Tuesday, February 21, 2012

5 Reasons: Why you should read Avengers Academy

Hey X-Maniacs, this is JT bringing a feature to X's blog that was pretty popular over at my own blog, 5 Reasons. The premise of a 5 Reasons post is basically when I read a comic series that I enjoy so much, I list five reasons for anyone who isn't reading the series or is on the fence about checking it out that should hopefully sway them towards picking up a few issues. Previous 5 Reasons posts were about great series like Y The Last Man, Invincible, and Morning Glories. And as of 4:30 AM today, I'm all caught up on Avengers Academy, so I now present to you, 5 Reasons: Why you should read Avengers Academy.

1.) The Story - The idea for this comic alone is pretty genius. The plot features a six teenagers, all super-powered in their own ways, who were recruited by Norman Osborn while he was in power. He tortured most of the kids in order to jump start their super-powers because he intended to create his own team of super villains. When Osborn is taken down, these teens become the inagural team of the Avengers Academy. While the team is being trained as heroes and told they have the most potential, we soon find out that this team may actually have the most potential to do bad instead of good, so the Avengers are trying to lead them down the right path. Add that in with the whole gimmick of super powered teens with attitude and you've got a hell of a plot. I've often heard this book, and described this book as Morning Glories mixed with The Runaways. (I know this came out before Morning Glories, but let me have this!)

2.) The Cast - The six teens are pretty much made from scratch, which is great because they can be used in any way, and we don't know a ton about their past so there's always more to learn. The team features Reptil, a young man that idolizes heroes and has always wanted to be an Avenger, his powers include being able to transform his body into pretty much any type of dinosaur. We also have a former, lonely nerdy girl named Veil, who can turn into different types of gaseous forms, Mettle, a very mellow surfer dude that now has skin not unlike the mutant Colossus, but Mettle is always stuck in his current form, Finesse, a photogenic fighter that can learn any fighting style by sight but has trouble understanding emotions and other human quirks, Hazmat, a former average girl with an average life that is now confined to a suit since she's now a living radiation bomb, and Striker, a guy that wants to get famous by any means possible, even if it means using his powers of electricity to shock the world every step of the way. Normally that cast would be enough, but when you add in the faculty of Avengers Academy, Hank Pym, Tigra, Justice, Quicksilver and Speedball, formerly known as Penance, you have a hell of a cast that delivers one great issue after another.

3.) The Guest Stars - If you thought the cast was amazing, you're going to love the guest stars that pop in from time to time to help train the Avengers Academy. So far we've seen everyone from Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, Captain America, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, The Juggernaut, and we've even seen the Academy students pop up in a two-issue arc of Amazing Spider-Man. As of the time of writing, there's even an upcoming fight between The Avengers Academy and The Runaways, which I personally can't wait for.

4.) It's Hilarious - This is probably the funniest book that doesn't have Spider-Man that I've ever read. Don't get me wrong, it's not always humor but when the humor is there, It is dead on! You can bet, pretty much any time you see Hazmat, Striker, Quicksilver or Finesse you're going to get at least one line that will make you laugh out loud. Where else can you get a kid literally confronting Hank Pym about slapping his wife around? Where else can you see Emma Frost compliment Tigra on her outfit and say it's perfectly acceptable attire for a teacher? This book has a lot of moments that will shock you, surprise you, and may even make you sad, but it also has quite a few moments you'll enjoy, even if it's something as simple as breaking the first wall and mentioning that Reptil is on a cartoon. Now I just gotta cross my fingers and hope somehow Deadpool becomes a substitute teacher one day.

5.) Christos Gage - Prior to reading Avengers Academy, I don't think I'd ever heard of Christos Gage, and upon further search I've confirmed I had not, which is amazing that as of this moment, he's one of my top five comicbook writers. After only twenty-eight issues (25, a .1 and two issues of ASM) he's already one of my favorite writers, along with people like Judd Winick, whom I've read for years. Gage has a special talent of making you connect with his characters, he makes each of the students relatable in their own way, he makes the faculty show concern for these kids that they want to succeed. He makes me care about how much Hank Pym cares about his wife, how much he hates his past mistakes, and I'm someone who didn't know much about characters like Pym, Tigra, Quicksilver and Justice before reading this book. What I'm trying to get across is that this man is an amazing writer, and not because he strings you along wondering what's next, he gives you answers, he puts little things in to make you think about and even if they aren't mentioned for ten issues, he seems to tie in everything. He handles a scene with Striker and a female cast member, that I won't mention because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet, so well that it has that uncomfortable moment that would come from witnessing it in person, yet the dialogue all seems real. There's countless scenes I can mention where he does the same thing, but my words aren't nearly as strong as his, so all I'll say is this, Christos Gage has IT. What Geoff Johns had during Blackest Night, what Judd had during Under the Hood, what Spencer brings to Morning Glories, what Brian K. Vaughn brought to Y the Last Man, and what Bryan Q. Miller brought to Batgirl, Christos Gage is one of THE best writers right now in my opinion, all from reading what he's done solely in this book.

