Back when Wolverine and the X-Men started, there was a humorous page teasing a number of events for the students. One of them was a football game between the Jean Grey School and the Avengers Academy. This issue finally brings us that game, and it’s the most entertaining comic I’ve read this week.
This issue doubles as an aftermath issue for the Final Exam story arc. Mettle and Hazmat’s relationship difficulties are touched on, while this issue also highlights how much they care for each other. X-23 is in denial that killing Jeremy Briggs while barely conscious didn’t bother her, and Finesse has to decide whether or not to admit she used X-23’s claws to kill Briggs. The staff also discusses how to move the Academy forward, considering everything the kids have accomplished. Despite all the different points touched upon, this issue doesn’t feel the least bit crowded and there’s still plenty of room for clever humour. Iceman and Hawkeye are particularly entertaining throughout the issue.
In some ways, this almost feels like a Wolverine and the X-Men issue. As much as the Academy kids are the primary focus, there’s still room for the WATXM kids to shine. Rockslide has several awesome moments, while Wolverine and Kitty Pryde each have meaningful conversations with the academy staff. Gambit has some good panel time as well. Christos Gage seems has a good grasp on all of these characters and how they might interact with each other.
For the most part, the art is great – much better than this series usually has. It’s easy to tell every character apart, even when some have similar uniforms. There’s more background detail than usual for this series, and there’s more visual storytelling as well. My only complaint is that, once again, X-23’s eyes are brown when they’re supposed to be green. It’s a minor complaint, but it’s also a common pet peeve among X-23 fans. She’s been in this series for 13 issues now (first appeared in issue 23 but didn’t appear in 27 or 28). You’d think by now someone would figure this out. Otherwise, I can’t think of any complaints about the art.
Whether you’re an Avengers Academy fan or a fan of Wolverine and the X-men, this is an easy recommendation. It’s a very entertaining issue that still finds room for character development. It’s a shame this series is ending, because this issue showcases what Christos Gage is capable of.