Thursday, December 15, 2011

Avengers Academy #23

First review for tonight? The most recent issue of one of my favorite series, Avengers Academy. Unfortunately the charisma black hole known as X-23 is joining this book, but I am mildly optimistic that Christos Gage is talented enough to do what, thus far, no other writer has been able to do... Make X-23 into an interesting character that does more than grunt one word answers to everything and act all angsty all the time. Here's hoping the rest of the great characters in this series don't get pushed aside...

Avengers Academy #23:

Summary: This issue starts off introducing X-23 to the other Academy cadets. Everybody seems rather impressed, with the exception of Reptil, who is still future Reptil, but in the body of his younger self, meaning all of these events are past history to him. Reptil does reveal that he was sent back to the past for a very specific reason... To make sure a certain event comes to pass... What event is that? Well, you'll have to read on to find out. From there Reptil, since he knows how things are supposed to turn out, begins to subtly manipulate events to make sure they turn out the way they did in HIS timeline. As such, he ends up getting Striker and Lightspeed to talk, at which time we find out Striker was gay(!!?!!), as he feels comfortable telling Lightspeed who is openly bisexual. From there, Reptil steps in and plants some seeds of jealousy between Hazmat and X-23 concerning Mettle, before Reptil's moment of truth arrives. The Avengers get word that those damn idiot Purifiers were attacking a telekinetic mutant. The Academy faculty assembles and Reptil asks to join in to help, which the staff allows. From there, we head to the scene of the fight and the Avengers and Reptil make relatively quick work of the Purifiers, who surprisingly erupt in flames at the end of the battle, something the Purifiers weren't known to do. Reptil suggests to the Avengers that the Purifiers probably had suicide switches built into their costumes, which the Avengers figure was probably the most probable explanation(it's not!). From there the Avengers bring the telekinetic kid, Jimmy Marks, back to the Academy Compound to decide what to do with him. Pym is pondering keeping Jimmy with the Academy or sending him to the X-Men(presumably Wolverine's faction), but Reptil suggests they ask Jimmy himself what he wanted to do. Pym concurs with that and Jimmy choses to stay with the Academy. With that settled, Reptil offers to take Jimmy to his room and help him get settled in. Upon arriving in Jimmy's room, Jimmy changes to his true form, that of the Dire Wraith known as Hybrid(!). Hybrid, being a telepath, tells Reptil that he couldn't fully read his mind due to the magic surrounding Reptil's powers, but has deduced that Reptil was a time traveler. Reptil admits to being from the future and tells Hybrid that he'd allow Hybrid to do whatever evil, nefarious thing he wanted at the Academy, as long as he allowed certain people to live. Hybrid seems receptive to this so Reptil tells him he'll hand him a list of who couldn't be killed. From there we head to the future and find the futuristic versions of the main Academy cadets. Reptil and Finesse's daughter(!) gets into their lab and is confused as to why her father(actually the younger version of Reptil trapped in his future body) was trapped in a containment tube.

Thoughts: This was quite the interesting comic book. The funny thing is that while it was interesting, it wasn't exactly the best issue of this series that I've read lately.... Let me try to explain. A LOT of stuff happened here! I mean really, a whole lot of stuff! So much stuff that after I finished typing up the review I literally didn't know where to start or what to mention first here in the thoughts column! I guess I'll start with the biggest surprise(to me at least), Striker coming out here. I did NOT see that coming for a second! Striker is my favorite Academy cadet in this series(he has been since the start), so yeah, finding out that he was gay was quite the shocker(pun intended). The best part was that on the letters page, Christos Gage stated that Striker was always gay, and that he left several hints throughout the series, even telling us which issues to check out. Needless to say I now want to dig through my back issues to see if I'll sit back and go, "Huh." or if I'll sit back and go, "Hmm...". So kudos to Gage for planting the seeds for this as early in the series as he appeared to do, and kudos for him handling Striker's confusion about his sexuality as well as he did. The scene with Striker and Lightspeed read very well and didn't seem forced or anything. It was very awkward, as you'd expect it to be. Instead of the tried and true, "Hey, guess what? I'm gay now!" scenes that we've gotten in the past(NORTHSTAR!), or a happy couple like Wiccan and Hulkling with Wiccan's uber-accepting parents, you could see how conflicted/disturbed Striker was about the whole situation. Now the question is, since Striker is so obsessed with his image, does he tell his teammates or hide DEEP in the closet around everybody but Lightspeed? My guess is the former. But I'll definitely be interested to see where Gage goes with my favorite character in this series. On top of that, I'm curious to see how other fans of this series view this turn of events. Me? I liked it. Next, X-23. Gage did exactly what I was hoping he'd do. He brought her into the series, explained why she was here, and then didn't go about shoving her down our throats every single page(like what happened when she joined Academy X). From there we'll hit on Hybrid. While Hybrid's appearance here was kind of spoiled for me, it was still a bit of a shock. Granted, I don't know all that much about the character, but from what I did read(a back issue of X-Man) I liked the character. He was just the right mixture of uber-creepy and ultra powerful. I can see Hybrid being an awesome foe for the Academy to have to combat down the road. Finally, we get to the mystery of the future Academy members... We don't know why future Reptil has commandeered his younger self's body, expect that the timestream was in flux and that “he” had recommended that the future Academy members make sure their version of the future came to pass. We don't know who “he” is(a future version of Pym maybe?), nor why “he” feels Reptil had to go back in time to assure the “right” future happens, but apparently it has to do with Hybrid killing certain members of the Academy, while leaving others alone. So as you can see, as I stated earlier, A LOT went down in this one. This was definitely a set-up issue, but as far as set-up issues go, it was a hell of a good one.

