Sunday, May 22, 2011

Comic Review "Avengers Academy" #13

            "Avengers Academy" number 13 fixed pretty much every problem I had with the book and how wooden it was portraying the cast.  Mettle and Hazmat have a cool character moment; Tigra and Giant Man have a cool character moment; Spider Girl and Reptil have a good character moment; Firestar and Justice have a good character moment; Veil and Striker have a good character moment; and Speedball, Hardball and Komodo all provide good bits of comedy.

Yes, a prom is the framing device for all of this character development and next to zero action.
            "Avengers Academy" started as a replacement for the then faded away title of "Avengers: The Initiative" in which the US was recruiting and training young, side-kick age heroes and training them to be the super hero leaders of tomorrow.  For whatever reason, even though "Initiative" was a great title with several cool original characters it lost focus due to the insane numbers of crossover mega events it was forced to participate in and now most of the IP's that were in the book are lost in the shuffle, including the original protagonist of the book Cloud 9, a young girl who has the power to create smoke clouds that she can use for flight (like Nimbus from "Dragonball Z").

This series was so great, go buy it. You don't have to know anything about Marvel to enjoy it, its just really good.
            Considering that "Academy" started with almost an entire new cast, bring over Hank Pym (who was actually an alien imposter during "Initiative") and Justice, but leaving behind War Machine (Iron Man's black number 2), Taskmaster (Whose power is to know and be able to properly teach any martial arts move in the world), Gauntlet (A non-com military hero with an alien super weapon on his arm), and Baron Blitzkrieg (a reformed Nazi super scientist) in favor of Quicksilver (Magneto's son), Jocasta (Woman Robot made by the evil Ultron), Tigra (a tiger lady), and Speedball (a guy who gets his powers from cutting himself).  Not to mention the 6 new at risk students who were brought in specifically because they might be turned into super bad guys in the future.

            The book has 12 main characters with frequent guest stars and has been struggling to develop each in a meaningful fashion, but #13 kind of hit on nearly everyone including 5 guest stars to good effect.  And while some of the dialogue is a little stiff and a lot of the guest stars mean nothing to people who didn't read "Initiative", it still works.

            For instance, Mettle and Hazmat getting together.  Mettle is invincible and strong, but his body looks bright red and metallic and his face looks like a skull, while Hazmat is a young woman whose powers make her both radioactive and poisonous on contact, so she can't touch anyone.  Nearly everyone else on the team thought that the two were dating because Mettle is immune to Hazmat's powers, but they were just friends.  In this issue they talk about how much they have been there for each other and how well they get along and decide to date because, "Maybe they're just seeing something we're not."  It is a really well done scene that talks about how tough their lives are in short order.

            Then there is Tigra and Giant Man which has a lot of issues.  see about 15 years ago they were on a super team together and dated, they broke up for... Reasons.  When Hank Pym was kidnapped and a shapeshifting alien took his place, the alien dated Tigra, and got her pregnant.  The process of the shapeshifting was so perfect though the child is biologically Giant Man's.  When last they talked about this he acted like a jerk off about the whole situation, in this comic he acts like a human being, asking why she went out with imposter him, she explains what the alien told her, and he tells her that the imposter lived Giant Man's life better than he ever did, because he had the same feelings and just never managed to follow up on them.  The two of them realize the obvious and go hook up, securing a romance they should have been experiencing since issue #1.

My introduction to Hank "Giant Man" Pym, and much of the complaints I had that "Academy" #13 fixed.
            The last best interaction also dates back to issues in the 90's.  Firestar is a super heroin who can fly and shoot fire, unfortunately she suffers from cancer, which Hank "Giant Man" Pym managed to cure her of, but it has defined her place in comics for the last 10 years.  She and the hero Justice used to date in a comic called New Warriors (which was in many ways the "Avengers Academy" of its time with young heroes trying to help each other become better heroes though without a lot of supervision).  She and Justice had broken up and Justice since then had changed from the "let's wait until marriage" type to the "we could die tomorrow" type and Firestar feels betrayed that she and he never got to have a normal life together, and jealous that she never got to bang him (cause women can be horny too).  They reconcile, a bit of character resolution that has been coming down the pike forever.

The 90's, so much inking.  So much inking.
            So yeah, this book is a really good and well needed tie up to a huge number of character points several that I didn't bother to touch on here.  If you are a fan of Marvel comics, and the tertiary characters and IP's that are completely overshadowed by Spiderman and Wolverine and 15 different levels of Incredible Hulk.

Seriously, these guys are fucking everywhere.


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