Saturday, July 9, 2011

Avengers Academy #15

Cover by Billy Tan
Avengers Academy #15
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Tom Raney, Scott Hanna, Andrew Hennessy
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

So yesterday was pretty bad and as I was feeling pretty miserable all day, I knew I wanted to read a comic that would not be too dark or dreary. So I steered clear of Batman and basically all of DC. Having so enjoyed the easiness and fun writing of the Avengers Academy, I decided to try their entry in Marvel’s Fear Itself series, which is basically a big crossover series that came out this year and something that, as a new fan, I only sort of understand. Whatever.

While Avengers Academy #15 was not as light-hearted or breezy as #14, it still gave me an enjoyable reprieve from reality (which I desperately needed at the time).

So basically, in this issue, everything has gone straight to hell and supervillains have escaped their prison cells in the Raft and are wreaking havoc all over the world. Dr. Pym, head of the Academy, is being called by the Avengers for support and, worst of all, Captain America warns him that they may require the services of his students. He is understandably but overly reluctant to have them engage in combat as in his eyes, they are still children. But, as Captain America points out, they have been training for this sort of situation for years. Sure enough, they are forced to engage in combat and perform evacuations of civilians, with no one but Tigra as their leader.

Simple enough plot really. And simple enough conflict as well. The major theme of this issue was how terribly war is and how awful it is when we require young adults to fight out battles. It’s all very deep.

Still, I enjoyed witnessing chaotic action scenes fought by very green superheroes. It was fun and added a different level to what would have been a very typical and uninteresting conflict. The dialogue did get a little too philosophical and melodramatic at points but what would comics be without the occasional dip into heavy messages about war and death and honor?

I was also intrigued by the character of Tigra, someone I have absolutely no background with. For a woman in nothing but a black bikini (and a rather skimpy one at that), she was pretty three-dimensional. She wasn’t necessarily brilliant or incredibly strong but she wasn’t embarrassing (though she did tear up a few too many times). I did find her focus and faith in the teenaged students and their abilities refreshing. She was a solid mentor to have as the main adult character in the issue.

The art, as before, was pretty great. I really enjoy Cox’s depictions of fight scenes, which always have a great amount of detail and chaos without being too busy or overwhelming. So far, he’s been one of my favorite artists that I’ve encountered during this project.

Overall, Avengers Academy #15 wasn’t anything too epic or as fun as the first issue of this series I’ve read. It did, however, grant me a decent enough story and plenty of action, though the teenaged students themselves  were not as forefront as I would’ve liked. It was more of a story about them than starring them, if that makes sense. Still, I have to say Avengers Academy is one of my favorite discoveries so far.

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