We're still in the midst of my Fear Itself books, as I tackle two of the Avengers family of books as they tie into FI. Last month's issue of Avengers was mind numbingly bad, so I'm expecting NOTHING from this month's offering, but Avengers Academy is one of my favorite Avengers titles, so hopefully it keeps up it's momentum here.
Summary: For my own sanity, I'm going to skip all of the useless dialogue that Brian Bendis seems obsessed with filling this comic with and simply get right into the meat of the story. The Thing received one of the Serpent's hammers in Fear Itself #3, and is immediately confronted by the Red Hulk, who joined the Avengers not that long ago. Red Hulk tells Possessed Thing to stand down, but Thing isn't having that, and slams Red Hulk across the face with his hammer, drawing first blood. Red Hulk gets up and fights back, but it becomes readily apparent that Thing is now a full power-level above the Red Hulk, and he basically pulverizes Red Hulk, knocking him several blocks away before turning his attention to Avengers Tower. Thing turns all of his power towards the Tower and unleashes wave after wave of magical force at it. Red Hulk sees what Thing was thinking and rushes over, trying to brace the falling building with his own strength, but it's for naught, as the building collapses on top of the Red Hulk. While Thing is surveying the damage he wrought, Red Hulk comes smashing out of the wreckage and attacks Thing anew. However, Thing once again proves to be the superior powerhouse, and uses his hammer to hit the Red Hulk as hard as he possibly could, sending the Red Hulk sailing far, far away, and in the words of Jarvis, never to return.
Thoughts: See, Bendis doesn't NEED to fill page after page of every comic with rambling dialogue! This comic was WAY better than the last issue, mainly because Bendis reined himself in and let the action in the story do the talking. I mean if you have John Romita Jr. doing art for you, let HIM tell the story with his art! This issue actually tied into the main Fear Itself books nicely(unlike last issue...), and basically showed us what happened to the Thing after he got his magical hammer. Now unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan of either the Thing or the Red Hulk, but I was still able to enjoy this story. I'd imagine a fan of either of those characters would like this one even more. Here's hoping THIS Bendis sticks around for a while, and not that other gabby Bendis...
Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.It's EVIL Clobberin' time!
Avengers Academy #15:
Summary: With the Raft broken apart, and super-powered criminals racing away from it, Steve Rogers calls on Hank Pym and the Avengers Academy instructors to head out to New York to try to apprehend as many of the villains as they could. Steve also tells Pym that if worst comes to worst, he'd ask Pym to let the Academy cadets out to assist with civilian rescue and stuff like that. Pym is hesitant, but tells Steve that if need be, the kids would be ready to do what they had to in the name of the Avengers. With that, Pym calls the staff together and decides to leave Tigra behind with the kids, since her power set was least suited to deal with a mass super-villain break out. Before leaving, Pym tells Tigra that if the kids are deployed, he's entrusting her with keeping them alive, which is a more important task then anything him or the rest of the staff would be doing. A little bit later, Tigra gets word that Washington DC was under attack by Sin's forces(as seen in pretty much EVERY Fear Itself tie-in), and decides that she had no choice but to bring the kids to DC to try to help evacuate civilians. Upon teleporting to DC, Tigra and the kids come face to face with Sin's Nazi death machines, and begin to try to save as many people as they possibly could. While that's going on, Jocasta sends word to Pym that the students had been deployed, which gives Pym a greater urgency to capture the Raft escapees so he could head to DC to be with his students. Back in DC, Tigra does her best to assist the kids in helping as many people as they could, as well as keeping them focused and not shell shocked by the horrible events occurring all around them. In particular, she manages to get Striker's head in the game, since he was still a bit of a basket-case due to being “killed” by Michael Korvac a few issues back, while dealing with Mettle, who accidentally killed one of the men controlling the Nazi death machines. Pym and the Academy staff return to their base after dealing with many of the Raft escapees, and Pym immediately wants to head to DC, but is told by Maria Hill(who took over command of the Avengers when Steve Rogers decided to lead the battle on the ground) that he was needed more in Dubai, where the possessed Absorbing Man and Titania were razing the countryside. Realizing that there were no superheroes in Dubai who could deal with the Absorbing Man, Pym RELUCTANTLY sets off to face the Absorbing Man. Upon arriving, Pym is immediately attacked by the 20 foot tall and monstrously powerful Absorbing Man.
Thoughts: Wow, this was a fantastic comic book. I have no other words to describe it. I mean I know that Christos Gage is a great writer and all, but this comic was, for lack of a better word, perfect. Not only was the story perfectly done, Tom Raney's artwork fit the events here perfectly. You could see the pain etched on Pym's face when he realized that he had to leave his students in Washington and head to Dubai. The artwork made the story that much more powerful, which is always a good thing. And the story... Pretty much every character was written fantastically. From the kids, who originally were chomping at the bit to get to DC, but rapidly realized the hell they were stepping foot in, to Tigra, who had to try to save as many civilians as she could, all while trying to keep her students not only safe, but mentally together, especially after seeing the atrocities happening all around them. And of course there was Pym, who desperately wanted to go to DC to assist his kids, but realized that the entire population of Dubai was more important than his own feelings. The parts with Striker, who nearly went into a shell due to having “died” once before, and Mettle, who was horrified that he actually took a life, were amazingly done. I mean I've NEVER liked Tigra, and this comic had me feeling terrible for the plight she found herself in... This ONE issue actually made me into a Tigra fan! All I can do here is give this issue a WELL deserved perfect score and tip my hat to Christos Gage and company. THIS is what all the other Fear Itself tie-ins SHOULD be like!
Score: 10 out of 10.Absolutely perfect!