Avengers Arena #10

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#51 Posted by madfriday (5 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: In a 16-contestant game, 8 of the characters are women. Do you know how many comics out there that aren't specifically marketed towards women have equal representation? True that a few new ones have shown up, but the general trend is still slanted WAY towards men, so this being roughly equal is still pretty awesome. Women currently fill the roles of 'bad guy with most screen time', ''brooding repentant tough good guy with social issues', 'leader of the ragtag bunch of misfits', 'the good guy who actually seem(ed) to have a small chance at taking down the bad guy while the men watched helplessly', as well as most of the point of view characters. The fact that Nico died a dramatic death heroically saving her teammates while incidentally also motivating her white male friend to avenge her doesn't diminish the fact that this book has very strong gender representation.

Plus, if we're talking stuffed into the fridge, Mettle.

#52 Edited by akbogert (3224 posts) - - Show Bio

@madfriday: It is not an honor to be included in a book specifically marketed as a culling of unpopular character (something I've cited multiple times as of late, so I won't try to source it again, but yes, the book was marketed as a way of killing off young heroes). In fact, given the fact that most of the characters included in the book are going to die, the fact that an equal number of women were included means that the overall Marvel equation of male to female characters has actually been made more uneven than it previously would have been. Nico was one of the most powerful and inspiration characters in Marvel's canon and having her die cannot be seen as a benefit to her or to Marvel in any way.

To quote a small part of the essay I'm writing on the subject, specifically regarding why Nico's death is not praiseworthy:

Not only does Nico not recall her staff, but she proceeds to spend several pages exhausting (and ultimately killing) herself in the process of trying to reach it. This exertion was fundamentally unnecessary, and there is no reason whatsoever for it. For Nico to die struggling towards an object she has an established ability to will into her arms is akin to The Flash getting hit by a car he saw coming because he decided to walk slowly across the street instead of just dashing to the other side. Sure, there are some characters whose deaths could be gripping and dramatic as they attempted to reach some important Thing before it was Too Late, but this is not one of those situations, and the absurdity of the entire setup strips it of any narrative power it tried to have.

As for Mettle, I absolutely agree he was fridged and I've said as much multiple times on this site. You are new, so I don't expect you to have seen them, but check out my blogs some time because this is hardly the first disrespectful thing I've complained about. The fact that some people still don't think Mettle's death counts as fridging blows my mind.

#53 Edited by madfriday (5 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: Of course it isn't an honour to be included in the murder book, but if it's going to happen women really should still be involved. Same argument as letting women serve in the army front lines. The fact that several women will undoubtedly be killed off doesn't change the fact that a culture is developing where more and more books are saying 'we gots to get the women-folk. Someone find me a relevant and compelling women to fill this narrative role pronto!'. So even if the current stock of women are being depleted by this book, more will be created to fill the gaps, and in ten years time they'll be just as established and well-loved as the current members we're losing in Hopeless' Battle Royale rip-off.

As for Nico's death, comic book nitpickery doesn't detract from the emotion of the scene. When I read that, I was not thinking 'hey! this seemingly violates past canon written almost a decade ago!' I was thinking 'Oh.. oh no. Please Nico, just make it to the staff and say "medical attention" or something! Oh, the numerous and heart-hurting feels!' She hasn't been cutting herself and saying 'with the drop of my blood or something, let my magic stick erupt from my chest in a disturbing fashion!' either. I'm not sure where's she's displayed the ability to telekinetically summon the staff to her either; it didn't happen when Alex Wilder had her staff in Runaways 17 (V1), and it didn't happen when Monk Thepple took it from her in Runaways 9 (V3).

As for Mettle being fridged, tropes are not bad. Fridging itself isn't inherently sexist, it's just that when it happens again and again and again to the same gender it starts seeming sexist. So Mettle's death, from a certain point of view, is actually progressive :D

#54 Posted by akbogert (3224 posts) - - Show Bio

@madfriday: The fact that you just referred to what I said as "comic book nitpickery" suggests that we have no useful conversation left between us on this subject. Intentional or not the contemptuous nature of your second paragraph in particular is likely to incite an emotional response that I'm not comfortable trying to debate while under the influence of.

