Avengers Academy

Avengers Academy (2010-2012) recently wrapped up and since we'll be seeing some of the team in the new NOW! title Avengers Arena (the first issue of which leaked online today and officially comes out later this week), I recently read the Christos Cage-penned book featuring powered kids at risk of becoming villains after suffering at the hands of Norman Osborn.

I really liked it, though the reaction to the revelation that fame-hungry electrokinetic Brandon Sharpe (Striker) is gay reminded me why I have a policy against reading 'fan' letters. The kids really grew on me, but the real surprise for me was how attached I grew to the faculty. The Academy's main teachers are Hank Pym (Giant Man), Greer Grant (Tigra),  Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), and later on Clint Barton (Hawkeye). Sometimes guest teachers show up for special lessons, like hand-to-hand combat with Danny Rand (Iron Fist) and Steve Rogers (Captain America), and very special appearances from Valkyrie and Hercules.

Val = the best.

So after a crash course in feminist theory from Brunnhilde herself, the kids also get a glistening, oily history lesson from Herc.

"Burn the sight before you into thy memory fore'er!"
And then later on they have a football game between the Academy and X-Kids, and we get to see what passes for flirting for Pietro and the elite Shi'ar warrior Warbird.

So referee Jocasta takes them off the field and puts them in a time out:  

IT MADE THEIR HAIR STAND UP I nearly died laughing, seriously.
Warbird tells Pietro about how he's a huge joke on her planet because of his disasterous marriage to the Inhuman princess Crystal. Angered and embarrassed by the reminder of his perceived failures as a husband and a father, Pietro lashes out...

But it works out okay for him in the end:

They are making out behind the fucking bleaches like a couple of teenagers, I'm so done with these so-called 'adults'
The final issue sees the now depowered Veil returning to a regular high school to finish her education and the rest of the team gearing up to take part in a philanthropic program matching gifted youngsters to important work like disaster aid and other humanitarian causes. She thinks back on her time at the Academy and wonders if anything has even changed, as she is still being bullied and still feels ostracised from her peers. However, when she uses some of her newly-trained combat exercises to show she won't be pushed around any more,  she decides she did learn something after all.

Like I said, I liked it. The characters grew on me and the stories were compelling. The art was great, and holy crap look at all the queer couples and characters of colour I'm so proud of this book for being a step in the right direction for diversity in comics:


Also also also, Pietro pretending not to have feelings when he a) rescues Robbie's cat, b) rescues the 'brain' of Juston's pet Sentinel, and consoles Finesse when she feels lonely.

Sure, sure Pietro. It's not like you're a big softie at heart or nothin'.

Finesse is usually so unlikeable but this broke my heart.
 Anyway great book, bummed it's over, I will be reading Avengers Arena but I'm so against the idea of that title, you guys have no idea. It reeks of shameless sensationalised violence to drive up sales, and from what we've seen so far (ie the leaked first issue scans) having the first death be a character of colour is extra lame. Aside from that though I enjoyed the soapy relationship dramas and the angst, and recommend anyone interested check it out.

1 comment:

Timmy! said...

I agree Avengers Academy was an AMAZING book with an INCREDIBLE cast/roster..i wish it couldve run longer, but when it coincided with the avengers vs xmen sham of a mini series, I knew it's time was up. Still, GREAT artwork and storytelling and none of it felt rushed. Im usually AGAINST "making characters gay" for no other reason than to have a gay character, but Striker's revealing himself just "felt right" while on the other hand Katie Powers' didnt make sense. If you LOVED this book as much as I did, may I suggest you look up yahoo groups for the avengers academy rpg that I run there. Im always looking for new players with a passion and love and respect for the characters :)