Avengers Academy #23
Written by Christos Gage
Art by Tom Raney, Scott Hanna, and Chris Sotomayor
The short of it:
X-23 joins the Academy and finds herself a natural fit amongst these damaged kids, where she’s not nearly as messed up by comparison as she is with the X-Kids. Meanwhile, Reptil from the future continues his mysterious mission in the past as the narrator and thinks about the things he could change, the relationships with his friends that he might be able to save, and the things he doesn’t remember. Striker has a conversation with Julie Power, based around her bi-sexuality, and thanks to Axel Alonso a few weeks ago it comes as no surprise that Striker isn’t out to talk her into doing ‘girl things’ for his viewing pleasure, but instead he wants to come out of the closet and reveals a major moment in his life. Future Reptil continues to plant seeds of doubt in his teammates brains, as well as the instructors. They go to rescue a little boy from the Purifiers, but things are not quite what they seem, and things end up with two potentially huge dangers in the Academy…and the real reason Reptil wants to save his future.
What I liked:
- Future Reptil is shockingly deep. After his debut I was expecting for him to be a pretty straightforward evil future version kind of character, so that carried over into this issue. The end shatters it to pieces when you find out just what’s so important about his alternate future that makes it worth preserving. Very humanizing moment.
- Gage is a natural at writing X-23 and I think I’m going to like seeing her here. On top of that, she winds up being a more natural fit here than even with a young team of X-Men. She has major issues, so do these kids. Maybe she and Finesse can study emotion flashcards together.
- X-23 vs Tigra to open the issue was freaking awesome, perfectly short and to the point.
- I’m not a Power Pack fan, but I always seem to love seeing Julie Power in books, and Gage is so far so good with her in this book. Her half of the talk with Striker I find to be some really good stuff, and it really is always nice in this current time of everything being labeled sexist that a bi-sexual character is being portrayed in a mature and non-cheesecakey fashion.
- The villain Gage brings in actually sparks my nostalgia for an issue of X-Man I read when I was a kid where this character showed up. To be honest, having read that issue, I was feeling deja-vu relatively soon after things were set up. He’s a classic that gets not nearly enough love.
- I can’t say enough how much I liked the last page for how simple and perfect it was.
What I didn’t like:
- Striker coming out of the closet doesn’t bother me, but at the same time it really feels shoe horned in. Julie makes the conversation into a good one, but Striker is just painful to read. I come out not caring any more or less for him than I did last issue.
- I understand that Hazmat is going to have issues in her relationship with Mettle, but she’s getting WAY too jealous WAY too fast and it seems completely unnatural.
- Reptil is acting very out of character (due to being older him) and nobody seems to notice. Hell, I can’t even tell when he was switched since I thought that older Reptil could make himself look younger at first and now I’m finding out that they body swapped.
- Can I trade White Tiger for Arana-Girl? She’s a complete after thought in this issue, and really, once we get the actual Reptil back the character would benefit from the relationship that has been hinted at between the two far more than from White Tiger telling him he isn’t latin enough.
The best Avengers title just keeps getting better.
I’m an X-23 fan, and this isn’t a secret, but hey, I’m also a big fan of Avengers Academy, so really, this book is a match made in heaven for me in light of X-23’s solo book coming to an end next month. I’m not sure how long she’s going to be allowed to stay here, or given Marvel’s recent methods of handling low selling books, if this book will even be around in six months, but I’m going to enjoy every last issue of it.
Gage managed to get more mileage out of the alternate future self with Reptil than I would have expected, and his method is to try something original. He’s not back in time to change everything, he’s trying to keep things as they are in a fluid timeline. And then while you think it might be for some sinister reason, and while really, it still very much could be, when you find out at the end what his real motivation is? I almost wanted to root for his success.
Finesse is slowly turning into one of the deeper characters in this book despite the fact that, by nature, she’s completely hollow when it comes to having any sort of emotion or personality not defined solely by logic. She’s also one of my favorite characters in the book, and I really hope we get more focus on her soon.
Hazmat and Mettle…I actually do like them together, but this issue was just painful. The drama between the two felt incredibly manufactured, and while I guess if you’re trying to have someone splinter the team it has to be done, Hazmat being tricked after one sentence into thinking Mettle wanted to leave her for a girl he just met makes her feel…well, dumber.
Really, this was just another great issue of a great book that not nearly enough people are reading. It’s also the only Avengers title on my buy list until Remender takes over Secret Avengers.
Tags: Avengers, avengers academy, Christos Gage, Reviews, tom raney, X-23