Avengers Arena, Volume 2: Game Onby Dennis Hopeless, Alessandro Vitti, Riccardo Burchielli, Kev Walker, Jason Gorder, Rain Beredo, Jean-Franois Beaulieu, Joe Car Published 24 Sep 2013
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The history of Arcade is revealed! How did the former punch line become the sadistic scene stealer that now torments Marvel's teen heroes? Find out in this shocking behind-the-scenes story! Plus: what are X-23's secrets? What is Darkhawk's big reveal? Secrets explode, alliances shatter, and Apex - the mean girl you love to hate - makes her move, as the next chapter of the Arena's deadly game begins!
Collecting: Avengers Arena 7-12
"Avengers Arena, Volume 2: Game On" Reviews
The casts of Avengers Academy and Runaways are still in Murderworld, an intricate closed environment filled with deathtraps created by the villain Arcade, and the last man standing deathmatch a la Battle Royale/Hunger Games continues. Some characters died in the first volume, some more die in the second, and probably a few more will die in the third. Dialogue is spoken in between fight scenes. It is a non-comical comic. My edition was printed on paper.
The first volume didn’t blow me away but I didn’t hate it as much as a number of readers did. Yes it’s derivative and totally unoriginal but I hoped it would keep going further, becoming trashier as the series went on. Alas, it hasn’t and now I join the ranks of readers who despise this series. The problem is that it’s trying to seem like a real series with real characters and, because it’s not accomplishing this, it’s become a real bore to read.
One of the biggest obstacles this series has is how unknown most of these characters are going to be for anyone who hasn’t read Avengers Academy/Runaways (like me!). We get Apex’s backstory and I can only say: was laughter the desired response? I don’t know who Chase is but every time he transforms into a lamer version of Iron Man – Darkhawk! – it’s a big deal, and I don’t get why. Dennis Hopeless is trying to make you care about characters you don’t know who’re given the barest of background information in a story about them all dying – it’s not an approach that works or should’ve even been attempted.
I suppose if you’re an Avengers Academy/Runaways fan already then this obstacle doesn’t exist for you, but those titles were both very low-selling comics for Marvel so I can only imagine that the majority of readers picking this up aren’t going to know who’s who and why we should care about their deaths.
There are some fights but unfortunately not enough death. The one series where Marvel could deliver more on their superhero fights than just boring stalemates and they flub it! Even when a certain character does bite it, they come back to life later on! Meanwhile, the ones that do die have been minor blips in the series so far so I barely noticed they’d gone when they had. And when they’re not fighting ineffectively, they’re bumming around on the beach! Is the subtitle, “Game On”, referring to a game of friendly volleyball or something?
I liked the opening issue explaining how and why Arcade came to create Murderworld. He’s definitely gone up in my estimation as a more interesting character because of this series and I wish he’d play a bigger part in the book given that the alternatives are so dreary. But one good issue out of six ain’t enough to recommend this book. It’s definitely not shaping up to be a must-read comic.
Avengers Arena Volume 2 sacrifices the potential craziness and fun of the silly concept to deliver a maudlin, lo-fi, and very dull book. It’s a disappointing addition to a series that could’ve been much more enjoyable if it had been handled a different way. Maybe it’ll mean more to Avengers Academy/Runaways fans but to everyone who’s not, the story is unlikely to make you care about these characters nor make you want to rush out and pick up those other books.
Ho hum, I guess I’ll go read the third volume for completion more than anything…
Not as good as the first one, but still moderately enjoyable. The concept has begun to feel familiar, though. At time, I kind of forgot that they were trapped in Murder World.
But this volume does reveal some character complexities, specifically of Nico, Katy/Apex, and Bloodstone. Bloodstone's is actually more character-driven, because we find out that [spoilers removed] Katy's and Nico's powers are revealed and enhanced in this one. Oh, and Arcade's pathetic backstory is revealed in this.
I think the reason that I am continuing this series is primarily because I liked the first volume and this story arc is only three volumes. And the two-volume arc that follows this looks interesting. And I have the third volume already sitting in front of me. So here goes nothing. No, scratch that. Hopefully , here goes something.
How will this end?!
This was even better than the first volume. We get a cool strategic "villain" type, which in turn causes other characters to bring out their big guns, upping the stakes and really getting the deathmatch going. Katy's and Nico's arcs are amazing in this volume. Not gonna spoil anything in this review though, so I'll keep my excitement contained.
Unfortunately, the art had some changeups. Luckily, it still looks great. Some amazing spreads in this one.
This series is just a lot of fun. Refer back to my review of volume 1 for a more in-depth review and an explanation of my score (tl;dr: IT'S FUN!!)
Things Nico did: That!
Still fun, but not as fun as the first volume. This series seems together dragged through the dirt by many reviewers, and I understand why, but also... it's not that bad. It's just mindless fun, but maybe I'm biased because Laura Kinney is my girl.
I really didn't care for the first volume.
On the other hand, I LOVED! LOVED! LOVED! Volume 2. I was unimpressed by the first volume, I almost hesitated from picking up the second volume---I was definitely going to read it in a Tony Stark blase fashion:
I LIKED the back story of the villain or AA Gamemaster. He IS a sucky villain, I love it! He's so sucky, he creates a sucky world, and puts little sucky teenagers to have an overload of hormones, problems, friendships, self-esteem/control-thyself-issues----and best yet, it's epic---turn on the other teammate issue.
OMG, YES, GIVE ME MORE!
I just love the twin twist, I love the British witch, the whole beach mirage life that crazy little Hazmat is dealing with---The Reptile kid... I mean, *OMG* It's like being stuck in high-school all over again, with people that I particularly do not LIKE (or may like) and we are all given superpowers----and a chaotic landscape where---no one's safe. I mean it's like Hunger Games fanfiction brought to life in comic book format. I think this volume worked well because the characters were more interesting, and the trashy friendships/triangles/teendrama was at the forefront.
I have so many plot theories going on right now---especially since they ended it with, "WAIT THEY MIGHT NOT BE DEAD?!" WHAT A LAB-BOR-A-TORY----orrrrr---
My favorite is debating the scenarios of either a) who will be the one b) who will be the power couple c) who will be the one to figure out how to 'unite everyone together...' GOD THERE ARE SO MANY DOORS! SO MANY---it was like thinking about the Community episode entitled: Remedial Chaos Theory
There's so many places this comic could go. Will they succeed my initial expectation of the series. ABSOLUTELY. Will it let me down---PROBABLY---but in the moment---I want to treasure this emotion: