Thursday, July 21, 2011

Avengers Academy #16 & Fear Itself: FF #1

Two more Fear Itself comics to sift through today, which should come as no big surprise, since like half of the zillion comics I picked up this week are Fear Itself tie-ins. Today it's my favorite Avengers title, Avengers Academy, and the Fear Itself: FF one-shot, which COULD be great depending on what happens in it...

Avengers Academy #16(Fear Itself tie-in):

Summary: This is another issue that has two stories going on in it(man, most of my comics lately are like that...), so as usual, I'll tackle one story before touching upon the other. We get started in Dubai, where Giant Man(Hank “Awesome” Pym), Quicksilver and Justice are trying to keep the Serpent possessed Absorbing Man and Titania from destroying Dubai. After an extended battle that sees Justice and Quicksilver fall to Titania, Giant Man manages to trick the Absorbing Man and Titania into entering a huge dimensional doorway, taking them away, even though he knew that they'd eventually be back. Before he could do what he wanted, which was to be at the side of his students, Pym winds up collapsing due to exhaustion. Back in Washington DC, the Avengers Academy kids(and Tigra) are responsible for evacuating as many civilians as they can. Veil spots a little girl standing near a partially collapsed building and rushes over to get the girl to safety. However, the girl tells Veil that her mother was trapped in the building, and not knowing what to say to the girl, Veil heads into the building to look around. As luck would have it, Veil finds the badly injured woman and manages to help her escape from the building. Back on the street, the woman rushes over to embrace her daughter when she is gunned down by one of those Nazi war machines, dying at her daughter's feet. Absolutely stunned by what she had just witnessed, Veil transforms into a toxic gas, slips into the cockpit of the Nazi war machine and murders the driver. Veil returns to the little girl, who is kneeling in front of her mother's corpse, and can't find any words to say to the shocked child. A paramedic rushes over and Veil tells the paramedic to take the girl to safety before collapsing near the dead woman, mouthing that she was sorry to the child.

Thoughts: Woooo, Christos Gage is easily one of the best writers in comics today! Seriously, if you see his name on a comic, pick it up, because it WON'T disappoint! The work he's doing in this series during the Fear Itself issues is truly remarkable. Yes, we're getting appearances by the Worthy, which is something I feel all Fear Itself tie-ins SHOULD have, but he's also taking the opportunity of the war itself to further develop the Academy kids... I hate to beat a dead horse, but that's the difference between this comic and Generation Hope, which features lead characters of around the same age... Comparing this series to Gen Hope is like comparing Shakespeare to a coloring book... Anyway, I know I'll be looking forward to the next issue of what is, in my humble opinion, the best Fear Itself tie-in besides Invincible Iron Man that Marvel is producing.

Score: 9 out of 10.Damned Nazi BASTARDS!!!

Fear Itself: FF #1:

Summary: This issue gets started with the Serpent possessed Thing rampaging through New York City before being confronted by the Invisible Woman and Mr. Fantastic(FINALLY!!!). Naturally the two try to talk sense into Thing, but he doesn't want to hear it, so Mr. Fantastic tries to slow Thing's progress, which proves to be a bad move, since Thing simply grabs Reed and knocks him out. Sue tries to attack now, but is unable to halt Thing's attack, until she shoves one of her forcefields down his throat to suffocate him. Some sort of explosion strikes Reed, which distracts Sue long enough for Thing to break free of her hold. Thing tells Sue to deal with Reed's injuries while he went about spreading fear. From there Dragon Man tries to attack Thing, but is dispatched with relative ease. Thing goes to kill Dragon Man, when he is next confronted by Alicia Masters, who heard about what was happening on the TV and ran out to try to talk sense into Thing. For a moment it looks like Alicia is getting through to Thing, until he grabs her by the neck and tosses her into a nearby light post. From there, Thing walks over to deliver the killing blow, but is stopped by one of Sue's forcefields. Sue begs Thing to allow her to assist the injured Alicia, and Thing lets her, since the two women couldn't spread fear if they were dead. Sue manages to resuscitate the very injured Alicia, and this issue ends with the Thing continuing his path of destruction.