As for your argument that "if [a murder book is] going to happen women really should still be involved," I honestly do not know what to say to that.

#55 Edited by Zomboner (12 posts) - - Show Bio

I just wanted to show some solidarity for my fellow Avengers Arena fans. This wasn't my favorite issue (really looking forward to the return of Walker on art), but this remains my favorite comic.

#56 Edited by papad1992 (6832 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert said:

@papad1992: I will simply reiterate my previous statement. Whether I am buying the book or not, the claims I make are ostensibly factual. If you, a reader of the book, can disprove what I say happens in the book, feel free to do so. Does my not having read the book seem to have kept me from knowing, in detail, what happened to Nico? Does it keep me from discussing Nico's pre-established characterization and power set, and contrasting that with what Hopeless did in this issue? Of course not.

Marvel will not cancel a book which is selling well. Which means if I want the book cancelled, the best thing I can do is to not buy it, and to ask other people not to buy it. Buying the book helps its numbers, which in turn undermines my effort to get it cancelled. Which is why, yes, if I were buying it, I would have less of an excuse to be upset -- because I would be complaining about myself as much as anyone else.

And I will reiterate my previous statements as well. A person who is not reading the series but is getting their information second-handedly is not the same as someone who buys/read/experiences the book first-hand. It does not give you enough merit to talk (complain) about what you heard or think might happen, it only gives you enough insight as to what has happened. And you still haven't answered my question... How many, of the ten issues, have you bought?

The fact that you keep mentioning that you want to spread your cancerous messages amongst other readers of the book to not buy/read it is extremely hopeless (haha). Unless you know these users/bloggers/comic book enthusiasts, then they will only read your complaints, and ignore another hater. You can't make anyone do anything. You can only influence them through the various machinations of your disapproving mind. Which are to no avail, in my eyes. All you come off across as is a hater, nothing more, nothing less.

#57 Posted by akbogert (3224 posts) - - Show Bio

@papad1992: Perhaps our definitions of hopelessness and futility differ. As of right now my latest blog on the subject has been viewed over 250 times (in less than 24 hours) by people in over 20 different countries. I've been linked to on CBR, 4Chan, Tumblr, Twitter, and other sites. Again, in less than 24 hours.

I have bought none of the issues. I got the first issue for free through Marvel's 700 promotion and read that (and published a blog in which I pointed out how actually reading the issue had not changed anything I'd previously said about it). The rest I have read scans of the pages which were important -- this particular one I've seen the final five pages of the issue because they were posted online. This is an entirely irrelevant line of discussion. If I said something wrong, point it out. Make me look like an idiot for thinking I can talk about what happened when in fact the events in the book were quite different. For five months no one has done that because even though I haven't read the books I have consistently been accurate in my understanding of what happens in them. I have also made successful predictions of things that would happen.

#58 Posted by unicornpuncher (418 posts) - - Show Bio

I am always excited and look forward to this title every month. I like that its gritty, high stakes and realistic in mixed emotions for a hunger games style competition with a whole bunch of characters that were going to be shipped off to limbo d-list anyway, so why not have some fun with them first?

For everyone who is providing criticism and hasnt even read the book because of their fond Avengers Academy or Runaways fandom, you guys are really missing out. Yes some of your favorite people are going to die, but this isnt too different from Kyle and Yost's run on new x-men where the new teen mutants were dying left and right, both the ones you were attached to and the ones you werent. So if you are going to talk about the book, actually make sure you have read it and not just blurbs about what it is and stuff in this thread.

As far as the out of character stuff people are complaining about, you have to remember hopeless is juggling a dozen characters, half of them that are new and need background stories and interrelation with other characters so we can start to learn about them. I feel like your love of the characters is overshadowing the fact that this guy is doing a bang up job on making this story move and getting people invested into it.

