Avengers Academy #38
Avengers Academy #38
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christos Gage
Pencils: Tom Grummett

Marvel should have promoted this issue as the official epilogue to Avengers vs. X-Men, especially aimed towards the fans that really despise the "heroes fighting heroes" trope. After six months of non-stop fighting, Avengers Academy #38 presents the catharsis of two sides coming together, making amends, and suggesting a much brighter future, as the kids are far more focused on their commonalities than the adults have been in recent months.

Following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, Wolverine brings the students of the Jean Grey School out to the Avengers Academy for a game of flag football. Gage fills these pages with one fun moment after the next, which is exactly what was needed after the rather dark twists of the "Final Exam" storyline. Mettle gains some perspective from Rockslide, Anole and Striker connect over the well intentioned but ill thought out wing manning of their teammates, Hawkeye and Iceman connect over how awesome they are, Kitty gives Veil a much needed pep talk, and Wolverine finally gets even for the cheap shot he received from Giant-Man back in Avengers vs. X-Men #5. There are so many more great moments in this issue, I was almost just tempted to make my review a list of everything that made me smile.

Gage's talents in handling a large cast have vastly improved since the beginning of his work on this title. If he exhibited skill in this area at the start, he has by far mastered it as this series draws to a close. He delivers strong character moments for most of the members of this book's main cast, as well as a few characters from his other book: X-Men Legacy. Gage's work on the latter half of this series could be a master class in juggling screen time for large groups of characters.

Tom Grummett is back on pencils for this issue and he does an admirable job of packing the scenes full of recognizable characters. However his usually linear progression of action during fight scenes does not translate as well to the action of a flag football game as you might think. While a bit less nuanced than one would hope, Grummett does do an apt job of handling the expressions of the characters during a variety of interactions.

One of the many reasons this title captured the good will of fans is with issues that take a break from typical super hero fare for more traditional youthful rights of passage. This issue is reminiscent of the beloved prom issue of this title, as it really just comes down to the kids and their teachers hanging out and getting to know each other better. I think at the end of the day that's what I will miss most about this title, as I could read a whole series of issues just like this. At the close of Avengers Academy #38, Mettle declares that the flag football games should become a regular tradition. I sincerely hope Jason Aaron is listening.

Grade: A

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