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ComicVine's Hero School Report Card!

We give out our grades to the feeder teams of comics!

Some of comicdom's younger heroes dream of hitting the big time: like children of New York who wish to pitch for the Yankees some day, growing heroes may seek the big leagues to prove their worth or do some good.

But which is the most beneficial path to greatness? In our first annual Comic Vine Hero School Report, I go undercover to give teams and academies a once-over.

The Candidates

  • The Avengers Academy: Amazing on paper: government funding, famous faculty and amazing potential. How do the new kids on the block fare?
  • The Teen Titans: An experiment in alternative learning, the Titans are a self-governed group of students that remain largely autonomous from the greater hero community. Is this independence a good thing?
  • The Xavier's Institute for Higher Learning: Primarily a place of mutant knowledge, Xavier's has always been one of the places to earn your chops. Does it live up to the hype?
  • The Justice Society of America: Storied history, prolific teachers. How does one of the oldest institutions in comics do when it comes to producing the heroes of tomorrow?
  • The Teen Team: This plucky band of do-gooders is one of the only young teams in the greater Image Universe. They definitely have some areas of good and bad.== TEASER ==

Teaching Staff/Mentoring

The Avengers Academy: Tenured professors ( Hank Pym, Tigra, Quicksilver, Speedball, Vance Astro) seem very neurotic and haphazard; definitely need more cohesion in order to be effective. Guest instructors make up for any lacking, and are on-call almost immediately. B

The Teen Titans: None. Leadership structure is determined by election/initiative, but in-fighting and second-guessing is common. Team ranges from functional to non-functional, and sways as membership fluctuates. D

The Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning: Education is only as effective as the people who teach it; certain headmasters of the Institute have been more effective than others. Teachers come and go as they gain membership in the X-Men, and missions often take precedent over student education. Teachers have a genuine interest in their students however, and are fiercely protective. B-

The Justice Society of America: Students could not ask for better teachers. Heroes from the Golden Age ( Flash, Green Lantern, Wildcat) are competent mentors and will often take a backseat to other leaders in the field. Old-timers may be out of touch with younger students, but the age variance in mentors allows for adaptation. A

The Teen Team: Formal mentorship is non-existent, but leadership is consolidated around one individual hyper-intellect. Leadership is accepted and respected. However, this does not make up for a lack of experience in the field. C-

Facilities

The Avengers Academy: Hank Pym's Infinite Avengers Mansion is both secure and spacious; "infinite" kind of carries that definition. However, one can't feel a bit trapped in there; students may feel a bit caged. State of the art training facilities make up for it, however. B+

The Teen Titans: The Titans Tower is capable as a headquarters, but placing a big "T" on an island in the middle of New York's East River (later San Francisco Bay) is just begging for villains to knock it down (current demolition count: 3). One wonders how a group of rag tag teens can afford to keep rebuilding it. C+

The Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning: I'd like to give the mansion a higher grade, but it seems that if anyone hates mutants, that building is going to crumble. It's been demolished, blown up, vaporized, set on fire... you name it, it's been through it. Donations from a certain benefactor have kept it state-of-the-art, but it always seems to be under renovation. New facilities on Utopia show promise. C

The Justice Society of America: The JSA Brownstone is a venerable location with roots in Gotham City. While this seems like a good place for new heroes to cut their teeth, recent developments and a strict warden have made things a little more dicey for one to consider. Facilities are a little dated, but have worked well for generations. At least it's got a sweet trophy room? B-

The Teen Team: The Teen Team's bridge hangout works well for what most teenagers need: somewhere to get away from their parents. Not quite state-of-the-art, but functional: realistic for their budgets and subtle enough that it stays out of the public's eye. A

Advancement Opportunities

The Avengers Academy: Not applicable, as the first class has not graduated yet.

The Teen Titans: Many graduates have gone on to become respected members of the hero community (if they can survive long enough). Many members have gone on to usurp their mentors' mantles completely. B (see next section for why)

The Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning: Graduation from the XIHL seems to be varied; some are very successful, and go on to serve with the Avengers, X-Men, Defenders and more. Others, however, stay within the organization, teaching or operating in the field. Options are many, but some students may find themselves perpetually on the "B" team unless they show initiative. A-

The Justice Society of America: It seems that the one area the JSA lacks is graduate turnover. Most members choose to stay within the organization, mentoring new heroes as they come in. Some ( Hawkgirl) have gone on to bigger and better things, but one has to wonder if that is because of initiative, or wanting to get away from the comfort of a team that works as a family? B

The Teen Team: At present day, all the members of the Teen Team have graduated to the

Guardians of the Globe; however, this is due to the latter team dying horribly. One has to wonder what would have happened if things were allowed to progress naturally.

