Avengers Academy doesn’t have much time left on the stands. And Christos Gage doesn’t seem to mind twisting the knife as readers prepare to bid farewell to this team. Of course, that’s really a good thing, as issue #36 is host to all sorts of great character moments. It just hurts so good.
In this issue, the fractured team begins to come together again in order to combat Jeremy Briggs’ attempt to de-power the world’s superhumans. Many Academy members are forced to make fateful choices during the course of battle. No scene is more stirring than the one between Mettle and Haz-Mat. If you thought their material in issue #35 was tear-jerking, this issue raises the bar again. But Gage also has strong material in store for characters like Reptil, White Tiger, and X-23. Many of these characters have been severely down and out since Briggs launched his attack, and it’s satisfying to see them cast aside teenage doubts and become full-fledged heroes again. My main complaint, as with last issue, is that it’s disappointing to see Briggs degenerate into full-fledged villain mode. The character was much more enjoyable when readers were able to sympathize and even side with him and his grand plans.
Andrea Di Vito sticks around to render this issue. While it’s a shame we couldn’t have one, consistent artist for the entire arc (important as it is to the series as a whole), Di Vito fits in nicely with the general tone established by Tom Grummett and others. There are some fun metaphysical scenes involving characters like White Tiger and Reptil that allow Di Vito to branch out and deliver slightly more surreal imagery.
Much of this character building seems to lay the groundwork for future stories, which of course raises hope that maybe Gage won’t be done with these characters just because the series is ending. No doubt there’s still a wealth of material to explore in the coming weeks.
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