Force were alien criminals who raided Earth until the Young Avengers drove them off. The team itself would be a counterpart to the 31st century Force of Reality-691, the Guardians of the Galaxy, as Jim Valentino took the basic concept to that title with him. In terms of the individual members:

Eightyfive was presumably a counterpart to the other Force's Eightyfive.

Greenscape has no immediately obvious counterpart, but Liefeld later introduced an eco-terrorist team called Greenscape in Youngblood II#2, one of whose members was Soil (see left), a character he had previously considered using as a New Mutant, and I suspect that prior to that Soil may have been called Greenscape and intended for Force.

Photon is presumably a counterpart to the other Force's Photon, but since Liefeld was handling designs probably looked like the different version of Photon that he later used in Youngblood.

Malevolence may be a counterpart, and is almost certainly the name inspiration for, the daughter of Mephisto called Malevolence that was introduced in Valentino's Guardians of the Galaxy.

Spectra has no obvious counterpart; if he or she has turned up in either creators' subsequent work, it must be under a different name.

Shatterstar's 616 counterpart was repurposed to appear in Liefeld's New Mutants run and went on to become a member of X-Force.

Freedom Force

Freedom Force would have been the counterparts to Earth-616's Freedom Force, with membership presumably matching the 616's version's around the same time - Mystique, Destiny, Avalanche, Pyro, Blob, Crimson Commando, Super Sabre, Stonewall and Spiral.


Griffin was presumably John Horton, the counterpart of Earth-616's Griffin.

Henry Peter Gyrich

Government agent Gyrich would have been the same man who plagued the life of so many 616 heroes, and now would be his counterpart.


Lunatik was presumably connected to the previous person to use that name, the splintered aspects of extradimensional despot Arisen Tyrk. The outline for Young Avengers#8 mentions a young man discovering the means to duplicate his late uncle's powers, while #9 mentions "set up for Lunatik." This makes me suspect that one of Tyrks' splinters had married and it was his nephew who had found a way to become Lunatik.


Nefaria was a foe of the Young Avengers. Since the original version was dead at this juncture, and Young Avengers was focused on young characters, I'm assuming this was a new generation of the Nefaria crime family.

images: (without ads)

Rob Liefeld's blog (Vance Astro, Brahma and Soil design sketches)
Marvel Age#82, p11, pan1 (Cougar design sketch)
New Mutants Annual#5 poster (Namorita)
Youngblood trading card (Combat)
Youngblood Battlezone#2, p25, pan1 (Lynx)
The Others#1, Fact File (Rebound)

(intended) Young Avengers#1-10 (circa 1990) - Jim Valentino (writer), Rob Liefeld (pencils), inks, editor

First Posted: 09/20/2021
Last updated:

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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