Score: 8 out of 10.“A nut is a nut is a nut. Good riddance I say.”... God do I love Hawkeye!


  1. .. Lets see, first thing,
    Striker: It was spoiled to me like one month ago,I can't remember if this was in an interview or something, so was no surprise, but I liked how Cristos executed the scene,It was totally natural, an came in a believable way. An agree with you that he will keep it as a secret.

    "and then didn't go about shoving her down our throats every single page" LOL

    ...And then the time traveling stuff that i'm not fan, but you know, if there is character development I don't care about what is going on with the story.

    a there was something that annoys me a little. What happened with Jocasta? Her "murder" wasn't solved last issue. I guess that it will be cleared at some moment.

  2. just wanted to add a correction to your posting Nate. Hybrid is a human dire wraith hybrid hence the name Hybrid.
    if you refer to your X-Man back issue you'll see Hybrid's father was a dire wraith posing as a human in the hopes of getting away from that whole dire wraith conquer, destroy and enslave everything.
    Jimmy Marks resulted from a marriage with a human female and everything seemed cool until the other dire wraiths found the family and strong armed Hybrid's father into letting them "teach" young Jimmy what he really is and is capable of.
    Hybrid's cross species DNA grants him all sorts of natural powers such as shape shifting, vast psionic powers (telekinetic,telepathic, pyrokinetic etc.) , super human strength and even has some ability to wield wraith dark sorcery. i would really love to see a confrontation between Hybrid and Ikon-The Annihilators.

  3. "It was spoiled to me like one month ago,I can't remember if this was in an interview or something, so was no surprise, but I liked how Cristos executed the scene,It was totally natural, an came in a believable way" Ah, see, that's why I mainly try to avoid those comic news websites, Alien! Things always wind up getting spoiled on you! And agreed on the execution of the scene. It was well done because it was so awkward/uncomfortable.

    As for the Jocasta thing, Pym DID make mention of her and that he was repairing her or something, so I figure that's another storyline that we'll get taken care of sometime down the road. There are a lot of things being set up in this series, I can't wait for Gage to start getting to them.

    Thanks for the correction, Dave. You are definitely the Dire Wraith expert around these parts, so I appreciate you pointing that out for me. It definitely makes the Hybrid name make a lot more sense! I haven't read that issue of X-Man in a while, so I def forgot a few Hybrid related things. I'd also be all for an Annihilators/Hybrid meeting, because that would mean the Annihilators were still going on past the current mini-series!

  4. oh shit Nate i almost forgot to show you this. i made this obnoxious video on Youtube about all the Harley Quinn detractors. it's only about 1 minute long it'll crack you up please check it out:

  5. I don't know. I thought the talk felt a little forced and out of nowhere but if he has been hinting at it and I was oblivious then that would be pretty cool. I didn't think about it but I am curious if he will go public. He is so concerned about image I wonder what decision he will make and for what reason.

    As far as future Reptil, I really like what they are doing. Our first thought was that the evil versions are just evil, so it is nice to see that they are maybe just trying to preserve their existence. I also like that they remembered that Finesse is just like Taskmaster, so it was already warned that she would lose her memories. These comics are just well written.

  6. I thought Gage did a good job making the Striker/Lightspeed conversation uncomfortable/awkward. I will agree with you about the way it started though, Jermox, the beginning DID seem kind of forced. Striker suddenly screaming out, "I think I'm gay!" to Lightspeed seemed kind of out of character for him. With the way Striker is, I'd have expected him to pull Lightspeed aside, maybe try some half-hearted flirting, and then upon being sure she was bisexual herself, come out to her. So yeah, the start of the conversation was forced/out of the blue. But I thought the meat of it was very well done and different from what we usually get.

    I am SO glad you mentioned the thing with Finesse and her daughter, because that is something I REALLY wanted to stick in my review but couldn't find a way... That scene was fantastic! When one of the other characters told her that was her daughter, I felt awful for Finesse, but I was SO impressed at the way Gage added it, because that's exactly what Taskmaster warned Finesse could happen. And her response, which was something like, "I thought I recognized the way she moved" was wonderful and terrible all at once. It's little things like that that really tell you how great Gage is at character development. Just a little conversation like that adds SO much to Finesse's character, because you can't help but feel sorry for her.