And there you are, five reasons that I feel you should read Avengers Academy. I hope you enjoyed it and feel free to list your own reasons that you think people should pick up Avengers Academy in the comments. Until next time, this is Jason Todd, signing off.


  1. YEEEEEAAAAAHHHH!!!!! Awesome post, JT! I've said it dozens of times by this point, but Avengers Academy is my FAVORITE comic series and Christos Gage is my FAVORITE comic writer. He's so good I actively go out looking for stuff he's writing and buy it. Needless to say, I agree with every last thing you said in this post. Not only does Gage nail the story and dialogue like 99% of the time, this comic is SO accessible to non-Avengers fans(like JT) and long-time Avengers fans (like myself)alike. Seriously, you don't have to know much of anything about the Avengers, and you can still get into this series. Or if you do know a ton of Avengers lore, you're rewarded by the scenes between the faculty when they say little things as a tip of the cap to their pasts. I'm dead serious when I say THIS is the comic book I would recommend to ANYBODY who wants to read a great comic book. And I'll be linking the HELL out of this post!

  2. Thanks X, glad you enjoyed the post considering what a big fan of the Avengers Academy you are. I'm still grateful you and Alien talked me into checking out Avengers Academy because it's in that special group of books that I enjoyed from the beginning up until now, much like Venom, Batgirl by Miller, and ect.

    Yep, that's another thing that I enjoyed, he made Pym, Tigra and everyone else so accessible. The only thing I knew about the faculty coming into this was Hank beat his wife, Quicksilver was Magneto's son, and Speedball's past as Penance and the start of the Civil War, hell I didn't even know the Wasp was dead, so learn so much info and not be overloaded so quickly shows how well it was written.

  3. And I'm happy you'll be picking up Academy now! That's another copy sold! The more people know about this series, the more issues that'll get sold, and the longer it'll last!

    That's why I was hopeful that you would like it. You don't need to know a whole load about the Avengers, Gage does a great job of slowly feeding you information from the Avengers past. Yes it's still connected to the Avengers and their storied history, but it's not impossible to get into, which is a huge plus.

  4. Exactly, I can;t wait to pick it up tomorrow, hell here's hoping it keeps going. Is it still a twice a month book? I saw on the letters page that some people were complaining.

    Exactly, you learn a nice amount but it's not overwhelming, and it comes up organically. It's not just like "You know Hawkeye was a criminal!!!!" It's more like "Yes, Hawkeye was a criminal but he changed his ways, so can you kids." So it comes up organically.

  5. Yup, this series does tend to come out two times a month, but this is one of the few times I won't complain because a) this series rules, b) it's a $3 book NOT a $4 book, and c) this series rules!

    Bingo. Perfectly put. It's not like Hawkeye introduced himself as "Former criminal turned Avenger" or something similar, his past is there, but it's not shoved in your face. There's a lot of subtle little things like that in this series.

  6. Awesome, I agree with A and B, but I ESPECIALLY agree with C.

    Yep, just like the stuff with Pym and Tigra, they mention the relationship, their problems, their past and etc., and they discuss what they both think worked and didn't so when they hooked up it was genuine, It didn't seem forced or anything.

  7. I may start readings this now. I cant add it to a pull or buy the trades because of money reasons, but i can definitely rent them from the library. I will let you know ifI end up reading them or not. If I do I may end up dropping and adding once im all caught up!

  8. Even this old DD fanatic concedes that Avengers Academy is Marvel's best book on the racks at the moment. Gorgeous writing from Christos Gage.

  9. Cool, I've been recommending this series to anybody who'll listen to me, Cap. If I could only recommend one comic out of all the books I read, it would definitely recommend this series.

    Totally agreed there, Robert!

  10. Thanks guys, here's hoping you do get a chance to check it out and you enjoy it Cap. I had barely any interest going into it and you see how that worked out for me.

  11. I can agree full heartingly with this, JT. My favorites are Hazmat, Reptil, Mettle and Finesse. I'm sort of iffy with the other first class and I haven't gotten a chance to know the other characters yet.

  12. Thanks Dejay, I appreciate the comment. My favorites from the first class are Mettle (I relate with him the most), Reptil, Finesse and I really enjoyed Veil up until her departure. I REALLY like Hazmat after the last issue though. Of the new class, I'm enjoying White Tiger, Juston and X-23.