This issue was really well done, and gave us a large focus on X-23. It was interesting to see her rise in her role as an Avengers Academy student and teammate but also as a character that others look to for guidance. Well anyway, if I keep going on and on about it here, I won't have any points to use below. So let's kick the tires and start the fires.
X-23 as a character others look to for guidance.
This was an interesting idea to expand on. Due to her experience and ties, it makes sense. It's interesting though to note how the others tend to treat her as less like a peer, and more like a guiding older sister. She comes across as someone they all respect and look to for example or advice. It comes back to that more student-teacher vibe she seems to evoke as well as her potential as a future leader.
X-23's intel gathering.
Another very interesting point, and one I'm glad was used. A good chunk of the issue was used to explain what AvX was about in as concise a manner as possible. This really helps explain to many readers what this is all about. Using X-23 for this position as the audience entry way really helps sell the point too. Her info/intel gathering to make a better decision fits with her overall personality as well as helps really push her recent self-discovery journey. It helps reflect an X-23 who takes the care to know what she's dealing with and not jumping to conclusions. She comes across as someone who doesn't want to make a decision based on assumptions and what ifs, but instead wants the cold hard truth at the heart of the problem. In this case, that being the forced restriction from choice and free-will.
X-23's immediate situational awareness about the Sentinel.
This was a rather quickly done moment, but interesting nonetheless. It helped highlight some of Laura's strengths right off the bat. Her situational awareness, precision, and adaptability are all on full display with how she stopped the Sentinel without harming anyone or really even it except for the cockpit. Though I'm sure this is going to lead to other issues because of what Sentinels represent, but that's a topic that'll be interesting to see covered later. Especially considering how what things or people represent have a tendency to change, or be given the chance to show they are different. This is a pretty common theme in X-Men so it'll be interesting to see how it's handled with the younger generations as well as the older heroes.
Hazmat finally opening up to X-23.
This moment caught me off guard, but it's got me liking Hazmat again as a complex character and less like someone that's just overtly jealous. It really helps make her character come across as genuine and it also starts letting X-23 understand these people, and really, maybe even start to feel accepted by them all as a teammate. Their conversation also had a lot of valid points, and is a topic that could benefit many readers that could be feeling those kinds of pressures. It feels especially poignant coming from X-23's mouth considering her own history.
X-23 and Finesse.
Again, I just can't get enough of this pairing. Their interactions are always a highlight. It's going to be interesting to see how these two grow as friends. Finesse's interpretation of AvX was spot on.
X-23's Final Choice.
Even when Hazmat started to jump to conclusions, X-23 held her ground in her choice. Laura even explained it in a quite simple and elegant manner. Her final choice? Free will. She didn't choose either team. She chose an ideal that everyone should be free to choose where they stand, where they think they belong, how they want to approach a situation, and that a choice shouldn't be forced upon them even if it's rationalized behind "what's best for them." Generally people learn and grow from their mistakes. Denying them that is denying them the rites of passage that leads to becoming an independant capable adult. Considering most of the X-Kids in the issue are of the age for military enlistment, it's a very sound point to make and harkens back to the original reason behind the schism between Utopia and Wolverine's school. It also resembles her own choice about coming to the Academy. It's going to be interesting to see how that ideal holds up against Shaw, and whether or not he's truly reformed because of the amnesia as he's claimed.
This issue is a definite must read. It explains AvX rather concisely, gives us some real insight into these characters as people, and all around so far seems like one of the best things to come out of AvX(love the reversal usage of Shaw with how it nods the original Hellfire club assault Wolverine did, it's almost poetic in a way). Granted we're still early in the event, but this issue is a definite must buy if you're following AvX, are an X-23 fan, or were a fan of Generation Hope. I'd assume you'd already bought it if you were an Avengers Academy fan.