Thoughts: Now THIS was a very good Fear Itself one-shot! It had everything you'd want, Reed and Sue trying desperately to save Ben from whatever outside force had taken him over, a battle with Dragon Man, and Ben's one real true love, Alicia, trying to talk sense into him. If I had a complaint about this issue, it would be that Ben didn't kill anybody important, as macabre as that may sound... I mean if you REALLY want to establish how evil Ben was now, have him kill Alicia! That action would have ramifications that Ben would NEVER recover from, leading to some pretty awesome stories down the road. Sure, after Fear Itself ends, Ben will have to come to terms with all of the people he killed while possessed, but imagine what he'd suffer if he'd killed Alicia... I mean it's not like she's doing anything anyway... Besides that though, this was a very well written story, so props to Cullen Bunn on a job very well done.

Score: 9 out of 10.Wow, those little mouths on Ben are quite annoying...


  1. I was originally going to pass on the Fear Itself:FF tie-in because I thought it was a mini-series, but after reading your review I knew I had to give it a chance! Thanks X!

    I completely agree with everything you said, and I was genuinely shocked when Ben tried to clobber Alicia. As bad as it sounds, I too was hoping she would have been at least maimed. But I don't know if the Thing needs any more reasons to brood these days.

    The only flaw I really saw in the FF one-shot was that some of Reed and Sue's interactions seemed so rigid. It was very exposition-laden, meant for casual readers I suppose.

  2. Holy shit.... I just read this issue of AA and my jaw dropped. I couldn't BELIEVE they killed that woman after all of that work getting her back to her daughter. Holy shit... that blew my mind. I'm not even gonna lie, my eyes watered a bit when I read that... man.. that was powerful stuff.

  3. Dude, right?!? This issue and the one before it, when the kids are first dropped off in Washington was just flat out amazing. Shit, how didn't I give this issue a perfect score... Weird... The fact that the woman here died, and then Veil's immediate reaction(killing the Nazi) and THEN her reaction afterwards(with that poor little girl) were all just amazing. Seriously, the Fear Itself issues where the kids are in Washington are about as good as anything you'll read in any comic book, period, the end. I sincerely believe that. It was probably these two issues(15 & 16) that took this from being a REALLY good series to be the best series I read.

  4. Exactly, her killing that Nazi was totally justified in my book because that little girl had lost her mom, got her back, then gotten her taken away before they could even embrace, man that was a great scene, just like the one in the prior issue with Mettle and Tigra. Mettle really reminds me of myself so that scene was interesting.

  5. Exactly! It was a total knee-jerk reaction. I mean how couldn't Veil have been in TOTAL shock, and then simply respond by lashing out. It was PERFECTLY written. PERFECTLY!

    And that scene with Tigra and Mettle RULED! Not only did Gage write Mettle wonderfully, but he nailed Tigra as well. I mean not only do you feel terrible for Mettle, who was wracked with guilt, but Tigra felt awful because she had to continue pushing these kids who obviously weren't ready for the shitstorm they'd been thrust into. Definitely awesome. So then Mettle is your favorite character then?

  6. Yeah, I'd say Mettle is my favorite of the students, only because I relate to him the most. But holy shit I read all the other issues and caught up, so we gotta talk about these things.

    Future Finesse not recognizing her daughter then saying she thought her movements seemed familiar, dude, that broke my freaking heart. Striker being gay was a HUGE surprise but made SO much sense, and I saw at the end how Christos had set that up for a while.

    The stuff with the new teammates could be interesting, as well as the future version of the AA popping up. I really cant wait to see what happens with the Avengers/X-Man crossover but I'm especially stoked for the Runaways popping up. And dude... the issue with Magneto was FANTASTIC. I loved everything with him, Finesse and Quicksilver (who is my favorite faculty member, but that could change since Hawkeye is involved) and the funny lines with Emma to Tigra and about Magneto's gray hair.

    Speaking of Hawkeye, I recommend you grab Avenging Spider-Man #4, it's a one-shot type story with him and Spidey but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  7. The thing with Future Finesse WAS so well written... I felt terrible for her, and it also hearkened back to that conversation Finesse had with Taskmaster, where he told her he basically only knew people by their movements. It's little stuff like that that makes this series rule so hard.

