Avengers Arena 2 review


Two issues into Avengers Arena and there are already two deaths. Mettle died in the first issue to protect Hazmat from Arcade’s lethal demonstration of power. The remaining 14 teenagers remain trapped in an unknown location with no apparent means of escape, under threat that in 30 days, only one of them can leave alive. This issue’s death isn’t much of a spoiler – it actually appears in the preview pages. How does the rest of this issue fare though?

This issue is actually very good. It mostly focuses on Death Locket. We learn about her past and her thoughts on her situation. The storytelling and characterization are great here, and by the end of this issue you might find yourself cheering for this new character. This issue also introduces the Braddock Academy and gives the group some basic character traits. Cammi and Hazmat both have minor rolls, otherwise there is very little from pre-existing characters in this issue. If Avengers Arena 2 is anything to go by, this series will be character driven for the most part. Despite its significantly darker nature, this issue feels somewhat like a continuation of Avengers Academy.

Red Raven, one of the new characters, is killed in this issue by the ceiling force-field. We know very little about Red Raven, other than the fact that she could fly. Red Raven’s death serves a purpose however, to further illustrate that the remaining teenagers are trapped in Arcade’s Murderworld.

The art is very good as well. Death Locket’s appearance in particular shines in this issue – it’s just as telling of her character as her internal monologues and flashbacks are. Her friendly demeanor shines through her warm smiles and panda shirt, while her death machine bits remind us of how deadly she could be and what she’s been through. In some panels, the art does more storytelling than Dennis Hopeless’s writing does. Character expressions are handled very well – that includes the deceased Red Raven and the angry members of the Avengers Academy. The backgrounds offer an atmospheric feel that enhances the dark mood of the book.

If the first issue angered you or you hate this book’s concept, this issue will not change your mind about the series. I’m not fully convinced that I’ll like this series myself, but as long as it’s at least OK I’ll stick with it as long as X-23 is alive. It’s still difficult to see this as an ongoing series as it will obviously end at one point.

This issue is more about characters than anything else. If you like the idea of a comic series featuring super-powered teenagers in a Battle Royale/Hunger Games like situation, you should definitely check this series out. Avengers Arena won’t be for everyone – Dennis Hopeless himself said so in the letter column. From a pure quality standpoint though, this series is pretty good so far.

About healed1337

I am a relatively new comic book fan writing this blog for other new comic book fans and/or people who are interested in comics but don't know where to start. I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I have a college Creative Writing Certificate and I'm currently a year 2 Journalism student. I also have another blog where I mostly make fun of bad movies - www.healed1337.blogspot.com As for how I got into comics, I've always had a passing interest in superheroes: most notably Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men. Until February of 2011 (I think,) my only experience with any of these franchises came from the movies and video games. Shortly after I bought Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 however, I decided to check out X-23, Wolverine's female clone. I ended up reading her Innocence Lost origin story and enjoyed it. From there, I started reading various X-Men comics and it quickly exploded into my newest hobby. My other interests/hobbies include video games, movies, music, playing sports, my dogs and weird news.
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5 Responses to Avengers Arena 2 review

  1. Pingback: Comics of December 19, 2012 | healed1337

  2. xmenxpert says:

    Red Raven wasn’t actually completely new. She had two previous appearances. But she’s basically a non-character. Still, shame that Hopeless just killed her off like that. Especially since that means he’s now killed two existing characters, rather than just kill off a brand-new character.

    As for Deathlocket, I don’t care. Why would I care? She’s going to die, so why would I get emotionally invested in her? Hopeless has killed off a character I already loved, for cheap shocks, so why would I give a damn about one of his brand-new characters? I don’t like any of the new characters. The Braddock Academy kids all grated on my nerves right off the bat – I hate them all already.

    But yeah. The way he killed off Mettle, right off the bat, in such an insulting way, has me actually wondering why Hopeless thinks anyone will care about his new characters. Besides which, I am sick and tired of teen characters being used as cannon fodder, killed off to show how dangerous and evil a villain is. Unlike adults characters, teen heroes almost never get brough back. How many teen characters can you think of who’ve come back from the dead? Because I can name two: Cypher and Blink. So Hopeless killing off another bunch of teen heroes, who will almost certainly never be brought back, is just sending fans the message, once again, that we shouldn’t buy books about teen characters, because they’ll all die eventually anyway.


  3. Colleen says:

    I am really digging this series so far! Perhaps it is because I don’t really love the Avengers Academy characters in the first place. Actually, I’m more interested in the new Braddock Academy characters, especially Anachronism and Kid Briton. I don’t see why they would risk trusting an outsider though. The writing and are very good and along with All New X-Men this is my favorite Marvel NOW book so far.

    As for the above poster, I did not find Mettle’s death cheap or insulting. Actually, it was heartbreaking which means good storytelling.

    P.S. Is Red Raven really dead? She looked f’ed up after crashing into the ceiling but not sure she died.


    • xmenxpert says:

      Academy was one of my favourite books, not just of the last few years, but probably ever. It was a wonderful, hopeful book, with great, complex characters. Mettle and Hazmat were my second and third favourite characters from the book (behind Finesse, who needs to land somewhere, because she’s just amazing), and they had one of my favourite relationships in comic books.

      And then Hopeless goes and kills Mettle off as a cheap shock. Some Academy fans probably bought the book purely because they love Mettle and Hazmat, and one of them’s already dead. And Hazmat looks like she’ll die on day 29. There’s no way Juston will survive. So that means X-23 and Reptil are the only Academy characters who might survive this book. And no one’s going to root for Reptil.

      And killing Mettle actually strikes me as bad storytelling. He and Hazmat were a strong couple. Seeing how their relationship survives the situation they’re in would’ve been far, far more interesting than Hazmat grieving. But apparently, Hopeless just hates happiness.


  4. healed1337 says:

    I’m guessing that if her health bar is empty, that means she’s dead. If she’s not, then I stand to be corrected.

    xmenexpert is allowed to feel insulted by Mettle’s death, and if you check some of the comic forums online, you’ll know he’s definately not the only one. If you don’t care much about the Academy kids and you still found his death heartbreaking, then it does mean good storytelling. I’m kind of in the middle myself – I like the Academy kids, but none of them are among my favourite characters.


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