Those who miss Avengers Academy may actually enjoy this issue, even if they hate the concept of Avengers Arena. It’s written by guest writer Christos Gage as it focuses on the world outside of Arcade’s Murderworld. It explains why nobody has found Arcade’s lair yet, while featuring a number of welcoming cameos. This comic does exactly what it sets out to do, and it does it well.
Although there isn’t any fighting in Avengers Arena 13, there is a lot going on. The only two characters suspicious that something is wrong are Hank Pym and Molly of the Runaways. I don’t know much about Molly, but Hank is written perfectly in this issue. There are also cameos from other runaways, remaining Academy students, Captain Britain, Juston’s parents, Maria Hill of Shield and of course, Wolverine. This comic manages to not only explain why most people aren’t suspicious, but it touches on all the plot threads from the end of Academy’s series. Some of the reasons are a little stretched, but we’re talking about a world where time is broken – I’ll accept just about anything if it’s written well enough. Even with everything that’s happening though, this isn’t the least bit overcrowded and everything flows smoothly.
When compared to the first story arc in Avengers Academy, this issue really shows how much Christos Gage has grown as a writer. His pop culture references are also much less frequent than the first few issues of Academy, while at the same time they’re far more appropriate. All the cameos felt perfectly in character, while at times during Academy he had minor issues with characters he didn’t create. Also in two panels, Gage makes Wolverine’s school antics more entertaining than anything in WATXM 34.
This comic is so reminiscent of Avengers Academy that the discussion thread on comicbookresources mistakenly calls it “Avengers Academy 13” (as of this posting). If you miss that series, you should probably pick this issue up. If you’ve been reading Arena, this is a fairly important issue even if it doesn’t take place in Murderworld. It may not be a thrilling issue, but this series kind of needed a break from that anyway.