pspin's Avengers Arena #4 - The Survivor review

Avengers Arena #4 Review

Avengers Arena #4 Review

Overview:

Nico and Chase try to make friends with the remnants of the Avengers Academy.

The Good:

The story is really good up until the end. The beginning and middle do the idea of being trapped on the island justice and is able to capture the kids questioning their morals and ideals. It also brings readers up to speed on the Runaways and Chase’s and Nico’s abilities.

Dennis Hopeless does a great job capturing the inner turmoil of Chase and Reptil. He makes what they are feeling realistic.

The art by Alessandro Vitti is great, a good fit for the issue by being serious but able to capture the emotion of the characters and even add a little visual humor when needed. When the art is combined with Frank Martin’s colors, it gets even better.

The Bad:

The cover is a lie.

I am a big Runaways fan so seeing Chase as not the happy-go-lucky, always-have-a-joke-despite-the-situation guy was a little disappointing. Also Nico seemed off, I can’t really place it but in the end she seemed off.

Which gets into the end; the end was disappointing. The Avengers Academy students seemed a little out of character and the almost-death was just stupid and got stupid reactions from those involved. The issue was going great but apparently Hopeless is taking rather extreme measures to show that there will be absolutely no “teaming up against the real bad guy” moments.

The anti-team-up sentiment gives off two vibes: the first is that Arcade is actively participating in the goings-on on the island and forcing the behavior of the kids, which kind of defeats the point of the series; and the second is that this is all a dream or simulation or something like that.

Verdict:

A solid issue for the series that has its ups and downs; there is some good writing but shaky characterization but it is helped by some great art. Overall the issue adds to the feeling of almost an alternate reality in the sense that in the long run something else is going on. I have theories but this is not the place for it. Overall it is pretty good though.

3 out of 5

2 Comments
Posted by akbogert

I'm a little curious, because yours isn't the first review I've read today (but it's one of very few here, so thanks for it ^_^), and you mentioned it: characterization.

I'm a rather vocal detractor of the series, and one thing that has bugged me is that Hopeless seems to be showing carelessness at best, and disdain at worst, for what these characters are supposed to be like. From your review it sounds like Nico & Chase both behave out of character (and from another review I understand that one more "special" feature of Murder World is that all of a sudden Nico's magic doesn't work properly); you also mention that the Academy kids seem out of character (and I've heard that Hazmat is showing little of any kind of reaction to Mettle's recent death). I know you suggested a possible explanation for so many characters behaving inappropriately, but it sounds to me (as a mere observer) that my fears that Hopeless really isn't doing these characters (which he is killing) justice.

I've also been told that Nico has the wrong staff and Chase has the wrong gloves. I've seen scans of X-23 with three claws instead of two. And of course Mettle died a bloody death despite a bloodless body.

So I guess my question is, do you really think there's a good explanation for all this inconsistency? Or is it possible that Hopeless really isn't making a point of valuing these characters?

Posted by pspin

@akbogert: Well there some of the differences you mention like Nico having the wrong staff that are correct, but it is only a slight cosmetic one, the biggest problem with that is the staff's lack of power. Chase's gloves have always looked a little different in each portrayal so that isn't a major one. I am not sure what you are talking about with X-23's claws, I have read every issue and couldn't find anything like that.

Some of the behavior differences could be attributed to the situation, which is what I did because they would, and should, act a little different in this type of situation.

As for a good explanation, yes I think Hopeless has a plan and a reason. I have read some of his works before and he isn't that bad of a writer to do things for pure shock value and nothing else but it is a long term plan that will be a bit painful for fans of characters. As for what is happening on the island, I would advise you to take a look at this article/blog/thing I wrote. http://www.comicvine.com/myvine/pspin/avengers-arena-theory/87-89473/

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