At a certain point, writers become dead to me. A lot of Virgin books authors, because of their making the Doctor a malignancy, are dead to me. J. Michael Straczynski became dead to me when he wrote The Brave and the Bold #33. Brian Michael Bendis died when he let his personal feelings over a character, his inexplicable hatred for Tigra, become the centerpiece for the empowerment of the Hood. Here’s a tip: if you don’t like a character, don’t write about that character. Simply let that character take a leave of absence from the book. Scorching the earth only accumulates disdain.
I’m not real keen about raising Bendis’ contrived hackery again, but writer Christos Gage does about the best anybody could have done with garbage as his starting point. Is it art? No. It’s just piled a little neater and smells less rancid. It’s as though Gage dumped a truckload of peppermint on Bendis’ offal.
A low-level villain named the Slug leaks an e-teaser for the full recording of the Hood’s assault on Tigra. The Avengers pursue legal means to arrest the purveyor, and in a nice scene, the Slug actually fears Tigra; damn right. The team also strike a deal with the company that intended to release the video. All in all, this is a very realistic response to the situation.
In later scenes, reflecting the forthrightness of David Letterman, Tigra proves just how better of a person she is. That may sound funny, but Letterman upon being setup as a target for blackmail came clean. Tigra does something similar and redirects the trauma she suffered as a positive force.
The Cadets choose a different means to fight. They track down the Hood and record the beating they dish out. You know, I thought I would get a little visceral enjoyment out of the Hood’s beat down, even if it didn’t leave any permanent damage. Instead, Tigra’s vengeance, which focuses on living well and helping others, really struck a chord. Her philosophy meets the heroic ideal that I look for in a superhero book. Sure, I would have loved to see Tigra flay the Hood alive, but only in the moment. It’s too late now. She has already moved on. She has a son. She has a life. She shouldn’t screw that up. If she killed the Hood in the heat of battle or to save another’s life, that would be a righteous kill, but it would simply be out of character for Tigra to go on an obsessive stalk without an extreme trigger.
Artist Mike McKone has grown into an arch Tigra illustrator; he even slips Tigra’s tail through the hole in her bottoms. Inker Rebbeca Bachman and colorist Jeromy Cox enhance the sinew and the fur of everybody’s favorite werecat. Needless to say, because Tigra prowls in the spotlight, she rates 48 panels, Avengers Academy is a necessary purchase. Remember, Tigra is love.