Welcome back to Screwed Over! As most of you who have been following the series lately know, usually in this segment we take a look at those wronged by DC`s company wide reboot; the New 52. Whether it was characters, teams, or storylines wiped out by the reboot, someone was at a loss despite the apparent success of others. As usual Marvel isn't far behind with a company wide event, which means that it is time for Marvel to take a little criticism as we discuss just which Marvel Characters are now Screwed Over. Now if you aren't aware of the new status quo, it's called Marvel NOW! and it isn't so much a reboot as a rebranding. I already spoke a little about it here, but basically Marvel is releasing a ton of new series and new #1's to go along with the new direction of the universe as a whole. So while they don't anger as many fans by completely erasing history, certain things are being changed at a time when they don't really need to be. Which brings us to the first casualty of Marvel NOW!, the up and coming youngsters known as Avengers Academy.
Welcome back to Screwed Over! As most of you who have been following the series lately know, usually in this segment we take a look at those wronged by DC`s company wide reboot; the New 52. Whether it was characters, teams, or storylines wiped out by the reboot, someone was at a loss despite the apparent success of others. As usual Marvel isn’t far behind with a company wide event, which means that it is time for Marvel to take a little criticism as we discuss just which Marvel Characters are now Screwed Over.
Now if you aren’t aware of the new status quo, it’s called Marvel NOW! and it isn’t so much a reboot as a rebranding. I already spoke a little about it here, but basically Marvel is releasing a ton of new series and new #1′s to go along with the new direction of the universe as a whole. So while they don’t anger as many fans by completely erasing history, certain things are being changed at a time when they don’t really need to be. Which brings us to the first casualty of Marvel NOW!, the up and coming youngsters known as Avengers Academy.
The original premise of Avengers Academy was simple yet perfect. A new team of Avengers recruits who were heavily manipulated during Norman Osborn‘s brief time as director of H.A.M.M.E.R. (basically the evil S.H.I.E.L.D. except it never stood for anything), training under the watchful eyes of Henry Pym (Giant-Man) and other assorted Avengers. The original lineup consisted of Striker, Reptil, Hazmat, Mettle, Finesse and Veil. Thier trainers were Giant-Man (as Wasp, initially), Jocasta, Tigra, Justice, Speedball, and Quicksilver, which formed a pretty unique blend of Avengers characters.
With this premise we were instantly in tune with the idea that these characters might be doomed to be villains from the start, and this last chance at redemption just might be too late. The title also took the reins of some former titles that were no longer running, like Mighty Avengers and Avengers Initiative, allowing for some interesting stories and seeing some characters that we hadn’t seen in a while.
The team was involved in every big event from the last few years taking place after Siege, and have been a large part of the Avengers staple of comics. Not only did it allow us to see this unique side of some of the children of the Marvel U., but it also showcased the growth of some of the other members of the Avengers. Giant-Man was finally starting to shrug off some of his crazy, and develop a normal life. Quicksilver was acting as a force for good again, trying to make up for his past failures, of which there are many. Tigra was becoming a dominating force in this group of Avengers, continuing her role from Avengers Initiative with her new child, (who was actually the Skrull who was masquerading as Hank Pym’s child) and dealing with some of her past issues and overcoming them. Justice and Speedball didn’t spend an enormous amount of time with the team, but it really delved into Speedball’s advancement after the Stamford Incident and his time as Penance. And that was just the teachers.
Eventually the team expanded and moved across the country, gaining a new instructor in Hawkeye while losing out on Justice and Speedball. The team grew to include new members like X-23, Lightspeed, White Tiger, Spider-Girl, Lyra the She-Hulk, the new Power Man, and others. With the new students came new challenges and new moments for the team to stand up and prove that they weren’t what everyone expected them to be. It also gave the light to some characters who were running the risk of disappearing in the Marvel U., which is always a good thing. Including X-23 led to some interesting moments within the Avengers vs. X-Men event, and really brought the character fully into her role on the team.
The core group of members that started the series were finally becoming heroes in their own right, and had gone through a ton of challenges to bring them to the point of finally being able to shed some of the atrocities committed to them by Osborn. The team had even graduated to the next level of superhero-ing, with the Avengers forming an institution for the team to better help the world with their powers instead of just fighting bad guys all day. The personal relationships between the original class of the Academy were developing nicely and a future for the characters was finally looking bright.
So Why Is Avengers Academy Getting Screwed Over?
Yes, I know that a lot of them will be appearing in the new Avengers Arena, which looks to be more of a Battle Royale homage than a rip-off, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that in cancelling Avengers Academy they lose a very engaging and entertaining title that was really starting to hit it’s stride. With Avengers Arena, we see a bunch of Marvel’s young heroes gathered on an island by Arcade, and forced to fight each other to the death. While it has some interesting characters and looks to be a unique style of story for Marvel NOW!, I’m already dreading what it means for my beloved Avengers Academy characters.
All that time developing these new characters and giving them reasons to be heroes may be swept under the rug as they are once again forced to just fight it out with other characters. This was pretty much the opposite of what the team had established as being their goal, and effectively ends the Heroic Age the students were learning to exist in. With only a few of the members showing up in Arena, along with a bunch of other young heroes form other series (plus Darkhawk, for some reason), it can’t really be considered as the next stage of Avengers Academy. And with no other news about any of the other team members we are left in the dark at the status of the team after the events of the final issue.
I’m not saying I won’t give Avengers Arena a chance, and in fact I will probably enjoy it due to the creators and the clear homage to one of my favorite manga series of all time. But I certainly wont enjoy the loss I feel when I don’t get to pick up the latest issue of Avengers Academy and see the adventures of this up and coming team of possible Avengers/Masters of Evil. If these heroes weren’t already screwed over enough by Norman Osborn, then Marvel is definitely finishing the job.