The more I see people freaking out on the boards, the more I have to give applause. You guys are responding just like Hopeless wanted you to. He wants you to take notice, get invested and have a strong opinion about his story so its not just another weak " teenager coming to terms with power" book. Theres enough of that out there. This is kids who already have realized their abilities and a peek into how they will play the game when it comes down to it.

I really enjoy this book and wish it nothing but success and to keep the story entertaining. Its the second on my pull list right under morning glories.

#59 Posted by akbogert (3224 posts) - - Show Bio

@unicornpuncher: You are welcome to your opinion, but you do yourself a disservice if you dismiss people without actually knowing what it is they say. As I said earlier, if my not reading the book has led me to say things about it which are untrue, then call out those specific things; don't resort to ad hominem attacks on my capacity to have a grip on the situation.

When someone is written out of character, it's annoying, but forgivable. But when they are written grossly out of character -- to the point where it directly contradicts who the character is -- and that mischaracterization results in them being either killed or seriously injured, then it is a big deal and isn't justified by anything else in the story.

As has been pointed out by others, the anger has nothing to do with Hopeless' skill and it proves nothing about his success as a writer. Other writers have made us love the characters, and our fury at his handling of them is because of those who have come before and how he has not honored them. There's simply nothing to the suggestion that anger proves Hopeless is doing well.

#60 Edited by frogjitsu (481 posts) - - Show Bio

I love X-23 and Darkhawk and the Runaways, and most teen superheros in general and will not support a book that is themed on their demise. Good Day.

#61 Posted by Calligraph (16 posts) - - Show Bio
#62 Posted by imjayvee (1 posts) - - Show Bio

A funny thought occurred to me. Dennis Hopeless and George R.R. Martin must be toasting each other and laughing at all of us.

But seriously as a fan of the Avengers Academy series this turn into Avengers Arena could have been played out a lot better. Battle Royale, Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games are designed for that emotional attachment built through the tale which with this issue I found sorely lacking from what happened in the previous issue.

#63 Posted by papad1992 (6832 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert said:

@papad1992: Perhaps our definitions of hopelessness and futility differ. As of right now my latest blog on the subject has been viewed over 250 times (in less than 24 hours) by people in over 20 different countries. I've been linked to on CBR, 4Chan, Tumblr, Twitter, and other sites. Again, in less than 24 hours.

I have bought none of the issues. I got the first issue for free through Marvel's 700 promotion and read that (and published a blog in which I pointed out how actually reading the issue had not changed anything I'd previously said about it). The rest I have read scans of the pages which were important -- this particular one I've seen the final five pages of the issue because they were posted online. This is an entirely irrelevant line of discussion. If I said something wrong, point it out. Make me look like an idiot for thinking I can talk about what happened when in fact the events in the book were quite different. For five months no one has done that because even though I haven't read the books I have consistently been accurate in my understanding of what happens in them. I have also made successful predictions of things that would happen.

Ok you clearly have some issues you need to workout. I get your opinion is your opinion but this is only a comic book... people take these matters TOO seriously. They are meant to make money, entertain its fans (not its haters), and create an atmosphere for enjoyment and discussion. There is no need to publicize and spread around how many people have viewed you contemplative blog, nor does it matter how many sites you are linked to. These are just comic books merely for entertainment. And for an English major, surely you can tell the difference of when to apply harsh critique to fiction and non-fiction. The book is still going to be printed no matter what anyone says (or at least until Hopeless/MARVEL run out of ideas). So speak your mind but don't let this book consume you, like it apparently is.

#64 Posted by akbogert (3224 posts) - - Show Bio

@papad1992: You told me that unless people knew me, they would ignore me. I simply pointed out how extensively false that was; that tons of people who don't know me still seemed to be interested in hearing me out. And you should be right about comics being meant to entertain fans, but in this case of this book it was advertised to haters, at the expense of character fans' emotions. If so much of the discussion about Avengers Arena is tied to a lack of enjoyment, that is a problem with the book and the atmosphere it creates; not with people responding to it.

