Or – “In My Head, Thor Talks Somewhat Like The Swedish Chef…”


Chosen by the Green Goblin for their destructive potential, the kids of Avengers Academy seem determined to live up (or is that down) to expectations.  After attacking the Hood in revenge for Brian Bendis’ writing, one of them has brought a cosmic-level menace down on their heads with a single thoughtless act.  Good thing Hank Pym has friends…

AVENGERS ACADEMY #11
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciler: Tom Raney
Inker: Scott Hanna
Cover Artist: Mike McKone
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, on Avengers Academy: For all his madness, Norman Osborn’s tenure as head of superhuman stuff proved that he is, in his way, a better futurist than Tony Stark.  Gathering a group of teenage superhumans (voted most likely to freak out and kill people at random) than torturing them to his own ends, Norm-O left the Avengers with a quandary, and half a dozen dangerous superhuman potential lunatics.  To that end, Henry Pym gathered some of his comrades (Speedball, Quicksilver, Tigra and Justice, all heroes who know the value of rehabilitation and redemption) to teach these kids how to be the heroes they could become.  By turns headstrong, rash, and thoughtless, the kids are proving to be quite the handful, especially when Veil broke into his lab and turned on the machine that Hank created to resurrect his lost wife, Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp.  Wanna bet something explodes?

“I Think I Just Got Us All Killed…”

Veil’s actions seem at first to be okay, as the form of The Wasp coalesces in Pym’s lab, but when the Kirby crackle dies down, it’s not Janet Van Dyne standing naked before them.  Quicksilver recognizes her (and gets her a jacket) before Giant-Man does, but that revelation is kind of spoilered when her mate arrives.  If you’ve never read Jim Shooter’s classic tale, “The Korvac Saga,” you need to go find a copy and read it right now.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  It’s the Internet, something will entertain me…

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you– You’re back?  Yes?  Okay, ON we go!  Her name is Carina, his name is Korvac, and all hell breaks loose in the assembled heroes faces or face-analogues.  Korvac is quite certain that this handful of ‘has-been’ and ‘never-will-be’ heroes aren’t going to be any threat to him and gets ready to blast-blast-blast, when a familiar Nordic-looking typeface rings out through the room.  “You misspeak, villain!”  Thor does his best impression of the cavalry with Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Protector (Not THAT The Protector), Doctor Strange, Ms. Marvel, Iron Fist, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Luke Cage, Steve Rogers, Mockingbird, The Thing, and the Protector close behind.  Howard The Duck apparently had a pilates class, but either way, it’s time for the fighty-fighty!

“No One’s Going To Save Me…”

I don’t know if it’s an intentional homage or not, but Gage’s story parallels the original Korvac story in that the fighty-fighty isn’t really the point of it all.  Also like the original story, Korvac’s vast power makes it a pretty lopsided battle, even though it’s seventeen to one against the winning side.  Carina, Jocasta and the Academy kids are shuffled off to a panic room while the grown-ups beat holy heck out of one another, and Carina explains what happened.  Blah blah blah brain transfer, blah blah blah memories of the Wasp thanks to Hank’s devices, blah blah blah only you can prevent forest fires stop my evil husband from killing your grown-up counterparts.  She offers to use her mighty powers to swap their minds into their grown-up, more powerful forms and allow the cadets to bust Korvac’s skull personally.  Veil worries, Veil wavers, Veil wembles, but finally they all agree to the desperate plan.  There’s an amazing sequence (both art and pacing) where Korvac drops Thor to the ground, in which you can almost hear the background music warbling all-is-lost piano, but then SPEEDBALL, of all people, manages to actually hurt Korvac.  As the last grown Avenger falls, the adult Avengers Academy members make their appearance to challenge Korvac…

The Verdict: Like A Box Of Chocolates…

This issue is kind of a mixed bag for me, in that Mike McKone is officially announced to be out, and Tom Raney in as new artist.  Raney’s facial expressions are more cartoony than McKone’s work, and it’s clear that some of the subtle bits of costumery than I liked (Veil’s mask, Finesse’ weird costume trim things) may be going away, and I was very disappointed to see that the grown-up Academites look pretty much exactly like their teenage selves, save for a goatee, some digital effects, and Mettle giving up his shirt.  Christos Gage, as always, manages to give these characters dignity and identity even though their powers, costumes and gimmicks are kind of familiar.  There’s a few good lines (Striker has a quip about Reptil getting in the cartoons that’s pretty meta) and overall, it’s a strong issue.  The visuals aren’t bad, they’re just not as good as previous issues of this same book, and the Wasp swerve wasn’t telegraphed at all (save for the appearance of Korvac in the solicits), but there are still a few minor sour notes throughout the issue.  Mostly, though, it’s what I love about teen team books (just remember the lessons that the Teen Titans, New Warriors, Young Allies and early Legion learned:  Teen heroes get slapped around, and tend to drift away once their book ends) and Avengers Academy #11 is a positive experience, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. The characters and interactions rule the day, and make for a fascinating read…

Rating: ★★★½☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Roy Harper.  Dwayne Taylor.  Donna Troy.  Namorita Prentiss.  Lyle Norg.  Robbie Baldwin.  Andrew Nolan.  Why DO the teen heroes get treated so incredibly badly in the comics world?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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7 Comments

  1. Armaan
    March 18, 2011 at 12:49 am — Reply

    Because us teens are tortured souls and we likes the company in our comic characters.

    Dammit, I’m twenty, I can’t say ‘we’ anymore.

    • March 18, 2011 at 4:41 am — Reply

      The sentiment is still right on the money, though. When you’re a teenager, even a young adult, all drama seems world-shaking, and having a character in that age bracket face a true world-shaking problem is fun to watch (when it’s done well).

      • March 18, 2011 at 10:59 am — Reply

        Twenty is still teenage. You’re “twen-teen…”

  2. Noobian74
    March 18, 2011 at 8:37 am — Reply

    I guess being a extraodinary teenager leads to extraordinary problems as you enter adulthood. Plus, you have to factor in the “One To Grow On” moments for the younger crowd.

  3. March 18, 2011 at 10:19 am — Reply

    I feel this happens because of the attitude that the only way you can make a character grow is by making it suffer. Of course, this also tends to destroy what you liked about said character in the first place. At least for me.

    • March 18, 2011 at 11:01 am — Reply

      I feel this happens because of the attitude that the only way you can make a character grow is by making it suffer.

      Now that you mention it, Marvel’s original teen hero hasn’t done all that much better, has he?

  4. Damascus
    May 3, 2011 at 8:46 am — Reply

    Well, don’t we all know or see some teenagers here and there that we’d just love to beat some sense into? It’s their know-it-all attitude and their baggy pants and Dan Fogelberg music…

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