Death Toll/Survivability

The Avengers Academy: Surprisingly good! No casualties yet in 10 issues. I'm kind of cringing for when they do make their first kill, however: I like these kids. A

The Teen Titans: Where to start. Going by my count from this list, the Teen Titans have lost thirty nine members in their creation. Most of them are victims of company cross-overs, strangely enough. This does not include maimings such as Little Barda, or Risk having both his arms ripped off. Join with caution. D- (See me after class).

The Xavier's Institute For Higher Learning: While teachers of the school have become increasingly worried over students well-being in recent years, this has done nothing to erase the numbers of deaths that has faced the team. Coincidentally, this increased amount of casualties does correspond with leadership changes. Students can expect to face scrutiny from the public as well as villains. C-

The Justice Society of America: For the younger members, the death toll is surprisingly low. However, the team is a target to establish a villain's threat during large, earth-changing events. Working with the JSA can go one of two ways: safety due to "big gun" protection, or dying horribly (like poor Damage.) B

The Teen Team: The Teen Team is not dead last in this list simply because they have had less fatalities than the Titans. However, their deaths seem to be more gruesome. Survivability still seems to be on the high scale, though; maybe the fear of getting your spine snapped in half keeps them sharp. D

Final Grades

The Avengers Academy: A lot of heart, and good on paper; time will shape this new system and prove its effectiveness. Teaching structure needs work, but there will be wrinkles to iron out in any system. B

The Teen Titans: Needs a solid command structure and more teamwork. High team turnover means less of a chance to be cohesive. Risky, but produces amazing results. C

The Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning: Students will find that they become part of a greater cause when they enter the Institute. School spirit is high, and teacher-student trust is rebounding from an all-time low. Expect good things in the future. C+

The Justice Society of America: One of the first, and still the best. The JSA needs little work; just more ambition to leave their protected hallowed halls and experience new things in the world. A

The Teen Team: The team the Teen Titans should aspire to be if they wish to keep their "no grown ups" rule. Competent, but hazardous; teamwork will ensure survival, which will come with experience. B-

And there's our grades for the first Comic Vine Hero School Report! Which school would you want to attend?

46 Comments
Posted by wingster

Good article! 
 
"Teen Titans have lost thirty ninemembers in their creation" 
 
The Teen Titans are the "Baywatch" of teen superteams. 
 
BTW, who's the hero receiving Black Adam's fist?

Posted by ComicMan24
Posted by xerox_kitty

I think the Advancement Opportunities for th Avengers Academy could have been a higher grade.  The obvious choice is to graduate into an Avengers junior team (possibly Young Avengers, or even another new team).  Or the 'classmates' could be broken up into different teams like the original class of the Initiative were.   However, I'm interested in seeing how many students from this first class will graguate... and how many will drop out as full-blown villains.
 
Although it's good to see that the Avengers Academy have a better survival rate than the Initiative (who had killed or 'disposed' of various characters within the first few issues ;)     
 @ComicMan24 said:

" @wingster: Terra. "


May she rest in peaces... again.
Moderator
Posted by Surrender Monkey

I would rather attend in the Xavier Institute, but interning at X-Factor at the same time. That would be awesome.

Posted by KRYPTON

Cool

Posted by notoriousbcb

Give me Wildcat, Jay Garrick, and Alan Scott as mentors any day.  Very cool concept.

Posted by IrishX

Those kids look badass....
Posted by HaHaManHV

Yea, it's Guardians of the Globe, not Galaxy... 
 
good list though :)

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

I don't want to attend any school. 
I'm sick of it! 

Posted by Mr. Dead Pool

If my mutant powers were a healing factor like Deadpool's and Mr. Immortal's immortality I'd go to Xavier's school. After all with those powers seems like the easiest and best way to survive a semester.

Posted by Trodorne

Great article!
 
 you guys remember that time Terra got wrecked?

Posted by ComicMan24

Teen Titans: D - in Death Toll/Survivability. So funny but so true.

Posted by MatKrenz

BOOOH were are the Runaways ? 
 
But still a good article.

Posted by ImperiousRix

Wow, I knew that the Titans have killed  off a ton of their members, but 39?  That's a little ridiculous.

Posted by Billy Batson
DC won :D
Posted by Golden Cod
@xerox-kitty: 
 
The pre-Osborn Initiative seemed like it had a pretty decent survival rate considering that most of the cadets who appeared to die during the KIA arc were alive afterward.   That would only leave the "departures" from the first issue, the clones, and a few red-shirt characters.   Now if only they'd use Komodo and Cloud 9 more and change Cloud 9's awful mask.
Posted by AFArtist1973

Send me to the JSA so they can teach me to be a better hero!!  That, and it gives me a chance to steal peeks at Power Girl's ample qualifications.  :)
Posted by CasimirAngel

Very funny article. 

