Okay, now that Ultimate Fallout is out of the way, let's get to this week's Pick of the Litter, Avengers Academy #17, as well as this week's... um, secondary Pick of the Litter, Wolverine #13. Both series have been amazingly good as of late, here's hoping that trend continues...
Avengers Academy #17(Fear Itself tie-in):
Summary: This issue begins with the last of Sin's Nazi mechs leaving Washington DC. The Avengers Academy cadets are met by Falcon, who tells them he admired their work and the way they saved lives in the stricken city. From there, Tigra arrives on the scene and tells the kids that they earned some downtime, at which point she takes them back to Infinite Avengers Mansion. Upon arriving, Jocasta tells Tigra and the cadets that Pym, Quicksilver and Justice had been injured, which leads to Tigra wanting to head to Pym's location to check on him since they were an item again. With that, Tigra leaves and the kids spread out to(try to) relax. Meanwhile, the Serpent possessed Titania and Absorbing Man have been teleported to the Arctic last issue by Pym, and the Absorbing Man is taking out his frustrations on Pym's machinery. Titania points out the futility of this tantrum, as they were supposed to be spreading fear amongst the world, not breaking machines in the middle of nowhere. Absorbing Man, who isn't fully possessed and still hates Pym more than the Serpent's mission, explains that he can't stop raging against Pym, so Titania decides to strike at Pym where it would hurt him the most, the Avengers Academy cadets. With that, Titania opens an inter-dimensional doorway to Infinite Avengers Mansion and the two villains destroy the device that powered Infinite Avengers Mansion's dimensional doors, stranding the Academy students inside. From there, they smash through the wall of the Mansion and attack Reptil, Striker and Finesse. Reptil manages to distract the villains, giving his teammates the chance to run, before he shrinks down to the size of a bug, leading the villains to believe he ran off. The other students, Veil, Mettle and Hazmat try to reach any Avengers through the communications room, but are met by static and dead air. When they turn around, they are confronted by Titania and Absorbing Man. Hazmat tries to blast them, but finds her powers ineffective against two of the Serpent's Worthy. Titania responds with a blast of her own, which obliterates the communications room and most of the rooms around it, ending this issue.
Thoughts: This was a good issue of this series, as usual. It continued advancing the Fear Itself story, with Absorbing Man and Titania attacking the students at their home base, while further developing the characters. I didn't mention in the review the scenes where all of the kids were trying to cope with the stuff they saw in DC, but that just added to what makes this series so great. I actually care about these characters, all of them, which is a VERY rare thing for me. If I had a complaint, it would be that this issue was pretty much setting up the events of next issue. Titania and Absorbing Man only arrived at Infinite Avengers Mansion towards the end of this comic, which is when the action picked up. But the character development prior to that made up for the late action, and has me eagerly anticipating what happens next issue(which comes out in two short weeks!)
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.And that is a VERY bad sign.
Summary: Much like the past couple of issues, this issue is split into two stories, one detailing a member of the Red Right Hand and why they hated Wolvie, with the second part detailing Wolvie's methodical march through the base of the RRH. The first part is simple enough, once upon a time there was a girl who was raised by the Hand. Wolverine killed her father, her brothers, and eventually killed her as well. The girl, now a woman, was resurrected(as the Hand tends to do), and was ready to get a second chance to fight Wolvie. However, the leader of this sect of the Hand didn't need her as a warrior, since so many of that Hand sect's warriors had fallen to Wolvie, but as a source of children. Not wanting to live the life of a baby-making machine, the woman set out to find Wolvie, but instead found the old man who was organizing the RRH. The old man promised the woman revenge on Wolvie, provided she helped train a few down and out type people to fight Wolvie. The woman explains that Wolvie would simply tear through them, which the old man explains is the plan... Back in the present, Wolvie has cut through all who opposed him in the RRH's base(as it turns out, the people the woman trained), leaving only one gun-toting man standing between Wolvie and the door holding all of the RRH members. Wolvie runs through the bullets and guts the man, who tells Wolvie that there was nothing left for him to fight, and that all that was left was the RRH members themselves. Wolvie prepares to enter the door when the dying man tells him that the plan was never to kill Wolvie, but instead to make him hurt, and that a whole world of hurt was waiting for Wolvie behind the final door. Wolvie asks the dying man if he knew him from somewhere and the man simply tells Wolvie that he doesn't know him at all, before dying. With that, Wolvie opens the doors to the inner sanctum and walks in, ending this issue.
Thoughts: I've read a lot of Wolverine comics in my day. I have Wolverine #50(that would be from the series from the 1990's) all the way through the current issue in singles and have a few spotty issues before #50, as well as a few trades. Add the multitude of X-Men comics and mini-series starring Wolvie, and yeah, I've read a ton of Wolvie comics. Thinking back on all of them, this current storyline is among my all time favorite Wolverine storylines, especially if it goes the way I'm hoping it does with next issue's conclusion... But I'm getting ahead of myself... This issue was extremely good, and furthered the story of the Red Right Hand as a group of people who Wolverine had wronged. Granted, the woman from this issue was a member of the Hand, which makes it harder to find sympathy for her, as I was able to do for many of the RRH members who were spotlighted prior to this issue, but still, Wolvie killed her father, her brothers, and then her. So yeah, I can fully understand where her hatred comes from. As for the story set in the present, with Wolvie advancing towards the RRH's sanctum, I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it was only a few brief pages. The dying words of the gunman struck a chord with me, as it was another example of Wolvie killing some random, faceless “villain” that he didn't know personally. But that's the part of this story I'm loving... All of the people Wolvie has killed through his LONG life AREN'T faceless... They're somebody's father, brother, sister, whatever. That's what makes the RRH so intriguing to me. These are regular people who have had their lives turned inside-out by Wolverine for some reason or another. They've lost a loved one to Wolvie's savagery, and have banded together to hurt Wolverine. I guess we'll learn the answer to that question next issue, just how do they plan on REALLY hurting Wolverine. Obviously it can't be through physical means, since Wolvie can heal from any physical wound, so what is the end game? Besides that, I'll be interested to see Wolvie's reaction when he comes face to face with the RRH members. I mean he's not staring down Sabretooth, Omega Red or Romulus, he going to be staring into the faces of a bunch of mainly older people, who have put him through hell(literally!). What exactly can he do in the face of that?
Score: 9 1/2 out of 10.There goes Wolvie, killing somebody else he doesn't know anything about...