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Avengers Academy: Overexposure

Christos Gage puts Hank Pym, Striker and the rest of the Avengers Academy cast through their paces

By Ben Morse

Striker: an arrogant young superhuman eager for the spotlight yet ill-prepared for the trials that accompany notoriety. Hank Pym: a veteran super hero trying to reclaim the respect of his peers following years of identity crises and personal tragedy. Two individuals who couldn't be more

AVENGERS ACADEMY #5 black and white preview art by Jorge Molina
different, but must band together if they hope to survive the scrutiny writer Christos Gage plans to put them and their peers through in AVENGERS ACADEMY.

Beginning with issue #5-on sale October 6 and featuring guest art from Jorge Molina-the Avengers' training facility for metahuman teenagers who suffered prior imprisonment by Norman Osborn goes public, not to the pleasure of the faculty or student body.

"Prior to the issue, the general public is unaware of the existence of Avengers Academy," explains Gage. "The Avengers have kept it under wraps because they don't want their young, inexperienced students targeted by their enemies. But they're about to arrive at a point where they no longer have a choice."

One might think Striker, who has been very open about his desire to parlay his powers into fame, would be happy with this development, but Gage claims hidden layers and surprising reactions will be the order of the day when it comes to the energy-casting showman.

"He seems shallow and cocky, a product of the reality TV generation, but we'll see there's more of him than that, including a difficult past," says the writer of Striker's persona. "He's not impressed by anyone or anything and never afraid to speak truth-or his opinion-to power, as we'll see when he meets living legend Steve Rogers! He's really fun to write dialogue for."

AVENGERS ACADEMY #5 black and white preview art by Jorge Molina
And speaking of those aforementioned Avengers enemies who'd be looking to target the heroes' young charges, classic foe Whirlwind makes his return in AVENGERS ACADEMY #5, though it's not the kids he's targeting.

"I remember Whirlwind fighting the Avengers as part of the Lethal Legion and being The Wasp's chauffeur so he could stalk her and indulge his creepy obsession," recalls Gage of the quick-spinning ne'er-do-well. "He's cool because he's super-fast, super-crazy and he will slice you into itty bitty pieces before you even know what happened!"

"[Whirlwind is] Hank Pym's archenemy in many ways, one of his oldest foes. He blames Hank for Janet [Van Dyne, aka the original Wasp and Pym's ex-wife]'s death and has a dim view of him calling himself The Wasp, so [the confrontation] will stir up some tough emotions. I think Hank is in a better place mentally than he's been in the past, but he's still got some tough things to struggle with, the loss of Janet being chief among them."

Issue #7 will see Pym taking a big step in his heroic career as he resumes his Giant-Man identity and battles the Absorbing Man, but that's not all Gage has in store for his harried cast.

"[AVENGERS ACAMDEY #6] spotlights Reptil, as he is elected class leader of Avengers Academy, which should be a dream come true, but it ends up a nightmare," the writer teases. "We'll see more of the Finesse/Quicksilver relationship as well and a totally gratuitous Devil Dinosaur cameo! After

AVENGERS ACADEMY #5 black and white preview art by Jorge Molina
that, we'll see Tigra have to struggle with repercussions of something from the recent past, more on Speedball, and many Avengers guest stars as well as the return of a classic Avengers villain we haven't seen in awhile."


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