Posted by Outside_85

It's kinda sad that DC treats TT like a mandatory meat bucket when killing kids has long since lost its shock value, kill some of the JLA/JSA/DP... will you?! (Am i the only one whos CV page is completely bonkers?)

Posted by leokearon

Nice article,
Posted by NightFang
@Billy Batson said:

" DC won :D "

Thats way it a good article!     
Posted by Virus_Warning

I like this article
-Virus

Posted by thecheckeredman

This was a pretty fun read...

Posted by comicbikerscott

avengers accendy and jla are the best
Posted by CrimsonAvenger

Seems like The JSA could very well be the best superhero team to join. I'm glad to see them get a high score though I was surprised about the Teen Titans because I did not know they were that bad.

Posted by TDK_1997

Good article

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

very creative, extremely well structured and articulated, i look forward to seeing more in the future
Posted by xerox_kitty
@MatKrenz said:
" BOOOH were are the Runaways ? "
They don't count... since they ran away from School ;) 
 
@Golden Cod: MVP died in the first issue, Trauma was the tragic emo loner & Armory had her 'Tactigon' surgically removed from her arm before being dumped in Limbo ;)  Osborn may have made things darker, but the Initiative's first class had it far from easy.  They make the first day of the Avengers Academy look like a breeze.
Moderator
Posted by The Sadhu

Awesome article
Posted by Golden Cod
@xerox-kitty said:

MVP died in the first issue, Trauma was the tragic emo loner & Armory had her 'Tactigon' surgically removed from her arm before being dumped in Limbo ;)  Osborn may have made things darker, but the Initiative's first class had it far from easy.  They make the first day of the Avengers Academy look like a breeze. "

 
 Yes I know all that happened to the first class.   Trauma triggered Armory's arachnophobia and MVP pushed Cloud 9 out of the way and was too distracted by her pretty face to pay attention to the other stray energy blasts.   Gyrich declares everything confidential, the Tactigon is surgically removed from Armory, and the Initiative secretly keeps tabs on her after the expulsion through her therapist.   That's a pretty decent survival rate even when counting the deaths of 2 background characters from the two subsequent classes.   Osborn on the other hand pretty much turned them into cannon fodder units for HAMMER and his attempt to recapture Prison 42.
Posted by MattDemers
@Avenging-X-Bolt: Thanks! I try ;)
Posted by xerox_kitty
@Golden Cod: I wasn't talking about Osborn's so-called Initiative.  They were either villains or cannon fodder.  I was referring to the original Initiative, when it was about teaching people to use their powers & comparing it to it's successor the Avengers Academy.  What I was saying has nothing to do with Osborn's rule.
Moderator
Posted by MattDemers
@xerox-kitty:  I was thinking of including the Initiative in the report, but really, I wanted to stick to present institutions (and universe variance, like the Teen Team). The Initiative (other than Camp Hammond) seemed almost corporate to me; there wasn't that air of "we're going to turn you into a hero and help you master your powers." 
It seemed closer to "you're not here by choice, but because you have the potential to hurt someone. This is why we are helping you."
Posted by xerox_kitty
@mattdemers: Oh yeah, the Academy sure is more of an actual school.   
 
It's not just the fact that it replaced the Initiative as a title, but they use some of the same staff (except I don't miss Gauntlet & I keep forgetting that it wasn't really Hank Pym in the Initiative).  But I still feel that the class could graduate in a similar style to the Initiative as well; splitting them up amongst differing hero teams, even if they're not necessarily Avengers.
Moderator
Posted by Golden Cod
@xerox-kitty: 
 
I only included the Osborn part at the end to say that the death tolls he inflicted doesn't reflect the death toll of the actual Initiative, which wasn't all that bad.   Sorry if the gist was misleading.
Posted by GTG12

Avengers academy. or JSA
Posted by Meteorite

Great article!

Posted by Video_Martian

YES!  THE JSA GOT AN A!  GO JSA!!!  =D

Posted by Nefarious

Excellent.

Posted by The Impersonator

I give this article an A.

Posted by oldgum

Hanging out with X-Factor Investigation, cool.

Posted by Agent9149

x-men have the best school...if only i was there

Posted by Telcalipoca

TT for me ill welcome the challenge 

Posted by Grim

Teen  Titans. They do damn good for a team of teenagers that runs itself.

Posted by Eyz

Now that's different!
 
:/
Hot damn! The Teen Titans got a pretty high body count, specially shocking if you think those are all teens!! °__°

Posted by rasx

Did'nt even know that Image had a Teen Team..lol

I would join the Avengers Academy!