Avengers Academy is a spinoff of Marvel's highly popular Avengers franchise. Avengers Academy is exactly what it says on the tin, a school for young and up coming super humans. Started during the 'Heroic Age' it stood out from the other Avengers titles by featuring largely new characters (the students) and some less prominent existing characters (the staff). The first story arc features Hank Pym (Ant-Man, Giant Man and many more) starting up the school to teach the first class how to be heroes and how to live with their various physical and emotional scars. Starting in issue #21 a brand new story arc begins featuring most of the original students, joined by a number of existing Marvel teens, some joining the main cast, the others being in the background as part timers. The school was also moved to Los Angeles to the West Coast Avengers compound and several members of the staff changed.Created by Christos Gage the series has been near universally praised for its ability to tell compelling one and two story arcs while building on the excellent characterizations issue after issue. Avengers Academy acts as a Spiritual Successor to the similarly themed, though quite different Avengers: The Initiative, also co-written by Gage. One of the students 'Reptil' coming from that series, Hank Pym and Tigra were also central figures in that book. Though that Pym was a Skrull. The presence of Hank, Jocasta and Quicksilver means it also continues some plot threads from Dark Reign-era Mighty Avengers.While any issue can be picked up and enjoyed, especially new reader friendly issues are #1, #14.1 and #21.The title ended in issue #39 and some of the cast are now appearing in the Darker and EdgierAvengers Arena series as part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch. Also see Young Avengers for another Avengers-affiliated young team.
Contains examples of:
15 Minutes of Fame: Striker's mother had an affair with a prominent politician. After her fame ran out, she began pushing her son to become famous as well.
Reptil who can turn into any Dinosaur. At first, it was only in parts, later he could change into a whole animal. his adult self can change into any animal from the dimension that Moon-boy and Devil Dinosuar came from.
Tigra, an orange and black furred cat-woman.
Arch-Enemy: Jeremy Briggs is everything they fear becoming wrapped up in a package of being everything they also want.
Bad Powers, Bad People: The reason the kids were gathered for this 'school'. They either have bad powers or budding sociopathy, and are being trained to specifically prevent them from turning into supervillains. The series sees how successful or not they are.
Mettle:"Look at us. Big monster guy, the human electric chair, poison gas girl, assassin chick, t-rex boy, and Chernobyl in Abercrombie and Fitch. One wrong move and any one of us could be a murderer."
Big Damn Heroes: Happens several times, most recently when students are going to sacrifice themselves to stop "The Worthy" and prevent the destruction of a city when Giant-Man burst through the walls of the Infinite Mansion, attacking "The Worthy" while the rest of the staff (all of which are Avengers) show up to rescue the students!
Bi the Way: Julie Power/Lightspeed, though this was strongly hinted in her previous appearances in Runaways and The Loners mini. She officially comes out in issue #23 of AA.
Biting-the-Hand Humor: Hazmat in #10: "Today's gonna suck as much as all the others... but just a little bit harder. Because it's One More Day... with no end in sight."
She does it again in #34. "I thought they'd reopen the Academy in a day. Maybe two. But this Avengers vs. X-Men thing just keeps dragging on."
Bittersweet Ending: And not because of that Avengers Arena either. That's just salt in the wound.
Black Dude Dies First: When the mansion is under attack Hazmat snarks that she "feel(s) like the black guy in a disaster movie".
Blessed with Suck: The original cast is pretty much built on this. We have Veil who can turn into mist...yet her power is slowly killing her. Then we have Hazmat whose body produces deadly radiation, and has to be confined to a suit to protect others (thin Captain Atom meets Rogue). Then there's Finesse, who is a super fighter but her brain can't handle all the information and in the future...its revealed she's continually forgetting her daughter's name. Then there's Mettle, who was a champion surfer before his powers awakened granting him Super Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability...but making him look like a metal version of Red Skull (he even yells once 'I'm not related to Red skull, I'm Jewish'). Reptil's the safest of them, but he's got issues of his own to work around.
