Monday, September 23, 2013

365 Comics...263: Avengers Academy: Second Semester tpb (2012)

This volume of Avengers Academy comes out of Fear Itself in an awkward state, and it takes some time to recoup.  I have to wonder if Christos Gage's expansion plan for the Academy was  interrupted by the crossover, which meant fast tracking some of his other plans, like the Reptyl-future-mind-swap story (which seemed like it should have been a slow-burning plotline, but it was actually only four issues long).  There's a distinctive sense of repetitiveness to this volume, which is basically, heroes show up at the Avengers West Coast mansion and the Academy kids fight them, before they all simmer down and get on with some other challenge.  Seriously, it happens three times, with X-Men, with Veil and Jocasta returning and with the Runaways.  That's what leads me to think Gage had this planned his series a little differently, as the redundancy is just shocking.  As well, some of the new recruits last all of seven issues, and get no face time.  Power Man, Batwing, Rocket Racer, and Machine Teen, we hardly knew ye (okay, I don't think any of you have had more than a line since you showed up).
Gage is usually a pretty great writer, but half of this volume features some insanely clunky dialogue and the character conflict feels almost universally forced or contrived.  The discussions around sexuality were well-meaning but completely unnatural.  Issue 26, which closes out the awkward "future Reptyl" arc ends with a fantastic closing splash with a 50-story tall Giant Man with long white beard, and in control of Cerebro, implying that Pym leads these at-risk-youths into the future as tyrannical villains he was supposed to stop them from becoming.  The idea that Pym might actually the bad guy of the book (and Gage's reminder from Jocasta that he's been far from the perfect hero) are intriguing elements that will have me riding this through to the finish. (another 11 issues to go).

I still like the main cast, I like Lightspeed, and outside of Avengers Arena, I haven't seen anything of X-23, but I like her too.  Even Butterball is kinda my new favourite hero. (he's indestructible, can't be hurt, can't die, and he likes Crystar: The Crystal Warrior).  I'm guessing that the turkey company will put a stop to it if ever they tried to give him his own series though.

No comments: