Oh, Avengers Academy; like the little comic that could, you slowly captured my heart and filled a Teen Titans-sized hole that had been violently excavated. While you were probably the title to come out of the Heroic Age that I was most skeptical about, you chugged on and persevered. Now you're starting your "Final Exam," which I'm guessing is wrapping up the series. To be frank, even good things need to realize when they need to give it a break and step back. Some things I liked:
- The metatextual "oh, look, another crossover" jokes were kind of witty, and I enjoyed how it basically spoke as a proxy for a typical comic book fan. This one's a bit of a two-parter, so stay tuned for the other side of this coin.
- Getting Mettle and Hazmat together was an honestly cute moment, as the series has been playing at it for over 20 issues now. Despite all the messed up things they went through, they still were able to remain true to each other and experience "freedom" as it should be.
- I also like the inclusion of Veil, one of the original members of the team; I was legitimately scared she was going to fade into the ether (no pun intended) of the Marvel Universe and we'd never see what happened to her.
Some things I didn't:
- By removing the presence of adults in this book we're left with a number of teenagers with no moral compass, and a master manipulator that sees them ripe for the picking. When a dude offers you a cure-all, you'd think that there's some price behind it.
- Speaking to that, I found it extremely hypocritical of the writer to criticize ongoing crossovers and their effect on the world when he basically cooked up the most cliche "teen clique of superheroes" storyline in existence: teens are angsty because of their powers. They can get the powers removed at seemingly no cost. SURPRISE! There's a cost.
- What we're left with is something that just seems messy; people switch allegiances with little-to-know reason, and each of these heroes are kind of just left to... flail. I believe it was just bad timing to throw these kids into a post-Fear Itself world where they were honestly messed up, only to have to put up with AvX and its consequences. It gave them no time to hit the natural stride of the book; instead, they always seem to be reacting to what other people are doing.
Avengers Academy #34
The Verdict: Sadly, this book seems to be going the way of Geoff Johns' amazing Teen Titans run of the early 2000;: a huge event hits, it splinters the team, and the book isn't able to get the same quality back. A generous three MacGuffins out of five for throwing out a tired cliche, but somehow not managing to make it terrible.
That, however, doesn't mean it's particularly good.
Matt Demers is a Toronto journalist who you can find on Twitter. His fingers are sore from typing these reviews.