Evil Geek Book Report – Avengers Arena

Afternoon Nerds!

As part of our continuing coverage of Marvel NOW I’ll give you the skinny on Avengers Arena by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker…It’s Good!!!

Avengers Arena 1

Off to Murder World kiddies…
Who’s coming with me?

Avengers Arena is a teen book with a Hunger Games/Battle Royale-style twist to it… simply kill or be killed. The story goes like this; the villainous assasin-for-hire Arcade kidnapped 16 super-powered teens from across the globe and brought them to Murder World and basically tells them that they have to play a game of life or death and that in 30 days only one will walk out alive. The kids are from various parts of the Marvel U and include some of the characters from the recently cancelled Avengers Academy and fan favorite Runaways, as well as a bunch of new kids created for this series and one or two others you may recognize. So far there has been two issues released with the first book basically setting up the plot and concept of the book. Arcade lets them know what he has planned and they try to take him out and he basically lets them know that he can’t make them kill anyone, but that they will. To get things started he also decides that he will kill one of them and tells them to choose the weakest link and the scene that follows is simply poignant and a little twisted! 🙂


Issue 2 picks up directly where the first one ends and the teens start to split into little camps where they think they’ll be safe. The story then follows one of the new characters, who is basically a little girl-Deathlok. We get pieces of her backstory and also meet some new characters. Oh, and someone else dies too! 🙂 Usually I don’t care for pointless deaths of comic book characters, but Hopeless has made it kinda fun with a TV Walking Dead/Anyone Can Die thing going on. Plus it’s so awesome and ironic that the guy writing this hopeless scenario is named Hopeless! I believe that this series may even serve a need in the industry in a way. It seems that every few years someone tries to make another Teen Titans or Legion of Super Heroes-style of book, and although there are a few good ones out there like Young Avengers there is also a bunch that kinda suck and then there are these characters just sitting out in limbo to show up to save the day or be the catalyst for a big event (like Speedball!) Man, what I would have given to see him mowed down in a book like this back in the 90’s! So here is the perfect opportunity to get rid of them. On another note, Arcade is really powered up in this book and he actually seems kind of badass. Back in the day when you’re favorite superhero got stuck in Murder World you knew that it would be a fluff issue and by the end of it they would punch Arcade in the face but he would with no doubt escape with that stupid bow tie of his! But this new environment that Hopeless and Walker have created seems less campy and more dangerous to the kiddies trapped there!

Check out that Mocking "A"!

Check out that Mocking “A”!

All in all, if you’re looking for a Marvel book that is something a little bit less super-heroey and more Lord of the Flies with little-to-no backstory needed then this is the book for you!

Welcome to Murder World…

Who will survive?

All images and characters depicted are copyright of their respective owners.

About Big Evil

"You now have my permission to die."

Posted on January 2, 2013, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I understand the death thing, and I feel for the Mettle fans out there because it definitely shocked me too. I also wondered if at the end of this whether Arcade hasn’t been killing them, but really just taking them off the board so to say. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle X23… Hell, she was built for this sort of thing!

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  2. I haven’t read the book yet, but do we know for sure that they’re dead? How do we know that at the end of the story, we won’t find out that this has all been some form of Matrix-style computer simulation? It does suck seeing your favorite characters getting killed off (you’re talking to a Peter Parker fan here), but if it serves a purpose of a larger story that is really good, then you have to take it with a grain of salt.

    Besides, it’s comics. Nobody dies for good. Ask any number of the New Mutants (Cypher, Warlock, Moonstar, Magik, etc…) or Jean Grey, or Professor X (who I guarantee isn’t staying dead). Sure it may take a little longer for the teen characters to come back, but at some point down the line, some writer or artist will come along and revive them because they were huge fans of them.

    Who knows, maybe at the end of AA, we’ll find out it was all really a “What If…” story.

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  3. “So here is the perfect opportunity to get rid of them.”

    Why, exactly, do they need to be gotten rid of? I was a huge fan of Avengers Academy. It was one of my favourite comics. Mettle and Hazmat were my second- and third-favourite characters in that book, and they had one of my favourite relationships in comics. So to see Mettle killed off so unceremoniously simply feels insulting. I didn’t want Mettle gotten rid of. I wanted to see Mettle and Hazmat continue to appear in comics.

    I hate seeing teenage characters killed off like this. It’s been happening for years. Teen characters get used as cannon fodder, cheap deaths to show how bad a villain is. And unlike the adult heroes, teen characters never seem to get to come back from the dead. Mettle’s been killed off, and odds are, I will never get to see him again. Much like how all the teens killed in New X-Men a few years ago have never been seen again.

    And this attitude that Marvel has of treating teens as cannon fodder, and Hopeless in particular just killing off a character with a devoted fanbase in the first issue (and then, in the second issue, randomly killing off another existing character rather than a brand new one), has me wondering why I’m supposed to care about any new teen characters Marvel ever comes up with. They’ve already told me that they’re just going to be killed off at some point. So why would I get emotionally invested? Why does Hopeless expect me to care about any of his new characters when I have no reason to expect any of them to survive to the end of the series anyway?

    No, this is a stupid, cynical, offensive concept, seemingly designed specifically to piss off fans of the characters appearing.

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