Catching up: Avengers Arena

The only specifically non-X-Men title I’m currently reading, I picked up Casey’s first few issues of the title and was drawn in enough to keep reading.  The premise is simple – Arcade nabs a bunch of teenage heroes and drops them into Murderworld and tells them to kill each other until only one remains.  Does that premise sound familiar?  Perhaps the montage images used for the cover, like Battle Royale for the first issue seen above, will jog your memory.

The kids grabbed were Avengers Academy‘s Hazmat, Mettle, Reptil, Juston and X-23; Runaway‘s Nico and Chase; various Marvel teenage characters Darkhawk, Cammi, and Red Raven; and new characters Anachronism, Apex, Cullen Bloodstone, Death Locket, Kid Briton, and Nara that to my knowledge were created for this title.  True to the book’s premise, four of the characters have been killed thus far, a fifth has died and come back, and one is currently MIA.

This is usually the kind of title that really disgusts me, killing off characters that aren’t being used elsewhere, but I’ve really been enjoying this title.  One of the reasons is that it’s been doing a hell of a good job making the kids likable characters, so when one finds themselves in danger of being killed, it really tugs at the reader.  Two of the deaths in particular had me yelling at a comic, which is something that I simply don’t do these days.

The other aspect is that since the very beginning of the title, it has seemed like there’s far more going on than simply a death-fest to alleviate Arcade’s boredom.  I keep looking for any kind of little hint of what’s going on, and issue 12 left us with a cliffhanger as to what that might be.

Surprisingly enough to me, this has been a fun read and one of my recommendations to anyone looking for a new book to pick up.

Next up: Cable and X-Force

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3 comments

  1. I hate the premise of this book. I especially hate it because teen characters so seldom get to come back from the dead.Cypher, Blink and Magik are about the only ones I can think of. And all of them took at least 15 years. So when Marvel kills a teen character, the character basically stays dead. So the odds are against me ever getting to see Mettle again. I loved that character, and Hopeless just killed him off in the first issue, and I’m probably never going to get to see him again. Red Raven’s death was one of the most disgustingly disrespectful deaths I’ve ever read in a comic.

    This book just further cements the idea of teen characters as cannon fodder, fit only to be killed off. And as someone who loves teen characters, that just pisses me off to no end.

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    1. I completely agree. If this book ends and all the killed characters are still dead I will be pissed to no end. It reminds me of when Superboy Prime ripped through the Titans during whichever Crisis.

      I just can’t shake the feeling that there’s more going on here.

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      1. The problem is if they do all come back to life, then it’s a cheap bait-and-switch. This is a no-win situation. Either the characters are dead, in which case it’s a piss-off, or they’re alive, in which case it’s a piss-off.

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