#65 Posted by papad1992 (6832 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert said:

@papad1992: You told me that unless people knew me, they would ignore me. I simply pointed out how extensively false that was; that tons of people who don't know me still seemed to be interested in hearing me out. And you should be right about comics being meant to entertain fans, but in this case of this book it was advertised to haters, at the expense of character fans' emotions. If so much of the discussion about Avengers Arena is tied to a lack of enjoyment, that is a problem with the book and the atmosphere it creates; not with people responding to it.

Well either way, now I think that you have some serious fiction vs non-fiction problems. I mean, to put as much effort as you are doing into convincing your fellow "readers" about how this book needs to end or receive the cancellation stamp and to not read it anymore, is a bit bizarre and overbearing.

#66 Edited by akbogert (3224 posts) - - Show Bio

@papad1992: Considering my most recent blog, I find what you just said more than a little amusing. It's not the first time I've been accused of lacking a capacity to dissociate fact from fiction; it won't be the last. I suppose I'll have to get used to it, baseless as it may be.

#67 Posted by papad1992 (6832 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert said:

@papad1992: Considering my most recent blog, I find what you just said more than a little amusing. It's not the first time I've been accused of lacking a capacity to dissociate fact from fiction; it won't be the last. I suppose I'll have to get used to it, baseless as it may be.

Well you know what they say, if more than one person states you are a little unhinged... then it must be true!

#68 Edited by lykopis (10746 posts) - - Show Bio

I am pretty late to the party it seems. :/

First off, spot on review. Thank you very much for touching base on what I had problems with -- there was so much wrong with this issue -- it was page after page of WTF. Seriously, it was what went through my mind to the point where I said the words aloud with a real sense of disbelief.

This is my last purchased book of the series. Which says a lot considering it's the only book where I can see my X-23. But there comes a point where it's just too much and I've reached it here. Juston, Sentinel, Cammie, Chase, X-23 and Nico -- all just pretty much turned inside out...I can't do it anymore.

There isn't enough female characters, particularly teenage ones who have held positions of leadership in the Marvel Universe presently and killing Nico -- someone with a rich history in the Marvel Universe with a strong fanbase who have been waiting for a Runaways resurgence feels like a slap to the face. I really, really liked her character -- someone who had all the right ingredients, such potential ....

F*ck it. What's the point? It's been said to almost ad nauseam.

Great review.

#69 Edited by spacebat (5 posts) - - Show Bio

Bad writing can be forgiven if there is a genuinely novel story to be told. Except Avenger's Arena is no more than the flagrant Plagiarism of Koushun Takami's Battle Royale and I am not one to use the word plagiarism lightly. Lets shed some light on the meaning of the word plagiarism; Plagiarism is the "wrongful appropriation, purloining and publication of another author's: language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions." I want to emphasize the use of the word wrongful as wrongful is the operative word here, there is nothing right about this series, the writing is terrible. There is however MUCH that is wrong.

We often like to refer to writers Like Dan Brown , Suzanne Collins or J.K. Rowling (the Harry Potter series eerie similarities to Gaiman's Books of Magic) when using the phrase “taking creative liberties”. Hopeless manages to “take creative liberties" to a new low. Unlike these other writers, Hopeless not only suffers from a lack of creativity, but a lack of research; Nico has already used the phrase “Freeze” and “Chill Out”, Arcade has no Superpowers and to use the literary invention of miss coriander to wizard a god-modding Arcade into the comics storyline in order to explain away Arcade’s sudden arsenal of super powers and force readers into accepting a completely uncanonical scenario, is simply bad story-telling.

Killing off one of the most loved characters from one of Marvel's more successful series was the nail in the coffin for me. I'm glad they chose Hopeless to write this, his name is an excellent summation of what I think of this series... utterly hopeless.

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