It’s a new term at Avengers Academy. The Fear Itself crisis saw their interdimensional headquarters, Infinite Avengers Mansion, destroyed. One student, Veil, quit after feeling forced to kill in battle. Teachers Speedball and Justice resigned to go on a road trip.
Hmm, should I even mention that there’s a second surprise? You’re perhaps less likely to be surprised if you’re expecting a surprise. But on balance, I’ll stick with the previous paragraph – even knowing something’s coming, it’s not something that can be guessed, the surprise will hold. I’m hoping to persuade anyone who hasn’t yet tried this book to give it a shot, and intrigue always helps.
This really is one of the best comics Marvel puts out, packed to the gills with fascinating characters and situations that change and grow from issue to issue. It also features some of my favourite Avengers as teachers – along with Giant Man there’s Tigra and Quicksilver and, as of this issue, another longtime team member. Plus, the core class is joined by Julie Power, aka Lightspeed from Power Pack aka, according to Hazmat, ‘Double Rainbow Barbie’. And this month’s version of the White Tiger, Ava Ayala, steps in to add a few sparks.
Christos Gage is one of the best plotters in comics and his scripts are brimming with character and his love of classic Avengers lore. One favourite scene this time has killer robot Ultron characterised as a deadbeat husband to Jocasta (‘she claims she hasn’t heard from him in months’), while Hawkeye’s earliest arguments with Cap see him sympathetic to the trainees’ frustrations and rudeness. All this and the kind of twisted teen romance that’s a log way from Riverdale.
The pencils of Sean Chen are deliciously clear, and sharply finished by Scott Hanna. The pair do a fine job of telling the story visually, handling a couple of dozen individuals without making the pages seem cluttered. And the bright colours of Jeromy Cox and Veronica Gandini, and clear lettering of Joe Caramagna, are always appreciated. Rodin Esquejo joins the comic as cover artist and produces the perfect image to ring in a new era. I’ve no idea what the post-Fear Itself banner, Shattered Heroes, refers to, but the ‘1ST ISSUE of a new era‘ blurb is just clever marketing.
The new Avengers Academy has no need of another .1 issue – although the comic’s entry in the ongoing Marvel promotion was excellent – as editor Bill Rosemann has your jumping-on point right here. Enrol, enjoy.