Friday, July 22, 2011

Comic Con News: Avengers Academy

Marvel's "Next Big Thing" Panel happened yesterday, and to be honest, reading the news this morning, there wasn't much to grab my attention. However, the most interesting piece of news related to the future of Avengers Academy, which is a lovely, solid, surprisingly powerful and poignant book.

For more info on the news, the Academy, and some Avengers history, hit the jumper.

Post Fear-Itself which, so far, is not going very well for the Avengers-in-training (Veil had some bad luck in a rescue, and went homicidal) or for their teachers (Pym got his butt-kicked by Worthy-Hammer-wielding-Absorbing Man) it seems the Academy will be relocating!

Specifically to the old West Coast Avengers compound. The move makes sense, at least when you consider the history that characters like Hank Pym and Tigra have with the WCAvengers, though it implies the Infinite Avengers Mansion will be destroyed in Fear Itself, or at least relocated.

I'm a pretty solid fan of old West Coast Avengers stories. I haven't read all of them but several, including Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird's death, and especially all the drama of the Scarlet Witch; being kidnapped, betrothed, losing the Vision, going mad and semi-claw-raping Wonder Man in public, losing her twins, discovering their origins, etc. etc. Even her brother Pietro, now at the Academy, spent some time there.

In fact I distinctly recall, back when I wasn't an Avengers reader at all, the final issue with the cover of Captain America disbanding the West Coast branch and USAgent about to punch him in the face. It was such a cool, alluring cover that I bought the issue. I remember Wanda and the rest of the team tossing their Avengers ID cards on the table, not looking to join the main team after such treatment, and I was so into it I even followed them to Force Works for a couple of issues. (Which was really quite fun, and little did I know but I was getting my first taste of my favorite writing team, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.)

Anyway, by moving the students to that old compound, Christos Gage has cleverly increased the potential for drama and played on the legacy of being a team of misfits and outsiders who still bear the name of the greatest team of heroes, without getting to be the stars. The insecurities of being not-good-enough already run rampant through the school, so I can only imagine what it will be like when they read up on the Compound and its history. It'll also be very interesting to see the developments of Hank and Tigra's relationship (go find a smart phone to make out with Jocasta.)

In addition to the move, it seems new team members will be joining us, as well as the obligatory, see-how-major-this-major-event-is? character death. New member White Tiger will be joining the team. That's a name used by several heroes in Marvel history, all of which, as wikipedia tactfully informs us, "have been minorities with special abilities." I can't decide if that would make the legal immigration process easier or not. Anyway, the latest of these was that female White Tiger who got stabbed by Lady Bullseye, resurrected by the Hand, and helped Matt Murdock go crazy, as well as aided in wasting my money, in the recent event Shadowland. I can't recall if she made it through that.

The new one also seems young, female, and minority-ish. Only time will reveal her identity. As for the character death, it seems it won't be directly caused by Fear Itself. Instead, upon moving to the compound at West, one student turns up dead and we get a frikkin' murder mystery! Pretty awesome idea there Mr. Gage, especially directly after war stories. And Hank Pym as a murder investigator? I think that might be the best role ever thought up for poor giantman/antman/yellowjacket/goliath/wasp.

However, the biggest news dealing with the Avengers Academy? In future issues the team will "feature" other members of young superhero titles, most specifically The Runaways!!

The Runaways haven't been seen for a few years now, at least, since around Joss Whedon's horrible, terrible, awful run and the Secret Invasion crossover. They can't seem to find a writer I guess, or else everyone keeps killing off one of the kids so not many are left. But they are definitely still out West, probably still hiding under the tarpits, and will doubtless cross paths. But which one? Is that one of them in the picture released by Marvel yesterday? It certainly doesn't look like Veil or any of the other current Academy members. Is it Karolina? Not her costume but can't think of anyone else. Someone help me out!

OK, so far that's the only Comic Con news I've really looked at (except a recap of Sarah Michelle Gellar's Ringer panel) and if I have my way, it'll be the last. I am going away this weekend and I fully intend to not touch a computer once and thus completely forget that San Diego Comic Con is going on without me.

So God Bless America (yes, I'm seeing Captain America today), stay cool with the Heat Wave if you're on East Coast, and have a fantastic weekend.

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