Avengers Academy seems to be a book that's having trouble finding its identity. It pinballs back and forth between uber-serious and lighthearted, seemingly undecided at what it wants to be. In one arc, the teens will be wracked over killing nazis and supervillains, then decide to play flag football in the next.
It's kind of jarring, to say the least.
So jarring that this issue really feels like a mish-mash of random sequences that try to achieve so much with a really bad setting - no one wants to try to do some deep emotional character-building on a flag football field, and some of the jokes just seem completely off the mark.
The book switches around between goofy, romantic, depressing and "light-hearted," but these shifts really ruin any semblance of consistency the story has. Especially considering the mental trauma that these heroes have been through over the past few issues, a flag football game with "Rockslide has no penis" jokes just seem very ill-timed.
Ultimately, I can't really recommend this book on any real basis; it does nothing but distill the characters we've come to like down to their barebones elements, dragging up resolved plot points in an effort to say "hey, I'm still relevant!" The development we have seen lately has largely been centered around X-23, who, well, doesn't need any more screen-time than she's already had in recent years. I originally bought this book for the original characters who were turning out to be their own individuals, instead of a side-attraction that gets thrown into a crossover every once and a while. I have the same problem with New Mutants: since so much of the Marvel and X-Men Universe is governed by these universe-changing events, no one is allowed to exist outside of them.
This presents a problem when we actually want to see something fresh and new, because Marvel might try to do something "tongue in cheek" like this and fail. Miserably. On every level.
Avengers Academy #28
The Verdict: If you've never read Academy before, this isn't the place to start. If you like this series, it's not a place to continue. One penalty flag out of five. You lose 50 yards.