|Cover by David Lafuente, Christina Strain|
Avengers Academy #27 (March 7, 2012)
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Karl Moline, Jim Fern
Colorist: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
It’s been a very long time since I last reviewed any Avengers Academy so I admittedly have a lot of catching up to do. I am especially a little in over my head as this issue features the Runaways in a crossover between the two Marvel teen teams. I have never read any Runaways issues and only know the fundamentals of the characters and their backstories.
Nonetheless, I was able to pick up the basic tension between the teams and the central plot fairly quickly. Gage isn’t too bad at exposition via characters’ dialogue though I occasionally found the teens’ voices a little false.
This surprised me as I have always enjoyed Gage’s Avengers Academy and felt he did his teen characters justice. In this issue, however, the writing felt a little stretched and quite hammy at times. This can probably be attributed to the sheer overwhelming amount of characters in this issue. A crossover is typically a tough juggling act and the writing definitely suffered in an effort to include enough voices from both the Avengers Academy and the Runaways.
While I found the interplay between the two teams interesting, it was unfortunately set aside for a flimsy conflict: the Runaways enlist Dr. Pym and the students’ help in locating their lost dinosaur, Old Lace. That’s it. Nothing else really happens. Sure, Dr. Pym and Tigra discuss their reluctance to allow the Runaways to live on their own, and Striker’s recent coming out is a popular topic of conversation among the teenagers. Regardless of all this, nothing seemed to gel.
For example, the opening features Lightspeed going on and on to Reptil about not telling everyone about Striker’s being gay. So what exactly are you doing then, Lightspeed?
Along with the storytelling, the art was a bit sloppy as well. It was nothing terrible but it was not impressive at all. I really just feel that Gage struggled to maintain all these characters and their potential. Hopefully the second part is cleaner since I so enjoy Avengers Academy and am interested in learning more about the Runaways.