What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Strange Academy #6! The kids are not alright. Six issues in and they are already finding themselves in the middle of something that’s way above their heads. Battle has broken loose in the Bayou, and it was anyone’s guess as to how this would end for the kids. They are in a situation where they neither know the enemy, or what they are fully capable of.
That last part was the most crucial for this issue. It was one thing for these students to use their magic freely on campus where there is no cost or limitation to what they can do. It was another thing entirely for them to be outside of school grounds and realizing the hard way what it means to have mastery over their own power. That’s not to say that the battle wasn’t exciting, because it was definitely a sight to see just having these kids give their all. Even if you knew that it was going to take much more than what they had to muster. For the most part this issue focused on the battle, escape, and struggle for survival. I couldn’t argue with that either. After everything that was set in motion for this to happen, it made sense that this creative team would allow themselves that one issue to just indulge in the madness that would ensue.
Which brings us to the adults. At the same time it was fitting that enough time would be allotted for them to begin understanding what is at stake by them allowing any of these students out of their sight. From the minute it was grasped that these students really had enough freedom to play a game like ‘Door Tag’, it was pretty much a given that just about any number of things could happen to them. And it wouldn’t ever be problems dealing with what goes on within a classroom.
With this being a young hero kind of book, I was certainly impressed that by the end of this issue we were seeing how serious this creative team was about ‘surviving the experience’. Normally when one says this, you usually have to back up those words. It took about six issues, but they kept true to delivering on what that was supposed to mea to us, and to these students. As they also said for this issue specifically, the students have stepped too far out of their element, and now must pay a price. There was no telling what this supposed to mean initially. Though by the end of this issue the message was sent clear.
Now the only issue I could find with what happened here is that the introduction of The Hollow leaves you with more questions than answers. Specifically when it comes to their relevance to Doyle, and how their actions easily affect his assumed future.
With that said, the work from this art team was as usual fantastic. For this issue in particular, they impressed me because there was just so much going on and it never once felt like they skipped a beat or took shortcuts. Everything was rendered in excellent detail. The settings specifically considering how many locations this issue shifted between. One which definitely stuck out to me was the Bayou, mainly for the fact that you have this big battle unfolding and this well-detailed swamp sitting in the background. I also didn’t mind the trip which some of the staff took through the other plane which contained a number of visual treats. Then you have the color work which did not disappoint for the flashiness you would have expected from these kids throwing as much magic as they could to stand a chance against The Hollow.
All in all, Strange Academy #6 created a drastic shift in tone that you just were not prepared for from this book. This is a dangerous world these kids have been brought into, and now everyone better understands how seriously that should be taken.