Thursday, December 16, 2010

Avengers Academy #7

Ever so often a comic arrives and I think, "Isn't that nice - they made this one just for me!"

That's what I thought when I picked up this issue of Avengers Academy, which (as you can plainly see) features the return of Giant-Man!

Hank Pym is famous for having several different identities over the years, and my personal favorite is this one. He's been Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Dr. Pym, Yellowjacket again, and most recently, The Wasp. (Did I miss any?)

Naming himself after his "deceased" ex-wife always seemed creepy, so I'm thrilled that he's finally going back to his roots.

I suspect part of the reason has to do with the new Avengers cartoon (which is actually quite good). Giant-Man is one of the key characters, and his characterization in the cartoon is perfect. He's incredibly capable, both as a scientist and as a super-hero, and obviously in love with the Wasp, who seems to be his exact opposite - flighty, impulsive, funny, emotional - they're the classic romantic comedy couple who seem to be mismatched but are actually perfect for each other.

(It's a shame Brian Bendis, the writer of the regular Avengers comic, is so committed to the idea that the two are a doomed couple who should never have been together. It damages the potential of the couple almost as much as the execrable story where Hank lost his mind and slapped the Wasp.)

This issue focuses on Giant-Man, and is a real delight as he tackles a powerful opponent who should be out of his league - but as we see in this story by Christos Gage, when he's written intelligently, there are few foes that this hero can't handle.

The art is also outstanding, as Mike McKone teams with inkers Dave Meikis and Scott Hanna to turn in some strong artwork. He has a great sense of scale and has a lot of fun with the action sequences.

This issue is almost perfect, although it hesitates and stumbles a bit at the end, as the creative team backs away from what would have been a bold move - but I suppose they have to save something for the future issues.

With an outstanding cast of characters (both classic heroes and the young ones in training) and a strong set-up, this comic just keeps getting better.

It's not the best Avengers comic out there, but it's close to the top - and that's high praise indeed.

Grade: A-

CORRECTION: Apparently the art for this issue was actually provided by Tom Raney, not Mike McKone (which shows what I know about art) - there was an error in the credits. Sorry for the mistake!


No comments: