Sunday, October 10, 2010

Avengers Academy #1, #2 and #3 - Marvel

I know I said I wasn't going to do this, but . . I wanted to give this book a shot. So I waited until the first 3 issues came out . . decided to pick them up . . and then read all 3 of them together. I wanted to see if they could do anything interesting here, plus . . I like these characters. As it turns out . . I thought it was pretty good. The setting is the Infinite Avengers Mansion. So we have Hank Pym, Tigra, Justice, Speedball and Quicksilver as the 'mentors in residence' Not to mention Jocasta. The only person I didn't see was Jarvis. He must of went back with the 'real' Avengers. Anyways, we also have a new class of recruits. Looking at the cover for issue #1, and going from left to right, we have Striker, Hazmat, Finesse, Reptil, Mettle and Veil. Reptil was the kid who appeared in the Avengers Initiative special. If you didn't read it, it's in my blog here . . somewhere. And the theme of this book, and both sides of this team, seems to be 'misfits', or 'damaged goods'. We all know that the Avengers here are all team-members with a checkered past. Well, that is to say, they've done things that are questionable and . . they've all been given a second chance. Third or fourth chances in some cases. Well, the team of recruits seems to be in the same position. It starts out all 'candy and roses', with the mentors telling the recruits that they're the 'brightest and the best'. And after reading all three issues I will say that they all have tremendous initiative. There's that word again. But we later find out that the reason they're actually here is because . . 'We're the ones Osborn tortured the worst. The ones whose psych tests set off alarms. The ones who could take out a city block. We're not here 'cause they think we have what it takes to be the next Captain America. We're here 'cause they're worried we'll be the next Red Skull.' In issues #2 and #3 Christos Gage starts focusing on the kids training, and on the individual team members. In issue #2 we get some background on Finesse. We also see the team, and their training, through her eyes. Because of her abilities, she, and Hank, wonder if she might be the Taskmaster's daughter. But because all of his information was wiped out of the records by Osborn . . the don't have anything to compare her to. Hank shows her a documentary on Quicksilver to try to inspire her, but instead . . she stumbles across something of her own. Because of the way she picks up knowledge she also has an incredible memory. And she's already reviewed most of the Avengers files. So after watching the show, she confronts Piotr with the fact that there never was a Skrull version of him. It was an excuse for what he did. He gets seriously pissed because he thinks that she's blackmailing him. But that's not what she wants at all. 'I'd like to learn. I want you to give me private lessons. Unless you want the world to know your secrets, you'll teach me . . what Magneto taught you . . in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.' Then in issue #3, we get another perspective of this team . . from Hazmat's point of view. Her story is probably the most tragic. As she almost killed her parents and boyfriend when her powers triggered. Of course what Osborn did to her was no 'piece of cake' either. We also start the substitute-teacher process this issue. Any number of Avengers have agreed to step in and help teach these students. So far we see Iron Fist and Valkrie. And Hank decides to take the team on a field trip, and give Luke a chance to address the kids. Of course they have to go to where he's working now, and that's . . the Raft. Which in and of itself probably wouldn't be that big of a deal . . it's a 'Scared Straight' type of thing. The problem is . . Osborn is also currently at the Raft. And Hazmat, Finesse and Mettle have more than a few bones to pick with him. The issue ends with Hazmat setting off a localized EMP . . which shuts down the prison and with it all security measures. And then the 3 of them track down to Osborn's cell. Of course he's calm and analytical. He let's them know that it'll only be a matter of minutes before they have EMP-shielded back-up systems on line. Which is when Hazmat tells him . . 'That's ok . . you'll be dead by then.' I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this series. I don't know what I was expecting . . another version of Avengers Initiative, or Young Avengers. And . . it kind of is. But I also think that Christos has kind of taken the best of both of those series and brought them together. Christos has also come a long way as a writer. I think he does a great job with the character development. And he has a way of getting the reader bought in to the story. I'll probably stay with this one for at least a few more issues to check it out. Another selling point, at least to me, of this series is Mike McKone's art. It's not flashy or groundbreaking, like some other artists, but . . it's got a really warm feel to it. It just feels comfortable . . or nostalgic, kind of. I don't know if I'm explaining it right, but . . I like it. Like I said, I'll probably pick up at least the next few issues to see how it goes. My curiosity has been piqued.

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