Saturday, April 23, 2011

Avengers Academy #12

What makes the Avengers Academy series interesting is its dark underbelly.

The idea is that the Avengers set up a special training facility for six young people who have super-abilities - but the reason they've been targeted for training is because of the possibility that they might use their powers for evil purposes.

So you watch these characters develop and you wonder, which way will they go? Like the earliest version of the Thunderbolts, we're not sure how this will end up - and that makes it more fun to play along.

In this issue, they're facing an unbeatable foe. Korvac, who wields god-like powers, is looking for his wife Carina (who has similar powers). He attacks the Avengers, and the entire squad shows up to stop him - and is promptly defeated.

That leaves it up to the last line of defense - the members of the Avengers Academy. But as an added twist, Carina gives the students their adult bodies - and as a result, the team is surprisingly powerful.

But once again, there's a grim side to the realization of what the future may hold for some of the team members, and it leads to a particularly tender moment.

The art by Tom Raney and Scott Hanna is solid, and they do a good job keeping the storytelling clear while the chaotic battle rages.

The danger, of course, is that the book will become too grim - but the next issue tease promises some lighter fare. So far, writer Christos Gage has done an excellent job balancing the big action sequences with more personal moments - and he even manages some here, despite all the cosmic-scale combat going on.

A year into its run and this title continues to be an entertaining addition to the Avengers family. I'm not ready to say it's the best of the Avengers titles - but it's right up there.

Grade: A-


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