    And I was totally surprised by Striker being gay(my favorite character fyi). I didn't see it coming AT ALL, but when it did, and after reading the letters page where Gage gave the scenes where he set it up I was like, "Shit, it was RIGHT THERE the whole time!" That man is a genius!

    You and me both! The Runaways issues should be awesome, and you don't know how badly I want the whole team, or at least one or two Runaways staying with the Academy... I mean look at Victor for instance. In a weird, warped sort of way, Pym is his grandfather! Pym created Ultron, Ultron created Victor. So the Victor/Pym meeting SHOULD be 17 different flavors of awesome. Oh man, the Quicksilver/Mags stuff was AWESOME too! Gage had their relationship DOWN! Gage actually seems to REALLY know his Marvel history, and does a great job of mixing things in without making you feel lost or confused(like Morrison with Batman). And I'm pretty high on all the faculty members! I want to say Quicksilver was my favorite(pre-Hawkeye of course), but Pym has been great, and Gage writes a better Tigra than anybody else, ever! And I've read A LOT of Tigra issues(in West Coast Avengers), and was never a fan of hers until THIS series!

    Ugh... Sadly, that issue wasn't in my shop last week... :/ I was planning on picking it up, but my shop didn't have any rack copies left... :/

  8. Exactly! When he mentioned that I wondered if we'd ever see that happen, so to see it brought back there was awesome, but at the same time it was sad as hell knowing she had to go through that, as well as her daughter.

    Exactly! He had it there all along, kind of like Kirkman in Invincible but this was even more subtle. I remember reading it and wondering why Striker would turn down Veil, but it made sense. So much sense.

    Oh man, I'm so hype for that Victor thing now, for him to meet Pym or Jocasta will be interesting. And for Reptil to see a live dinosaur may be interesting. Also, notice how both blondes on the teams are lesbians? I really want some of the characters to join the team, hopefully Sister Grimm since she's one of my favorites.

    I love Gage's work so much I kinda wanna see what he could do over at DC or with some of the other Marvel characters, thats why I like seeing people pop up like The X-Men and Spidey. Man, give him a Runaways ongoing!

    Hopefully they have it this time buddy, I really enjoyed that story and it showed a great side of Hawkeye, and he came off as a dick a bit in a funny way. Reminded me of you.

  9. Yeah, Gage even made TASKMASTER into a more rounded character! I mean he went from being a villain/trainer/merc, to somebody that I actually felt bad for after reading that issue. Even to this day, when I see Taskmaster pop up, I feel kind of bad for the guy. Oh, and just so ya know, he pops up in the Initiative book about halfway through as a reoccurring character. Just sayin'. :P

    EXACTLY!(now I'm saying it...) In Invincible I wasn't THAT surprised because the hints were kind of brazen. But here I never saw it coming. And the scene where Striker told Lightspeed was great because it was so awkward and uncomfortable. As it should have been. There's something else Gage nailed perfectly!

    I didn't even think about the Reptil/Old Lace thing... I wonder if Reptil will have some sort of empathic link to Old Lace or something... That should be very interesting.

    Well, he's not an artist, so I doubt DC would want him writing for them... :P But I'm ALL for him getting some more Marvel books. He was just given X-Men Legacy, but he def deserves at least another ongoing.

    That's the great thing about Hawkeye... He IS kind of a dick! It's a part of his charm. Like me!

  10. I'm gonna buy it, ya ass, stop trying to sell me on it! :P Maybe you should've been a car salesman instead. Lol, but I agree man, Taskmaster's appearance was great, U guess it's all but confirmed that Finesse is his daughter.

    That;s what I was trying to mention in my post too, because it seemed so awkward which made it seem SO real. But you also got the vibe that he was getting SO much off his chest, I think he's wanted to mention this to Veil before but hasn't in hindsight.

    Same thing I was thinking, that has a lot of potential. Seeing the splash hype pic it's funny how similar the two teams really are... Dino members, Asian women, blonde Lesbians, powerhouses, Electrical powers...

    Lmao, that artist line cracked me up. I want him to somehow have the AA meet up with Deadpool.

    I couldn't agree more X, I couldn't agree more.