I buy Avengers Academy because Tigra is love. In this issue Tigra only appears on one memorable page, but Gage’s writing and his willingness to let the artists speak still makes Avengers Academy a must purchase.
The battle pitting Cadets against Korvac is exciting, but it’s also superbly staged. A less experienced artist might have rendered a cluttered melee. Raney choreographs a dramatic comeuppance that accents the individual hero’s role in beating the wannabe deity. Scott Hanna’s inks only enhance the professional, polished look. Jeromy Cox’s colors provide more than shades, however tasteful. Cox flashes neon from Hazmat’s future containment suit, and cosmic energy emanates off the panels. Cox is both costume designer and special effects artist.
The battle dialogue is pithy, as it should be, but the narration, this time courtesy of Veil, is thoughtful and saturates the comic book with uncommon depth. When the battle quells, Carina exhibits sympathy and instills hope in Dr. Pym while Mettle and Hazmat take comfort in each other’s presence. Very little needs to be said in the scene, and Gage once again lets the power issue from the visuals. Hopefully, Marvel will keep Raney on the payroll.
Gage furthermore distinguishes Korvac from other villains of his ilk. Artistically speaking, Korvac isn’t much. He’s a big glowy dude, and when not aglow he looks like a Bally Fitness instructor. It’s a fascist philosophy combined with godlike ability that makes Korvac dangerous.
Gage demonstrates Korvac’s wrong-headedness in the antagonist’s callous dismissal of death. His statement ties in to his very origins in ’70s Avengers. Before his first alleged demise, Korvac resuscitated all the Avengers that he killed. The difference is that his act was one of mercy and comprehension that the world needed the Avengers. The Korvac seen in Avengers Academy lacks the compassion of his past self. He is the villain that the past Korvac could have become had the Avengers not stopped him so many years ago.
Gage’s story compliments classic Avengers while adding more layers to the continuing theme of the Cadets learning the ropes of being a hero. Raney, Hanna and Cox fully integrate their art with Gage’s words.