Since the word “Avengers” is in the title, it was just a matter of time until “Avengers Academy” got dragged into the “Avengers vs. X-Men” event. Christos Gage and Tom Grummett get to tackle that as best they can here; considering that the main characters of “Avengers Academy” aren’t appearing in the core mini-series, they’ve got to do so on a tangential basis.
The idea that Wolverine takes the mutant teens from Utopia and drops them off at the Avengers Academy is handled well enough; there’s an explanation given for why they aren’t brought to the Jean Grey Academy, which would have been the more obvious choice. At first, it’s a shift that works well. X-23 confronting Wolverine about dragging her into a war that she wanted nothing to do with is handled deftly and Dr. Pym pointing out that it’s a school and not a prison is also appreciated.
Then, with no warning, the book suddenly changes into several pages of the two groups having mini-competitions. It feels wildly out of place with everything leading up to that moment, to the point that one of the characters even says as much. Unfortunately, that seems to just emphasize the disconnect rather than explain it; he’s confirming to the reader that in some ways “Avengers Academy” #29 appears to be stalling. The sad thing is that the scene between Mettle and Loa would have been great in any other issue of “Avengers Academy.” It just doesn’t fit here at all.
Fortunately, Gage pulls it together into a bit more recognizable territory at the end of the issue. It’s a clever usage of a character’s powers and the homage to the final page of “Uncanny X-Men” #132 is pulled off well. It gives me a bit more hope for the next issue, but there’s no way to avoid the meandering manner of this issue.
Tom Grummett’s pencils are solid as ever; you always know just what you’re going to get when he draws a book. The characters all appear on model (except for Hercules, whose “Herc” series appears to be ignored entirely), the storytelling is good and new readers won’t get scared off. Grummett’s one of the most dependable superhero artists out there, and this issue is no exception.
“Avengers Academy” #29 is fine but not great; it feels like a bit of a mixed bag as it zooms off on a strange tangent before pulling back into the main story. Ultimately it’s the sort of crossover issue that ends up being inoffensive; it doesn’t disrupt “Avengers Academy” but it’s certainly not critical reading in the slightest. Maybe #30 will change things, but for now it’s entertaining if not terribly important.