Avengers Academy #32
Avengers Academy #32
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Timothy Green II

Avengers Academy has become a little formulaic as of the last couple arcs, and normally I would find fault with that if the formula wasn't so damn satisfying, and the book itself so very, very enjoyable. It seems Gage has become enamored with the Iron Giant-esque pair of cult favorite characters Juston and his friendly neighborhood Sentinel given that they have been the most prominently featured background characters ever since Avengers Academy expanded it's cast, and this issue truly shines the spotlight their way.

Given the events of Schism and Avenger vs. X-Men the presence of a Sentinel on campus was bound to become a point of contention for the mutant students at Avengers Academy. The issue opens with Laura voicing her concerns to Juston and illustrating the continued danger in her matter of fact manner. We learn a little big more about X-23's horrific background, and Juston's bond with the Sentinel, if nothing else the issue is peppered with great character moments for these two recently underused characters.

Laura has really become the star as of late, which should come as no surprise given that she is an X-Man living among Avengers, and where before it looked like her character was redundant given her similarities to Finesse, this issue coupled with the last story arc has proven her to be a welcome addition to the cast.

Christos Gage has quietly become one of the most consistent and engaging writers in Marvel's stable. Avengers Academy was undoubtedly the gem of the Heroic Age relaunch of the franchise and has maintained consistently high quality throughout it's life, especially impressive as it enters into adolescence. Gage's writing isn't always the most subtle but he truly pours heart into his characters and portrays them as complicated, imperfect people who make good and poor decisions. Even Emma Frost, who serves as the antagonist of the book has a real point that is hard to argue with, one supported by Laura who ultimately makes a stand that represents growth for the character whose greatest difficulty has always been empathy.

Timothy Green II steps in to offer a highly consistent style to the regular art rotation. His style meshes well with regular series artist Grummet. He does a great job portraying action and has an old school style that fits with what is essentially a very (welcomingly) old school book. His facial expressions are a little melodramatic but that isn't necessarily a deal killer in a book that features teenaged protagonists who tend to emote to the extremes.

Avengers Academy remains the most consistent of the Avengers family of titles, even given the recent transition of Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers. Despite it's heavy involvement in whatever big event Marvel is navigating at the time, Gage makes the event work for him, and finds new opportunities for growth for his highly relatable and likable cast.

Grade: B+

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