All week long, Newsarama has been looking at nearly every conceivable angle of Avengers Academy for what we've dubbed "Avengers Academy Week." (The name wasn't too much of a stretch.) For the past two days, we took a look back at the series thus far along with writer Christos Gage. Today, we're wrapping things up by gazing towards the future, and talking with Gage about the new full-time members of the book's cast, given the rather major recent status quo change — moving to Los Angeles and opening the school's door to all of the young heroes in the Marvel Universe — that brought a multitude of new faces to the series. Plus, don't forget to check out some brand-new, exclusive interior pages from Avengers Academy #23, out in December — and catch up with all of our "Avengers Academy Week" coverage in the links below the article.
Lightspeed Julie Power debuted back in 1984's Power Pack #1 (her older brother Alex is part of the Future Foundation), and comes to Avengers Academy after a stint with the superhero support group Loners. Joined the book as of Avengers Academy #21 as both a full-time student and teacher's assistant.
Gage says: " I wanted to bring in a character with more experience being a hero, someone who would fit in between the worlds of teacher and student, so I thought of Julie. She's certainly a veteran, but she has had many moments of confusion about herself and her role, as seen in Loners, when she tried to quit using her powers for a while. So I think she's a good fit."
White Tiger The latest iteration of the White Tiger, Ava Ayala made her first appearance in Avengers Academy #21, also coming on board as a full-time student and teacher's assistant. She's the sister of the original White Tiger, Hector Ayala, and has already clashed on philosophical grounds with Reptil.
Gage says: " I always loved the original White Tiger, and I dug the idea of having a true "legacy character" on the roster… exploring what pressures that would bring. I also saw the opportunity to delve more into the nature of the White Tiger amulets. Plus, as I’ll eventually be able to talk about in more detail, she’s a character you’ll soon be seeing leaping into other Marvel mediums."
Avengers Solo #1
cover.Hawkeye One of the most beloved Avengers in history, Clint Barton joined the cast in Avengers Academy #21 as a full-time faculty member. He's a busy guy right now, as a team member on the flagship Avengers title, the new field leader of Secret Avengers and starring in the Avengers Solo miniseries. (Oh yeah, he's in the May 2012 Avengers movie, too.)
Gage says: " To me, Hawkeye is a natural choice as a teacher. He's been down the wrong path a time or two.. he started as a villain. Plus, as we saw in #21, he was the original "rookie with attitude" on the Avengers. Now he's mellowed a little with age (a little) and I think he sees the opportunity to mentor kids and try to help them avoid the mistakes he made. He knows he got a gift from the Avengers, one that probably saved his life, and he wants to pay it forward."
Originally created for the X-Men: Evolution animated series, X-23 is a female clone of Wolverine who was originally trained as an assassin and since served as a member of both the X-Men and secret hit squad X-Force. Amid news that her solo series ends in January, she joins Avengers Academy as of December's issue #23.
Gage says: "When you talk about characters who could easily grow up to be villains, X-23 has to be at the top of the list. She's literally killed hundreds of people. She can shed light on a lot of the things some of the other kids are going through, such as having recently taken lives in the war against Dark Asgard. I've always been a fan of putting X-Men on Avengers teams — like Beast — so this felt natural to me, although I think the idea of adding her came from the ever-brilliant editor Bill Rosemann!"More from Avengers Academy Week:
- AVENGERS ACADEMY WEEK: Gage on the Series So Far, Part 2
- AVENGERS ACADEMY WEEK: Gage on the Series So Far, Part 1
- AVENGERS ACADEMY WEEK: Gage Talks Marvel Teen Team History
- AVENGERS ACADEMY WEEK: Tom Grummett Enrolls as Lead Artist