Marvel Studios may have a hit on its hands with the Avengers franchise, but sooner or later they'll have to change up the team. After all, nobody lives forever, and if recent events in comics have show us the company isn't afraid to kill even its most high profile characters. Naturally, that means that new characters need to be put in the spotlight.
In 2012 Marvel Comics introduced Avengers Academy, a series centered six young heroes-in-training whose personalities, powers, and backgrounds work perfect for every genre from a children's cartoon to a live action Avengers movie. And considering the fact that the studio will need some fresh blood, we think Marvel Studios should use to these young heroes to inspire some new stories.
What Is Avengers Academy?
The Avengers Academy was originally known as the Initiative. The Initiative's objective was to teach people with powers how to use their gifts properly in a military boot camp environment. The idea was birthed during Marvel's Civil War comic book event, which kicked-off with a super-powered battle that caused the death of hundreds of people in Stamford, Connecticut. Afterwards, the U.S. Government passed the Superhero Registration Act, which required people with powers to tell the government who they were and reveal their powers. If they were inexperienced or sloppy, they had to complete training with The Initiative.
But when the villainous Norman Osborn took over the Initiative during the Dark Reign event, he turned it into a training ground for villains called Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. Norman Osborn took S.H.I.E.L.D. and turned it into H.A.M.M.E.R. Osborn took Initiative and turned it into a place for his right hand man The Hood to keep his crew of villains. When Osborn overplayed his hand (shocking, right?), Captain America won the day and Camp H.A.M.M.E.R. was shut down.
While Osborn was in charge he came across six young super powered kids. He took these kids and upped their powers. For some of them, it was as easy as listening to what Norman and what his people were saying and doing it. For the others, they were tortured or had their bodies changed dramatically. So rather than have them grow up and become villains, heroes Hank Pym, Tigra, Jocosta, Justice and Speedball opened up Avengers Academy to help those six kids learn how to control their powers and to prep them to become the Avengers of the future.
The series was really driven by it's interesting young protagonists, so let's take a look at the students at Avengers Academy.
Mettle was a cool and relaxed surfer boy from Hawaii until he was hit in the face with a surfboard, ripping off his skin. This revealed the metal like layer under his skin. Norman Osborn promised to help him and all he did was have the skin peeled from his body all together.
Mettle was the team's big brother. Whenever their was a fight to be had, Mettle was the first person to step up and throw the first punch in defense of his friends.
Veil's powers kicked in after an embarrassing moment left her emotionally distraught. She wished she could disappear, and that's almost what happened. She turned into a air-like form all the way down to a cellular level. One day she will not be able to stay tangible, losing her body forever.
Veil wasn't much of a fighter and seemed out of place when it was time to fight. Sometimes she was timid and sometimes she was too aggressive. I don't want to spoil the ending, but she ends up right where she needed to be. She ended up back in school as a normal high school girl. Only this time, she's no longer shy and insecure. Veil is confident and ready to take on the world.
Reptil has a mystical gem in his chest that gives him the power to turn any part of his body into dinosaur parts or even transform his entire body into a dinosaur. He could have pterodactyl wings, a triceratops head, the scaly back of a stegosaurus and more. Reptil's parents disappeared and Osborn promised to help find them. He obviously did not.
Reptil was unanimously elected the team's leader, but he was more than that. He was the heart of that team and a lot of the time, he was the light at the end of the tunnel when things seem dark.
Finesse is just like Marvel antihero the Taskmaster — who is possibly her father. If she can see you do something, she can do it. All Osborn had to do to get her involved was promise her the resources to make her a smarter and better fighter. Finesse struggled to be more emotionally available to her teammates. She's so smart that sometimes logic takes the place of emotion.
Finesse was usually cold and emotionless, so who better to be her mentor than Quicksilver. Of course, she blackmailed him into helping her learn how to become a better super person, and at this point it was unclear whether she would become good or evil. In the end, this ended up being a mutually beneficial relationship.
Striker's powers to create and manipulate electricity manifested in a very horrible way — when a man he trusted tried to touch him inappropriately. Striker made him pay and then vowed to never let anyone hurt him ever again. The hero's mother has a fame-seeking personality, which rubbed off on him. Sometimes, it seems like Stirker is only out for himself. He puts on a good front on so many levels. Striker always acts like he's this selfish ladies man when he's really uncertain about everything and struggles with his own sexuality.
Just when it seemed like Striker was out for himself, he got his teammates together and set out to avenge their teacher Tigra after she was bested in battle by The Hood. While Tigra hated what they did, it was one of the few moments where Striker showed some selflessness.
Hazmat's powers kicked in at one of the worst times imaginable when you're a teenager — when you're about to have sex for the first time. Her body emits radiation that is dangerous to anything around her. When her powers kicked in, she put her boyfriend in a coma. Because of this, she has to remain in a hazmat suit to protect everyone around her. All of this has caused her to become every antisocial and angry at the world. It also didn't help that her parents all but disowned her after her powers kicked in.
Among her teammates, Hazmat may have the biggest reason to be angry because she can't actually have any physical contact with anyone. But despite all of that she never left her teammates in trouble. In fact, during Marvel's Fear Itself event, she was ready to sacrifice her life if it meant her team lived.
Every team needs a villain and Jeremy Briggs, also known as Alchemist, was the perfect fit for the Avengers Academy students to face. While his powers to change materials on a molecular level are cool, what makes him so despised is his arrogance. He's rich, narcissistic, powerful and ruthless. But all of that pales in comparison to his power of persuasion and the funds to back up what he promises.
Briggs even broke the team up in the later issues of the series. He knows the students of The Avengers Academy as well as they know themselves. It was easy to get more than a few of them to join him.
Perfect For Television
Along with a great group of characters and a healthy dose of dysfunction, the students have something other teams can't boast. A situation where everyone's power can be used on television for all-ages audiences. None of the cast uses sharp weapons, fire, or laser-like powers that might cause the show to be too violent for kids to watch. Finesse may have a penchant ability for swords and knives, but her teachers make her use escrima sticks — an issue that made Wolverine only use his claws on mostly robots or doors during the 90s cartoon.
Avengers Academy is a great way for people to hop on board with new characters and watch as they develop as heroes from their first day of class with Hank Pym and Tigra to becoming full-fledged Avengers. Everyone in this book brings something to the table whether it be comedy, drama, action, a look at social issues, or just cool looking powers. There's no way this group wouldn't end up being a hit.
Thoughts? Ever read the series? Let me know in the comments below.