Book Ends: The series starts off with Veil being picked on in school and ends that way. Except in the end, Veil has picked up more self confidence and ass-kicking skills.
Boxing Lessons for Superman: Part of the point of this series. Finesse uses her training with the actual Captain America and Iron Fist to hold her own against Taskmaster, as an example.
Brick Joke: In the first issue of Wolverine and the X-Men, there's the promise of the "inaugural flag football game vs. the Avengers Academy". Sure enough, in the crossover between the two series, they have a flag football match.
Reptil, originally a character created just for The Superhero Squad Show toyline, was introduced in the comics in an Initiative special in early 2009, and became a student at Avengers Academy the following year.
And Ava Ayala, the New White Tiger, who was created for the new Ultimate Spider-Man animated series as confirmed by Gage on Twitter.
X-23, while fully established at the time of her debut in the comic, originated in the X-Men: Evolution animated series.
Central Theme: There's two major themes that run through the entire series. The first and biggest is the defiance of expectations. But the other one is a bit subtler, but is nonetheless important: dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Striker, Hazmat, Mettle (it's like a double entendre he says), Veil, Reptil and Finesse in the first class. When the roster expands we get White Tiger and Lightspeed. Well they are training to be Avengers after all.
Hank Pym who started the series out as The Wasp in honor of his late wife finally returns to his older Code Name Giant-Man
On the otherhand, Hardball gets jealous of Reptil when it looks like he's flirting with Komodo, Hardball's girlfriend
Covered with Scars: Robbie Baldwin (a.k.a Speedball and formerly as Penance) the instructor is covered with scars from his Penance stint. However, his scars are mostly hidden inside his skintight Speedball costume and he cuts himself in private without any notice from other instructors until his act was only discovered by Veil.
Five-Token Band: Goes very, very close to this trope with the original lineup. Reptil is Latino, Mettle is half-Jewish and half either Black or Polynesian, Hazmat is a Japanese-American girl, Viel is also a girl and Striker is gay. Later additions to the core team (White Tiger, Julie Power and X-23) are Latino, bisexual and a clone, respectively and are all girls.
Five-Man Band: Close. The series starts with 6, then adds quite a few.
The Leader: Reptil. He's above all else really wants to be a hero. Elected Class President.
The Lancer: Hazmat. Where Reptil is full of hope and dreams, she is full of anger and lost dreams.
The Big Guy: Mettle. Being a giant of iridium, it's sort of the default.
Frozen Face: Mettle. Because he does not have skin and is left with metallic armor on every part of his body, his face looked more skull-like.
Future Me Scares Me: Subverted and played straight in the Korvac arc. Some of the students were disappointed that at least in those particular futures, described as their most powerful incarnations in the multiverse, they were still Cursed with Awesome. Reptil actually refused to let his future body change back at first because it granted him better control of his powers.
And it was later revealed that Reptil would become possessed by the same and potentially evil alternate future version of himself in a later arc.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Surprisingly, of the student Mettle seems the most volatile. This surprises him to.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Played with at one point; Mettle is distressed to discover people assume he is the Red Skull's son. He's half-Jewish.
Heroic Sacrifice: one averted, one played with. During Fear Itself, Hazmat, Mettle and Finesse agree to stay behind to hold off two of the Worthy (Titania and Absorbing Man) and self-destruct the Infinite Mansion. This is averted thanks to the timely intervention of Hank Pym, Jocasta and Quicksilver. Later, Hazmat and Mettle sacrifice their recently regained humanity and normalcy as well as the possibility of a normal life in order to save their friends (and the world) from Jeremy Briggs' plans.
"How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.": Played with. Hazmat blasts X-23 in #25, Mettle asks her if she knew X would be okay. She said yes, but added that even if she wouldn't be, she'd have done it anyway.
Hollywood Dateless: Tigra(!) of all people laments her dating impaired status during the series ("Single mom who sheds"). She could probably easily get dates—just not long term commitment.
I Have Many Names: In addition to everyone having a Code Name, Hank Pym has several. Often referred to simply as Hank Pym, he was The Wasp when the series started, before becoming (again) Giant-Man. And in his past he has also been Ant-Man, Yellowjacket and Goliath.
