Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Avengers Academy Issue 32

You know what they say about vacations.  Once you go on one, it's hard to get back into the swing of things again.  So true.  Completely my bad for putting this off longer than I should have.  This issue especially.  It was utterly amazing.  I was expecting something great, but this, this is just beyond anything I could have ever expected!

So let's get started already.

X-23 and Emma Frost
"Let me mess with your head so I can give you years of therapy in 5 minutes."  Uh yeah, like anyone would accept that from Emma.  Like Laura would ever let Emma in her head after what she did back while Laura was at the Xavier Academy.  This moment I would have liked to see played up more towards what Emma did before, but I can see why it fell to the wayside as sometimes those events can easily be forgotten even if they scar.  This is the fight I've been dying to see for ages though.  Ever since that issue happened actually.  It'll be interesting to see how the school deals with Emma, and how much of the school grounds will survive.

X-23's Past with Pets
The issue picked up on the Marjorie Liu puppy addition to Laura's origin.  A fantastic addition as the hesitancy that moment in her life displayed is probably what led to the facility creating triggerscent to begin with.  It also shows a Laura that's never considered non-living things as living.  An idea that quickly falls aside as the issue progresses and the more she hears from others.  Which is a very interesting point as she wasn't there for the duration of Jocasta being on campus, and has no direct ties as yet to any other synthetic lifeforms in the Marvel Universe.  The speech used against her probably helped, as it was right on the mark.  The sentinel may have flaws, but it's trying to become more than it was created to be.  Something that parallels perfectly with X-23 herself.  It also reflects a sympathetic X-23, and a Laura that can't abide screams of pain from the good guys, even if one is a former robot built solely for genocide.  It was a very interesting moment to see that shift in perspective.  Something that could have deeper roots yet still with how Emma had acted.

X-23 As a Leader
Laura's still taking the lead, which is fine by me.  It makes sense though with her history and experience.  She has a natural talent for situational awareness that works wonders out in the field as displayed last issue, and I'm sure we'll see again come next issue.

The Artwork
This issue's new artwork sells a different point I never expected to see covered ever.  The artwork conveys a familiarity among the students.  You don't really notice the difference unless you compare it to previous issues.  In comparison, while the artwork on previous issues was good, it conveyed a sense of alienness or newness to everyone.  This is something quite fitting as the new class is still getting to know each other and become friendly with each other.  This issue though kind of sells the point that the previous battle in issue 31 was a bonding moment.  So the artwork in this issue conveys a more familiarity or naturalness to the cast.  Something I'm sure everyone has experienced whether it's a new school, new friends or a new job.  The more time you spend at it, and the more you get accustomed to it, the more familiar things become.  The more like home it feels.  That's what the artwork here feels like it conveys.

Overall, this issue was simply spectacular.  I can't wait to read the next.  Gage and crew just keep impressing with every issue after issue in this ongoing that keeps reaching new heights of awe, life lessons, and interesting philosophical debates.  It's starting to make the pain of not having an X-23 ongoing go away as it steps up to fill the void little by little with what it presents at a decent pace with artwork that also feels deep and well planned out for every minor change we may see.  A trait from the ongoing that yielded high praise from me as well, and shows great depth to the entire creative roster on this book.

I know I definitely missed a few key points this go round, but if you haven't picked up the issue yourself, go do it!  This issue is well worth the read.  Alongside the other X-title tie-ins into AvX, it really helps establish and punctuate the Might makes Right argument the Phoenix 5 are using to impose their will on the planet.


  1. Once again, thanks for the analysis. This was certainly the best AA issue with X-23 yet and the first issue that made me not miss her solo series as much. The artwork was a welcome change and greatly improved for this series (not that the old artwork was bad, I like this new artist better), is there any way we can get whoever is doing the coloring to get X-23's eye color right? What are we 6 issues in with X-23 now?

    X-23's past with Emma Frost is something that could go multiple ways. Yes, Emma tormented her and resented her greatly, mainly because of the danger she poses to everyone around her. This is a fact and I think it is only a matter of time before she does kill one of her fellow students or someone she is allied with. On the other hand, Emma Frost has expressed sincere remorse for the way she has treated X-23. So in Dark X-Men: The Confession she says, "Then after I say I've changed, I torture a girl who more than any, needed help. In an effort to protect the other children. I tried to drive Laura away using her most painful memories against her." I bet the Phoenix Five Emma Frost goes right back to doing that in the next issue.

    One thing that is brought up in this issue is how Juston insults Laura and basically calls her a machine like killer (she is), which parallels what Hellion said to her in the past. This comment probably echoes what a great many feel about X-23 once they have met her and know anything about her past; which only a select few in the Marvel universe know the full details or pieces of details; Wolverine, maybe the NYX kids, Gambit, and Jubilee also might be getting a fuller picture now.

    I liked what Hank Pym did in this issue, he continues to do his best to protect the students and I think he really does try to serve their best interests. I loved seeing X-23 step up and then Hank and students follow her lead; but agree attacking someone with the Phoenix force is probably not going to end well.

    Finally, the piece with the dog was extremely well crafted, even though we saw a glimpse of this before in how it made X-23 who she is today. Things we don't know... did she actually kill the dog, or did they slowly kill it in front of her. I am thinking she ended up not killing it.

    My final point, X-23 says "I love you." to the puppy. This would most likely be the first and only time she has actually said those words to anybody or anything. I am guessing this might have been almost as scarring as when she killed her mother.

    1. Good catch on all of em. Especially that last one!

  2. Considering X-23's experience with robots/AI's, particularly sentinels, mainly consists of almost being killed by Nimrod and waging a secret war against Bastion to prevent the extinction of the mutant race, she was being quite reasonable in her interactions with Juston and his sentinel.

    Also, it is interesting how she just casually told White Tiger that very personal story about her childhood. I take it as a sign that she is adjusting to life at the Academy since the whole point of the place is to have super powered kids with personal problems to get therapy.

    1. Yeah, it really shows her adjusting well to there to open up like that. It's also a common thing among some people with darker pasts like that though. They are willing to talk about it to complete strangers, but not so comfortable with those close to them. It's also interesting in how she talks about it though. She's very "matter of fact" and just relating the story of what happened happened. Not really using it as an excuse, but just stating it is what is.

      Good catch on the machine stuff though! It's also interesting considering her exposure to other AI life forms like Danger, or the more cyborg Omega Sentinel(before coma). So she's been exposed to both good AI's and the worst of the worst.

    2. They did make a mistake in the second flashback, they showed two male scientists, but in the original flashback, it was a male scientist and her mother.