It's Cold Outside
The biggest complaint I see about this series is the trivilization of character death. Many people claim that characters are being killed off without creating emotional attachment for the sake of a brawl capitalizing on the recent success of The Hunger Games. But most of these people already have a fondness for the characters, these are a big group of fan favorites with dedicated fanbases. I am not part of any of those groups. I know absolutely zero about every single character save X-23 coming into this series, and my knowledge of her is still minimal. So I am very qualified to judge whether or not Dennis Hopeless is crafting emotional connections and making things significant. He is to an impressive degree.
The tone of this series is one more along the lines of tension and suspense instead of a bombastic 'battle royale.' These aren't a random group of youngsters, they're all established heroes in their own rights. Why would they fight each other without provocation? It's clear Arcade has a plan for that, and the growing tension is creating conflict; but it's about the TENSION not having the biggest fights. Each issue is giving us deep looks into each character one at a time, Mettle's death was truly tragic and I'd only known him for literally one issue. And the new Deathlocket.... you could make a drinking game out of the number of times she needs a big freaking hug. And now, Cammie.
The only complaint I have is that it appears there's a qualification to kill a character every issue, and with a cast of only 16..... that can't last too long. BUT, we don't yet know if the supposed death in this issue is confirmed or not.
Cammi definitely has my attention, she's an outsider, and a brilliant observer. She rigs her own fake camp and sleeps in the trees as she watches the rest of the players to find the one hunting the rest. She's extremely strategic with a stoic exterior, but there's a wounded outcast deep inside. We get to see a chunk of her backstory, though I'm not entirely sure what it's supposed to tell us. She has abilities only in space, or she's just trained only for lower gravity? It motivates her to improve her Earth self, though she seems to regret being stuck in her home planet. But her drive is intense and impressive.
In Conclusion: 4.5/5
I'm in love with Avengers Arena, and I have no history with the Runaways OR Avengers Academy. Hopeless is making me care deeply about everyone, and I'm really impressed with the intense emotional content of this series. The death is there, but the idea that it's a gimmick is only in people's heads. Marvel doesn't seem to be pushing the 'PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE' and Hopeless certainly isn't making the deaths flashy and insubstantial. He's taking great care to make them mean something, and the over hype focus on PEOPLE ARE GOING TO DIE seems to have been generated entirely by a disgruntled and possibly ignorant fanbase. Maybe I'm biased having no history; but let it be known that Hopeless is making me care so much about these characters; my desire to read Runaways and Avengers Academy is at an all time high.