Ironic Echo: Issue #37: As Jeremy lays dying, Finesse repeats the same phrase he said when he attacked the group, reminding him of the Avengers Academy's ultimate goal: "Say hello to the bad guy."
Jumping-On Point: Issue #1 obviously. However both 14.1 (a standalone story between #14 and #15) and #21 (start of a new arc) were billed as these.
Lamarck Was Right: Finesse has the same powers as Taskmaster, who gained them by special serum, and it's implied she might be his daughter. When the two of them meet, she directly asks him about it, only for it to turn out that a drawback of his powers is loss of his non-combat related memories, so he has no damn idea.
Later subverted with the Runaways as midway through, they talk things out and join forces.
Luke, I Might Be Your Father: Finesse and Taskmaster think they might be related because of their similar special abilities. Taskmaster doesn't deny the possibility but states that he's been with quite a few women and he couldn't possibly narrow down Finesse's mother even if he didn't have memory problems. He also refuses to take a Daddy DNA Test because he doesn't want the government to get a sample of his DNA. Taskmaster still spars with Finesse once to memorize her movements, since it's the only surefire way he will remember her, only to realize that, like him, she has copied all her maneuvers from others so she had nothing to impart on him.
Later on, a future version of Finesse is shown suffering from similar memory problems as Taskmaster, a further proof of them being related. What makes the whole thing sadder/ a moment of Doomed by Canon is that she is shown to have a daughter with Reptil, meaning she possibly passed this defect on. Although her daughter's powers seem totally unrelated to either of her parents so there is hope.
Married In The Future: A version of Reptil travels back from a future where he and Finesse are married and have a daughter.
Ms Fan Service: For a teacher Tigra wears very little! Lampshaded several times by the students, but especially when she meets Emma Frost in issue #22.
Emma Frost: By the way, darling, I love your outfit. Don't let anyone tell you it's inappropriate for a teacher.
When the Runaways call her on it, she finally has a retort:
Tigra: Ya know, before you judge, why don't you try wearing clothes over a heavy coat of fur in California.
X-23's original outfit in this series before getting a proper shirt.
Rockslide: That chick's hardcore. I miss the sports bra, though.
No Hugging, No Kissing: Averted, the series handles the sexual overtones well and realistically for a group of teenagers spending a lot of time with each other. Reptil and Finesse engage in casual sex, and a huge part of Hazmat's storyline was her fear of intimacy, not just related to her Blessed with Suck powers.
Odd Friendship: Quicksilver and Finesse form one, with Pietro even comforting her when she gets upset, and being furious when Magneto tries to attack Finesse when Finesse defends Pietro.
The One That Got Away: Finesse possibly loses Reptil forever because she waited too long to reciprocate any feelings towards him.
Pair the Spares: The end of the series ends with Hazmat and Mettle cementing their relationship, Julie Power on a date with Karolina, Striker going on a date/prom, Reptil and White Tiger hooking up and Finesse left alone as her friendship with X-23 disintegrates completely and she loses her partial boyfriend Reptil because she waited too long.
Person of Mass Destruction: While the limits of her power have not been revealed the radioactive Hazmat is dangerous to just be around outside of her suit or special room, and claims to be able to take out a city by herself (one way or another). During Fear Itself, she created a localized explosion strong enough to stagger two of the Worthy. It created a Mushroom Cloud.
Promotion to Parent: After her parents were killed when she was a child, Ava Ayala went to live with her older sister Awilda(Angela Del Toro's mother). Though unlike most cases of this trope, Awilda is an adult and married with children.
Prison Riot: What they accidentally cause while visiting The Raft and use it to cover an attempt to kill Norman Osborn. He manages to talk his way out of it, though.
The Bus Came Back: Veil returns, along with Jeremy Briggs and Jocasta, in an attempt to close the Academy.
Machine Teen and Rocket Racer leave the Academy and join with Jeremy Briggs although for different reasons
Reed Richards Is Useless: Actually a plot point that Hank Pym, as well as Reed Richards himself are unable to help Veil, Mettle and Hazmat.
