Yet another Avengers vs. X-Men tie in. Unlike the others however, this issue easily stands on its own and can be appreciated even if you haven’t been reading the event. All of the X kids on Cyclops’s side are sent to the Academy to keep them out of the fight. You could call it protective services, although some of the X kids, and even readers, see it as prison. Whatever you call it, the X-kids are told to stay at the Academy until the war is over. Can they get along?
This issue is really good from start to finish. While there isn’t much plot here, there are plenty of great character moments. Rather than fighting, Hercules suggests that the two sides hold mock Olympics to constructively work out any differences there might be. Lightspeed and Transonic race, Loa uses her abilities to let Mettle surf on the land – brilliant scene. For the most part, everyone gets along. Not all the X-Men kids want to participate though – Velocidad and Surge are outspoken in how they hate being at the Academy.
X-23, having experience with the X-Men and the Avengers, is the central character in this issue. Her interactions with Wolverine and Dust highlight how far she’s come as a character since leaving the X-Men, and her scene with Finesse shows how similar these two characters are and how they could make a very neat duo in the future. It could be debated that her line about not understanding the word “friend” is questionable, considering she called Gambit a friend in X-23 13. However, just because she knows that Gambit is a friend, doesn’t mean she fully understands the concept yet. The only legitimate complaint about X-23 in this issue is that her eyes are the wrong colour again – they’re supposed to be green. This doesn’t bother me so much, but it is a pet peeve with many of her fans.
In fact, the artwork is easily the weakest aspect of this issue. It’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not good either. While most of the characters look decent enough, half of the background shots are boring or non-existent. I’d argue it’s better than Avengers vs. X-Men 3 though, considering this is a much smaller title.
The last page in this comic is a brilliant homage to a famous X-Men storyline both visually and in context. I won’t spoil who or what, but the lead up to the homage was great as well. In fact, it’s easily the best reference to the Dark Phoenix event yet, even though the entire event is supposed to tie to the phoenix force. Everything you need to know is on the recap page, and this issue is an easy recommendation for any regular reader of this series, or fans of either X-23’s cancelled series or Generation Hope. Also, the first few pages are hilarious.
I’ve been reading this series on and off for months now. While I enjoyed the Hard Labor storyline, the last storyline, Multiple Man warping through different realities after he was killed, felt little weird to me. This issue makes me want to catch up on the entire series.
This is the second issue in a storyline where a powerful villain is killing wannabe superheroes in Seattle. A video tape of a documentary for one of these wannabes is given to X-Factor. The page where they watch the video tape is the funniest thing I’ve read in weeks.
There’s a lot of good humour in this issue, yet there’s enough serious moments to move the plot forward. It also establishes what could be a great mystery and it has some good action. There’s a minor fight for leadership between Havok and Multiple Man. There’s actually a lot that happened in this issue yet it doesn’t feel the least bit rushed or crowded.
The artwork is fairly good. While the characters and environments are simple in design, each character is recognizable – that’s saying a lot for a book with such a big cast when half of them aren’t in their usual uniform. It also makes great use of foreground.
Because I haven’t been reading this series regularly, I’m not sure what else to say. It’s a book about a team of mutant detectives and this issue is a very easy recommendation. Everything you need to know is in the recap pages, as usual with Marvel comics.