matkrenz's Avengers Academy #23 - Second Chances review

Going from ok to getting bad. And there isn't any funny.

This issue of Avengers Academy is a special one. Probably because we get the revelation that Stryker is gay that was announced before the issue's release and that isn't even the selling point of the issue. X-23 joining the team is the selling point but nothing substantial happens as of yet, she just meets the team and talks to them a little, we get more focus on Stryker and Julie but im not complaining im just pointing out how odd how the Marvel marketing works somehow.

And as for Laura actually joining the team my opinion is that in concept it works since Laura has a similar background to the team and she might be able to relate to them but with the way I have been felling about this series lately I doubt it will work.

But onto the main event, the thing everybody was kinda excited about being revealed and I gotta admit I wasn't impressed. Before I get into it I just want to talk about how other teen teams have dealt with having one of the characters coming out of the closet. My all time favorite team are the Runaways, they were the first teams where I had a character that I could relate to a lot (wich was Chase by the by) and before reading the series I already knew that Karolina was gay but when I was getting into it I was wondering if BKV planted any clues about it and much to my relief he did and it worked. The best way to plant clues within dialogue is to do it with the idea of when you are rereading the story you see it leaning on the side of the reveal. Then this week I read the Young Avengers Ultimate collection and I also knew that Wiccan was gay and we don't even learn about it until issue 7 but for the 6 previous issue's we could tell only in the way Bill & Ted were acting with each other and if you didn't catch it you learn about it at the same time Bill's parents do. If you didn't exactly catch it yet my whole problem with this series is that Gage lacks forethought, so many times I feel like Gage cannot write subplots involving the interpersonal relationships of the team and that's why there are many times I just feel I cannot relate to these characters, even though I like Mettle and Finesse.

So yeah Stryker's reveal did not seem well developed to me at all. In an interview for CBR Gage says that the 2 moments we could see Stryker might not be straight was in issue 5 were we see in flashback Brandon in room filled with woman being talked to by Osborn about how he could get everything in the world by joining him and Brandon was not interested by the woman at all. Now the way I read that scene is that Stryker doesn't want Osborn's woman but wants to prove himself and get woman to fall in love with him on his own merits. And a couple of issues later when Veil wanted to make out with him he declined and wanted to talk instead. And the way I read that scene is that Brandon is just an akward teenager and isn't comfortable with intimacy just yet. Now that does make sense seeing as how he was molested by his agent at a young age and might be timid with getting close to people that way but he's still a teenager and that doesn't automatically means he's gay. So on that front building up this reveal feels very flimsy.

Also the conversation between Brandon and Julie just feels horrible written and here's another nitpick I have with this series is that characters say they don't want to be a specific sort of cliche and Gage thinks by mentioning that makes it so that these characters aren't those cliche. But the way I see it the characters should be developed enough to when they don't say they aren't that cliche we can look at them and say "Yeah, they aren't that at all." and I just don't feel it here. Or you have to be really clever and make it funny.

But there is good in this issue, like I am very interested in Reptil's subplot. The whole having your older self mind in our younger self body and preparing the world to create your future is an interesting concept but there is something that doesn't work about it. The reason we get to see the Brandon/Julie scene is that future Brandon tells future Reptil that when he comes back he has to witness that scene because it's important ........for some reason. The only reason given is that it's an important moment in his life, wich is true but beyond that there is no valid explanation given and it doesn't seem to relate to his mission at all. And the art is serviceable, I was never good at critiquing art so yeah it works for this book.

This series Is loosing me. With each issue I see more of the kinks in the armor and I see myself dropping this title in little while but I will make that decision at issue 27 when the Runaways come into the frame and that will make it or brake it for me. So yeah I guess you haven't even read half of the review because it is pretty boring but this issue really brought out a lot from me for some strange reason, it's not like I have any gay friends or anything and I find this portrayal offensive or anything. It's just not written all that well. I think im feeling a reviewing itch coming up and you will see more from me in the next couple of days.

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