In their appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey explains to the students in class how he was wrong for trying at first to use his powers for financial gain instead of helping people and the students ask why he didn't just patent his webbing and make millions that he could donate to needy charities. Spidey counters that he'd have to give up his secret identity to patent it, but one of them points out he could have used proxies in the form of shell companies to hide the source of the webbing, and point by point take apart Mr. Parker's lesson plan as being illogical and overall, Useless.
Rewind, Replay, Repeat: The more anti-heroey of the students decide to find the Hood, beat him up, and put him begging for mercy on YouTube, in revenge for his attack on Tigra. While Tigra believes this was a totally inappropriate action and chews them out for it, she can't resist watching the scene, again and again...
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Essentially, this is Veil's immediate reaction after all that the kids have been through in Fear Itself. She is so traumatized that they were essentially dropped in the middle of a war (no thanks to Absorbing Man's irrational grudge against Hank Pym) that she jumps ship to work with Jeremy Briggs the day after everything's over.
Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: The Unfortunate Implications of this trope are lampshaded where the Avengers confront Cyclops' post-Schism X-Men team. Hawkeye (IIRC) says of Emma Frost, "I knew someone who dresses like that couldn't stay a good guy!", to which Tigra responds, "What does that make me? Doctor Doom?"
Later, Mettle makes a joke along those lines, suggesting that if Finesse goes evil, she should wear stiletto heels and get a "boob window".
Stage Mom: Striker's mother. She actually hires Whirlwind to attack the students so that her son will gain publicity.
Stripperiffic: Averted in the original students. And the new students avoid it, too, unless you count Lightspeed showing off her midriff.
But not by original teacher Tigra, runs around in a bikini. Counts as Fridge Brilliance when you consider the West Coast Manor is in California, and its probably hot enough for her already, as she's covered in fur 24/7. She even lampshades this in recent issues where the students and the Runaways meet up.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: To a degree, pretty much everyone as they all deal with post traumatic stress disorder in various ways. Teachers and Students included. This is especially true after Fear Itself.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog Veil gets one of these during the Fear Itself event, where she finds and rescues a mother from a collapsed building, only for the mother to be gunned down in front of her daughter just after being saved.
Shout-Out: Mettle's costume, a black T-shirt and jeans, refers back to Mike McKone's stint on Teen Titans, where he designed that same costume for Superboy.
In the issue that Striker narrates it seems that Pym takes the students to see ''Wicked.
That Thing is Not My Child!: Invoked. Ant Man was replaced by a Skrull which copied him "to the genetic level" and, during an affair with Tigra, impregnated her. As such, the child is genetically Ant Man's. Later, the real Ant Man returns, and Tigra insists that he has no parental claim to the baby. He agrees, but she then asks him to be the child's godfather instead.
There Are No Therapists: Therapists would be really, really useful in Avengers Academy. The central concept is that the kids are in the Academy because they're all traumatized or otherwise disturbed, and the Avengers want to mold them into superheroes before they turn into supervillains. The only psychologist they see is Moonstone - whom they visit in prison because she's an evil psychopath. The students do seem to be encouraged to confide in their instructors, with the conceit being that since their instructors are all especially troubled Avengers and associated, they are better able to guide them.
This also applies just as much to the adults. When Tigra realizes that her brutal beating at the hands of the Hood and the public humiliation it caused her are still affecting her, she doesn't see a professional about it, but instead goes on a talk show to get if off her chest.
Twist Ending: At the end of the first issue the students are led to believe they were chosen because they have the potential to become great heroes. They were actually chosen because they have the greatest potential to be great villains and the Avengers want to steer them down a different path.
What Have I Done: Ant Man and Tigra are hit with this when the kids are called into action during the Fear Itself arc, especially when Mettle kills a Mook and Tigra asks if he's prepared to do it again to protect civilians.
Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Spider-Man villain Rhino, when the kids try to take on the Sinister Six and fail horribly, refuses to kill the kids on Electro's orders.