5 reasons you should be reading Avengers Academy

30 May

Since it debuted in June 2010 one book has received my praise constantly. Avengers Academy is the story of the ongoing  battle to turn six kids with superhero abilities, who were manipulated by Norman Osborn during his stint as head of H.A.M.M.E.R, into the next Captain Americas and not the next Red Skulls. Since issue one, the tales of this group of dysfunctional super teens have grabbed my interest and have had no intent of letting go. I present to you 5 reasons why you should be reading Avengers Academy.

5. Lack of confusing continuity.

The number one problem with recommending superhero comics to new readers is that nearly all books are wrapped up in long, convoluted story lines that date back years if not decades. Avengers Academy starts off as fresh as a Marvel comic book could be these days. Here it starts off with six brand new characters placed in the newly created academy built by Hank Pym. The book itself does pick up the space left by Avengers: The Initiative and the last few arcs featuring the international team in The Mighty Avengers  continuing the development of characters like Hank Pym and Tigra, but rarely recalls any events happening in previous series to the point where a new reader would be totally lost.

This was one really strange episode of "Saved by the Bell"


4. It’s not all doom and gloom.

Another issue I had more recently recommending comics of this era was that after the Civil War event, everything got a bit too serious and depressing. Every single arc of Marvel’s AAA titles was dealing with issues that just brought you down. Comics are meant to be fun, not constantly saturated in dark, emotionally deflating undertones. So enter the Herioc Age and the tide turns to a more uplifing beat of Take Thats “Things Can Only Get Better” and the start of Avengers Academy. Sure, the book has some serious points to make (more on that later) but this book knows when to smile. Most of the humour is brought on by the kids from within their personalities, as it should be, and Christos Gage has done a fantastic job of making the point that even with everything going against them, this team is still fundamentally made of kids and world-ending or not, kids want to have fun.

The totally did a prom issue...and it was bad-ass.

3. Real issues.

This book does a first grade job of adding realism to superheroes by putting them through real life issues and real drama. Issues such as self harming, no true knowledge of who your parents are, self appearance, self worth, love, life and death are all dealt with in Avengers Academy and do a great job of addressing them. By removing the image of superheroes as being perfect and flawless, Gage has added that much needed dimension to a superhero group.

2. It’s a very “non-super” superhero comic.

The second reason I love this book is that it’s less about fighting the bad guy and saving the day, and more about how people in crappy circumstances deal with people and treat one another. The social interaction between students and teachers, who are possibly more emotionally unstable than the pupils they are teaching, really feels geniune. The book also deals with the element of having nothing to lose and what people will do when their backs are against the wall and nothing is left.

1. FREAKIN’ DINOSAURS!

 

Bet you wish you were reading this now, huh?

 

So there you have it, the five reasons why you should be reading Avengers Academy by Christos Gage.  You can pick up the first two trades now and join the awesomeness.

You can follow Christos on twitter at: @Christosgage

You can follow myself at: @ObviousPrime

and you can follow the blog at: @Alt_Spotlight

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