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Avengers Arena #1 Review: Snatching Fire.

So I’m reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.  Apparently I’m not the only one:

That’s Arcade in today’s Avengers Arena from Marvel.  Yes, it’s The Hunger Games with super powers, and writer Dennis Hopeless is clearly not afraid of shining a meta-spotlight on the high concept.  Sixteen young heroes in Murderworld have thirty days to kill everyone else if they individually want to survive.  Or they could threaten to eat some berries or something.  The characters in approximate reverse order of fame are Darkhawk, X-23, Nico Minoru, Chase Stein, Reptil, Hazmat, Mettle, Juston Seyfert (and his Sentinel), Cammi, Kid Briton, Nara, Ryker, Anachronism, Bloodstone (not Elsa), Apex and Red Raven.

And... some more of Arcade's meta-commentary, above.  Avengers Academy only finished last month, and the concept of this new book is that only one of five of those Academics may survive.  Since Page 1 of this issue is a flashforward to Day 29, we know that at least X-23 and Hazmat make it that far.  X-23 is the female clone of Wolverine and Hazmat’s a living Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, so perhaps their longevity isn’t too surprising.  Runaways fans (of which I have been one since 2003) are no doubt going to be rooting for Nico and Chase.  And Ryker, the cute little Deathlok cyborg girl is set to be a new fan favourite regardless of whether or not she even survives another issue.  Because of its serialised nature, Avengers Arena may actually be structured like a reality TV show: kill one character an issue.  Two pages of this issue are devoted to breaking Scream’s first rule-to-successfully-survive-a horror-movie, so there may be some genre-logic to who will or will not survive.

If I ever got a job at Marvel, one of the concepts I planned to write about was a supervillain makeover crew, dedicated to taking villains who are a joke and making them an actual threat.  Arcade was the first character on their list.  And the best thing about Avengers Arena is that after thirty-four years of looking like a ginger seventies sideshow ventriloquist’s dummy, Arcade has finally been visited by Queer Eye For The Bad Guy.  He let his hair grow long, lost some weight, bought a fitted suit and got rid of the stupid bowtie.  He looks like a serious supervillain and a serious threat, which is what this series needs.  Kev Walker’s art makes Arcade scary for the first time.

Well done, Hopeless and Walker - I look forward to issue #2.  (Just as long as you don’t kill Ryker.)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2012 01:40 am (UTC)
My further thoughts about Avengers Academy are in the comments here: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2012/12/13/what-i-bought-12-december-2012/ (In my guise as Drancron.)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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