Review: Avengers Academy #12

The At-Risk Avengers-in-Training have some harsh truths revealed about their futures.  How will it affect their present?

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Avengers Academy 12

Christos Gage's Avengers Academy has been a very interesting read, and the latest issue is no exception.   It has a different take than most 'young superhero' books in that its protagonists are barely heroes.  Instead, they are hard-luck superhumans that were plucked from their lives and mercilessly abused by Norman Osborn during his Dark Reign, and the Avengers have taken an interest in them not because they showed the most aptitude, but rather because they're the most at risk of becoming supervillains.  With that as a starting point, you've got automatic 'will they or won't they' tension to build on, and as half the kids on the team grown ever more desperate for some way to cure or control their conditions, that suspense continues to grow and grow.

With Avengers Academy #12, things get worse for most of the team, as they're forced to extreme measures to deal with the return of the cosmically selfish villain Korvac,  To fight that threat, Korvac's estranged wife Carina manipulates the time stream and puts these young trainees into the bodies of their adult selves, so they have instinctive experience with their abilities enough to actually be of use in a fight.  The downside is that while Finesse and Reptil love what they can do, Mettle and Hazmat discover they're more than likely doomed to a future as freakshows, and Veil, the nicest one of the bunch, gains a newfound understanding of just why supervillains get so damn power-hungry all the time when she manages to essentially fix her own problem of dissolving by tapping into Korvac's power.

Then there's Striker.  The cocky celebutante.  The guy's really only there to become famous, and he conspired with his publicity-whore mother to stage a supervillain fight to expose the Avengers Academy to the public to hasten the achievement of that goal.  This time, the game he's been playing comes to a head as he learns first hand how high the stakes are, and pays the ultimate price… for a moment.  Long enough for his selfish nature to kick in.  He's the kind of guy you really want to see get his ass kicked, and it seems so obvious that he's going to be the first one to go bad-egg on the rest of them that it feels like a red herring.  He's so clearly a jerk that even his adult future self has an evil-twin style black beard.  It can't be that easy.

Then again, we've also got Hazmat and Mettle losing a lot of ground.  While the big Hawaiian seems to pick up a death wish once he realizes that the odds are in favor of him being stuck looking like the Red Skull for the rest of his life, the poisonous girl might be a bigger issue.  Not only does she learn she'll be stuck in her containment suit well into her adulthood, which is devastating fuel to her brimming fire of anger, but she also knows she'll learn how to manipulate anti-matter.  Striker might be a selfish prick, but Hazmat may have the power and nihilistic motive to destroy the world

All these confused, angry, capricious, messed-up teens together in one pressure cooker, combined with Tom Raney's mostly solid art, make Avengers Academy into one of those books you can't wait to read to find out what happens.  Plus, they keep teasing a potential return of Janet Van Dyne, and you gotta be able to get behind that.