Okay... I admit I wasn't even all that interested in this title. I was disappointed that Avengers Academy was coming to an end to begin with, and when I read the premise of its apparent successor, I wasn't thrilled. Having never read the Runaways, their deaths wouldn't matter so much to me, but I realize that there are fans of that crew out there, just as there are fans of the AA crew, so why do we have to have any of these characters die?
What's the endgame here?
To anger fans of a series (or series of serieseseses...)? Well this plot seems to be aiming directly for that goal. The writing is well done, it's not cheesy or patronizingly over-explanatory like a lot of #1 issues can be, and the artwork is excellent. The artist has a good feel for motion and action and can really draw you in with his sense of scale and placement of characters in the scene. The big faults lie with the overall premise, as most reviewers can agree.
Avengers Academy was well written, engaging, and different. It showed a side of the Marvel Universe that we don't typically get to see, and made the typically banal daily lives of super-powered teens engaging. The series was a hit more than it was a miss, and its closing sure saddened a lot of fans. So why pick the characters back up just to systematically kill them off? Why build a successful set of young characters into a workable team of Avengers over so long just to erase a good chunk of them from the playing field. If Marvel execs don't want these characters to be players anymore, just let them drift into obscurity, like Blue Marvel and countless others.
The characters have health bars. Arcade has undergone some sort of apotheosis, even admitting that, in Murder World, he is 'God.' My call is that it's all fake. That's the only way I think fans will be able to swallow this jagged little pill (no Alanis Morissette puns/references/etc. intended) in the end. And I hope that if it is, they reveal that, at least to the reader, pretty early on, or this is going to be one aggravating series.