Avengers Academy has achieved what should have been impossible. It lasted 40 issues, even though it starred five completely original teenage characters ( Reptil was created for the Super Hero Squad TV show, but this was his first comic appearance as far as I know). It’s a series about superpowered teenagers who are just as likely to become villains as they are to become heroes. It’s been great, and this was the perfect way to end it.
Each of the five teenage characters has their moment in the spotlight, closing any remaining plot threads. These moments range from happy endings to dealing with the consequences of their actions, and they’re all very well written. The highlight of the issue is Finesse shedding a tear after realizing her actions have pushed away all her friends. Even though there’s plenty of closure, Christos Gage makes it perfectly clear that there’s still plenty of story left to tell for all of these characters. Hopefully the ones who survive the Arena will get that opportunity.
While White Tiger and Lightspeed don’t have quite as much panel time, they still get a satisfactory ending that screams of their future potential.
The series ends the same way it began, with Veil in high school. The first issue began with her suffering humiliation from bullies, while here she humiliates the bullies. It’s a fun scene, and the perfect bookend for the series.
For the most part, the art is good. Facial expressions are done very well here, especially Finesse’s subtle expressions as she struggles to hold her pain in. Lighting effects are also well done. On the down side, there are a few inconsistencies. While talking to Striker, Veil spontaneously spawns an earring in one panel while she doesn’t have any during the rest of the scene. Also while it doesn’t bother me much, some X-23 fans will be annoyed that her eyes still aren’t green. Otherwise, I can’t think of any art related complaints.
The entire series is worth checking out. While the first few issues had too many blatant pop culture references, it’s otherwise a great introduction to these characters and the concept of the series. As the Academy goes on, you can feel the five teenagers evolve towards the heroes they become by the end (with the possible exception of Finesse). While the Fear Itself tie-ins weren’t as good as the previous issues, and the AVX tie-ins have been somewhat polarizing, they were still better than the average tie-in for both events. This series truly shines when it does its own thing though.
While the book had dark, pessimistic undertones, it still had an overly optimistic attitude, and that’s no more obvious than it is in this issue. If you’ve been reading this series for a while, you’ll definitely have to pick this issue up. If a series about troubled teenagers with superpowers interests you, you should check this series out.
Thanks Christos Gage, for not only creating these great new characters, but for writing a good X-23 and creating a series that I’ll remember fondly for a long time.
As for my thoughts on the upcoming Avengers Arena, I made an entire post about the upcoming series – my thoughts haven’t changed much since.