Avengers Arena 3

AA2012003_DC11

From a quality standpoint alone, the first two issues of Avengers Arena were actually very good. The first issue turned Arcade into a legitimate villain, while the second issue did a great job at introducing Death Locket to readers. Mettle willingly sacrificed himself in the first issue so that Hazmat could live, and it’s likely we’ll see his legacy live on through her. The second issue’s death left a different kind of legacy – one where we’ll never know much about the new Red Raven or what her story is. Sure, if you hate the concept of this book you likely hated the first two issues. If you’re not attached to any of these characters before reading AA however, the first two issues were good. How does Avengers Arena 3 fare though?

This issue isn’t as good as the first two. Cammi is the central focus of this issue, and her flashbacks with Agent Brand felt a bit … forced. She’s almost portrayed as a stereotypical action movie hero, who happens to be a 13-year-old girl. Sure, her intelligence is on display as she investigates the unknown threat, but there isn’t much depth to her personality. Darkhawk has a minor role in this issue and he’s significantly more interesting, even though he only has two short scenes.

The advertised fights in the solicitations were somewhat disappointing, but that’s more a fault with the marketing than Dennis Hopeless’ writing. We don’t really see much of the Sentinel fight, and the X-23 vs. Cammi fight was over in three panels. It was nice to see X-23 work her tactical skills though – we haven’t seen much of that since X-Force volume 3.

There is a potential death scene in this issue, but it’s not entirely clear on whether the character was killed or not. Either way, it feels like a waste. He/she is a well-established character with his/her own fan base, and is potentially killed by the unknown enemy (which isn’t fully revealed in this issue) with barely any introduction. This death will likely upset some readers – be warned. It didn’t bother me too much, but that’s only because I’ve never read anything with that character before. Spoiler – Darkhawk – end spoiler.

The art is nearly perfect. The environmental work is good and the facial work is excellent. The flashback scenes have a nice dream-like blur. Even in the darker scenes, it’s always easy to tell what’s going on and which characters you’re looking at. I can’t think of any art related complaints.

While this series seems to remain character focused, this issue doesn’t do that good of a job at making us care about Cammi. Avengers Arena 3 is otherwise good from a quality standpoint, yet it’s pretty much guaranteed to anger certain readers. If you’re already a fan of any characters in Avengers Arena, you’ve likely made up your mind already. For anyone else, it’s a Battle Royale/Hunger Games type series about teenaged superheroes. If that interests you, this series is worth checking out.

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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3 Responses to Avengers Arena 3

  1. Pingback: Comics of January 9, 2013 | healed1337

  2. xmenxpert says:

    The issue also makes it seem like Juston might be dead, in addition to Darkhawk. Setting aside the offensive premise and the waste of perfectly good characters, I actually have other problems with this series, and this issue made those problems very obvious.

    The choice to have a focal character in each issue might be a mistake. Avengers Academy started that way, with each of its first 6 issues largely dedicated to a single character. It worked because there were only 6 characters, and we still got insight into the others at the same time. Arena has too big a cast for the strategy to work. We simply don’t have the time for all the characters to get their own issues (even with them getting killed off all over the place), and the current method just isn’t giving a real insight into the other characters.

    Another problem is a lack of follow-up. The first issue ended with Mettle being brutally murdered right in front of Hazmat. The second issue gave barely any time to Hazmat’s grief. A couple panels of her looking said, and then a fight with Deathlocket. Hazmat and Mettle both deserved a lot better than that. Hazmat deserved to have her grief shown, and Mettle deserved to have his death followed up on in some way.

    This series, even aside from its offensive premise, just seems to be full of missed opportunities for good, deep, character-based storytelling.

    Like

  3. healed1337 says:

    While I’m sure Hopeless does intend to follow up on Mettle’s death more at some point, you make a good point that I didn’t think of. Even if the second issue was mostly focused on Death Locket, there probably should have been at least a page or two focusing on the Academy’s grief. They should deal with it soon, with an issue that focuses on another Academy character if not Hazmat.

    Don’t get me wrong with the relatively positive review – this series is on thin ice with me. By focusing one character at a time with this large of a cast could work against AA’s flow if Hopeless isn’t careful, and if Darkhawk’s supposed death isn’t at least touched on soon, that will make it a meaningless death. I doubt that Juston is killed but if he was, that would definitely count as a cheap death and it would be a strong motivator towards dropping the title (and I don’t even care that much about Juston).

    It’s just that for the sake of the review, I’m trying to set aside my personal feelings for the Academy kids – I like them too, and I’d rather as many of them survive as possible.

    You also gave legitimate reasons to dislike this series, unlike most of the raging commenters on various comic forums on the internet.

    Like

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