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Avengers Academy #29: Camp or Prison?

The X-kids are shunted to the AA to keep them out of the way of the big Avengers vs. X-Men smackdown.

Avengers Academy #29

So, Avengers vs. X-Men is in full swing, and as usual, it falls to the titles about teenagers to point out how ridiculous the superhero slap fights tend to be. Avengers: The Children's Crusade did a heaping helping of that, and now Avengers Academy gets its two cents in as well.

In AA #29, we open with a naked Hercules demonstrating to teenagers how the first Olympics were held, which is funny and disturbing at the same time. Then the parade is rained upon when Wolverine and Captain America show up to drop off the X-kids from Utopia on the doorstep of the Avengers Academy for safe-keeping while… well, let's let Logan explain it.

 

Avengers Academy #29

 

Adults who oughta know better. Exactly the cognitive dissonance I'm having with the whole AvX thing.

By the way, that would be Laura Kinney, aka X-23, who is getting frustrated with contradictory advice and behavior from people – and that helps her bond with the emotionally-stunted Finesse later as well, which is an interesting bit of character work that has potential to pan out. In fact, a lot of the interactions here, when Hercules and Tigra encourage athletic competitions as a healthy way to vent the tension, are fun stuff – races between Lightspeed and Transonic, and Loa helping Mettle earth-surf (although the physics on that remain a little curious). It's not until Surge and some other X-Kids pitch a fit about how the Avengers invaded their home and took them prisoner that we remember 'oh yeah, there's a big event crossover book thing going on, so kill your joy.' It's kind of a nice way to acknowledge the greater editorial mandate while bristling against it at the same time.

Or maybe I'm just reading into it because I need to have my misgivings validated. Hey, that's art. Perception.

Anyway, Christos Gage makes things compelling, as he's always great with the dynamics between all these young, often confused and frustrated characters – we saw it with the recent Runaways visit, and we'll see it here. The notion of an imprisoned Sebastian Shaw beating himself over the head with books for 8 hours just to give himself enough power to break free is a great concept. Tom Grummett's art is solid and classically styled, juggling a large cast rather adroitly.

Avengers Academy #29 is a great way to tie in with the AvX event without selling out to it. This book is all about characters we like, and if Gage can do with the X-Kids what he does with the AA crew, I may have to start looking into those X-books, too.

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