Avengers Academy #23A comic review article by: Ray Tate
The Avengers Academy Cadets from a different timeline kidnapped the present-day Reptil and hold him prisoner. The Reptil of the future takes his place and surreptitiously stirs up trouble.
"Doesn't she look tired?"
Reptil's ploy includes ushering in a Bronze Age villain through the Academy doors. This villain, a shape changer, catalyzed a major turning point in the life of one hero and happens to be the most potentially lethal monsters ever to challenge the Avengers. Here's your only hint.
The Comic Book Series That's Better Than the Toy
Before we get to the plot, Gage builds on the characters and the fun. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Tigra is love. She's also extremely dangerous.
A Nice Conversation About Maiming
The looks on the Cadets' faces are absolutely priceless. Kudos to Tom Raney, Scott Hanna and Chris Sotomayor for these natural expressions of disbelief. Every one of these kids is a fantastic type hero. They hurl energy. They possess greater athletic skills or super strength.
X-23 and Tigra have killer instincts that none of these kids experienced before, not to mention the claws to back up the actions. That's blood flying between the two combatants. Tigra and X-23 enjoy healing factors, and the previous page showed both ladies as vicious, feral creatures. Consider it a duel between two expert fencers, their foils button-less.
Just one look at the Cadets, and you can tell, that they have never seen their teacher Tigra like this. They furthermore have no idea what to make of the new addition X-23, who once calmer looks nothing more like a sweet innocent girl and talks that way, when not speaking of disemboweling.
Gage next picks up the sexual experimentation thread that he introduced in a previous issue. Hazmat was the first to suggest Julie Powers is gay, but in this issue, Gage argues that she's not the only one.
Out of the Closet
This is nothing new of course. The difference lies in how Gage addresses orientation in a perfectly mature and rational way that reflects the feelings of real life gays and lesbians as well as the victims of child abuse. None of this intelligent literal dialogue between Striker and Julie will please bigots, but such people don't read anything other than the Protocols of Zion, Mein Kamf and the Turner Diaries anyway.
Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.