Tuesday, August 23, 2011

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Avengers Academy #13 (Review)

Written by Christos Gage
Art by Sean Chen & Scott Hanna
Cover by Billy Tan & Leonardo Olea

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

Picking the Top of the Stack for the first week of May was helped with a slightly lighter stack, only 11 comic books made it into my reading list that week. DC had very little presence with most of the comics being from Marvel or BOOM! Studios.

The main contenders that just fell short was BOOM!'s CHIP N' DALE'S RESCUE RANGERS #6 and AVENGERS ACADEMY GIANT-SIZE #1, the latter being an especially welcome change of pace for the characters in that book but it was not to be because AVENGERS ACADEMY #13 also came out and was even better.

Writer Christos Gage is joined by artists Sean Chen and Scott Hanna for an issue that breaks away from the questions of whether the academy kids will learn to be heroes or choose to be villains and focuses on the fact that they are all teenagers dealing with their place in life and trying to learn to accept who they are. A school dance story was the perfect way to embrace these aspects of the characters.

For this story the Avengers Academy is hosting a dance so that their students can mingle with other young superheroes from around the Marvel Universe. There is little action in the issue but the best parts deal with the social ramifications due to the dance and the relationships made around it. Reptil getting trapped in the bickering between Komodo and Hardball from the original Avengers Initiative, Hanky Pym and Tigra finally taking a step a Skrull had enjoyed instead, Starfire getting her frustration out on Justice, Mettle and Hazmat starting to bond, Veil getting through to Striker and Spider-Girl helping Reptil realize it was okay to be his teenage self.

The art for AVENGERS ACADEMY has always been consistently solid and this issue is no different. Outside of one panel, all of the characters looked good and there were no awkward moments that disrupted the flow of the story. Maybe even better was that the characters that were not even regulars of the book were easily recognizable and true to their designs.

I will admit there are aspects of this series that I am not too fond of, but I have stuck around with it because I am enjoying the choice of Avengers teachers and the possibilities around the young cast of students with the relationships that can be produced as proven in this issue. Issues that deal with less action-related things like a school dance are probably few and far between but I will hold out hope that the series will have more gems like this one that focus less on the blurred lines of these young kids when it comes to being a hero.

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