Avengers Academy #20A comic review article by: Ray Tate
Transitions is the key word for this issue of Avengers Academy. Disturbed by a lack of feeling over the deaths of the Nazis she killed in Fear Itself, Veil leaves the Avengers. Hank decides to reopen the West Coast Avengers Compound to replace his Infinite Dimension Mansion, and two of the Academy faculty also choose to depart.
I've read numerous similarly-themed team books, and they're always decent time wasters as long as the art's good. Avengers Academy is no exception. Tom Raney and Scott Hanna wring every emotion out of this melodrama. Veil goes through so many facial expressions that you might think Bill Plympton was behind the whole scheme.
Still, the mural could all be quite boring if not for Jeromy Cox. His colors keep things lively despite the atypical dearth of superhero action. The broad range of colors perk up the proceedings by exciting your sense of vision. The viewing literally generates a biological response.
The best thing about Avengers Academy is Tigra of course. Barring her, I think the potential future of the two staffers that leave is the most enjoyable aspect in Christos Gage's story. Their decision, made practically off the cuff, reminds me of a classic television series.
They even look a little like the stars albeit with costumes.
That will be your only hint as to who leaves. I never particularly cared about this television show. It was basically something to watch while I toweled off from the shower. However, the idea of these two going on the road like the stars of Route 66 conjures a hilarious picture in my head.
Mood swings can best describe the rest of the book. In the beginning of the story, it's depressing. The Avengers recover from the catastrophes borne out of Fear Itself, a lousy miniseries that wrecked the earth. Everybody feels guilt over Veil's decision to leave, and her destination pleases nobody. I also think it was probably a bad idea to shoot her over to somewhere that was the basis for a mostly forgettable one-shot issue that a lot of people might have skipped.
By the end of the book, optimism sets the tone for the future, in which Gage lightens up from his original theme. Avengers Academy existed to redirect the energies of young heroes most likely to become super-villains. Gage got as much mileage as he could from that motif. It's time for a change. So, Hank opens the Academy to any young hero in need of training.
Avengers Academy is a good if not a particularly action-packed jumping-on point for new readers. Given all that happens in the book, the faithful will also want to add it to their pull lists.
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. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray 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.