The banner proclaiming that there are two months between “Avengers Academy” #26 and the “Avengers Vs. X-Men” event overpowers the logo on the cover of this issue. Clearly Marvel is making a big push for that event, which makes this issue feel like it is simply filling space, marking time until the next event washes over the Marvel Universe.
The plot of this issue deals with Jeremy Briggs and his newfound allies, Jocasta and Veil, coming to the Academy to shut it down but this issue really slows down to absorb the surroundings as Briggs and Hank Pym get into a pissing match over whose methods are better for the kids and the world. Unfortunately, that slowdown really drags this issue out, providing ample opportunity for the reader to mentally check out.
Christos Gage really fills this issue with the inner conflicts of the characters. He doesn’t stop there as he draws the turmoil out of the characters and molds it into a contentious situation. With the philosophical disagreement drawing lines in the sand, there is a minor tussle between characters, but the vast majority of the issue is filled with talking heads.
One of those babbling noggins belongs to Hank Pym, whom Gage clearly adores. Pym makes a case for the Avengers Academy that could well serve as a defining moment for him as a character and for the Avengers as a brand. Pym’s hallmark speech is the highlight of this issue, unless you’re keen to dozens of panels cropped in around the head and shoulders of characters.
That scene is a great piece of work by Tom Grummett. Grummett’s work throughout this issue is solid but far from incredible. He falls into an acute case of same face with a great number of the characters, which becomes more evident in the instances where you have talking heads filling the pages. The artist’s focus throughout the issue is on the characters but they don’t do much to shake up the flow of the story. There’s lots of standing, mild gesturing and a generous range of expressions. Therefore, Grummett has to use camera angles to drum up interest and add some zest to this story not doing much to make this tale any more electrifying.
“Avengers Academy” still has a solid core concept, a handful of interesting characters and a decent creative team. Unfortunately, it also has the attention of events and has to pass time between those them. This issue is one of those moments: largely forgettable but indicative of what could be.