"You won't want to miss this," they said.

Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

First, I was going to add this to the end of Hopeless. Heartless. Careless?. But I'd already double-posted there (just yesterday, mind you -- so check the end of OP or the most recent comment if you care), and CV wouldn't let me triple-post.

I then resolved to mention it in the blog I considered inevitable based on the solicits and interviews pointing to the "shocking conclusion" of Issue #6, which came out today. But as it turns out, today's issue may actually have been a pretty exemplar one, the one real bone I have with it having already been brought up elsewhere (that Arcade manufacturing his own working Trigger Scent recipe is outright PIS which simply serves Hopeless' need to make Laura a killer or pariah and ignores the canonical difficulties of replicating or acquiring TS).

So here we are. I'm going to bring it up here. It's a simple point, and one I don't want getting lost in a sea of other ones. I want this front and center.

See, I'm frequently accused of overreacting about Avengers Arena. And despite the fact that I've said ad nauseum that I understand there is more to this book than "just killing," people who argue with me inevitably still say "this book isn't just about killing." But, I say, it's still about killing -- killing is still an intrinsic part. "But only two people have died," they say. Well, three, if they say it today. So they're dying slowly. Doesn't mean they're not dying.

This weekend I got lucky enough to click my way into about 200 free comics before Marvel's promotion destroyed servers. This allowed me a great opportunity to, among things, check out some books I was on the fence about, and some books I refused to put money towards but would like to see how they were being handled. Avengers Arena #1 was actually one such book. I have now read it. I've read the comments sections. My thoughts on the matter can be found in the aforementioned addendum to my last blog. I expected that to be the end of thinking of Arena, but then I got to the back of Avengers #1, and I found this:

Also making its debut this month is Avengers Arena #1! For those fans who complain that Marvel has too many young heroes in our stable, Arcade is out to do something about it -- by imprisoning sixteen of them on Murderworld Island and forcing them all to fight to the death! ... So if you're a fan of Hazmat, Darkhawk, the Runaways, Mettle, Cammi and Nico -- or if you can't stand the sight of 'em -- AVENGERS ARENA's got something you won't want to miss! [emphasis added]

Read that over again. Let it sink in. It's old news in many respects, but it's there, and it happened.

This, folks, is how Marvel marketed its own book.

I understand that people wanted me to formulate my opinions based on firsthand experience. But now that I've done so, I'm honestly confused. What, precisely, was I expected to find that would change my mind? Where is this cache of good will that I've been missing? Every qualm I have seems to be justified.

Solicits lie, the devil's advocate says.

Yeah, that's true, they do.

But this isn't that simple.

What we're looking at here is a company listing a group of characters and -- pay attention -- actively advertising a book with those characters to people who hate them and think they're superfluous. Guaranteeing that that audience won't want to miss what happens to the characters they hate.

Think about that.

Are you still going to sit there and tell me I've got this all wrong?

-----

(PS -- I really did write a considerable amount regarding my experience with AA No. 1 in that other thread. I'd definitely appreciate if people also took the time to read that and maybe address it as well)

#1 Posted by Aiden Cross (15562 posts) - - Show Bio

You make a good point there. If i were Marvel i would've taken a different approach like: "if you want to know if your favourite character makes it out alive, you don't want to miss this!". Basically the same thing, but in a more positive manner. Plus you don't run the risk to offend people who love the characters.

#2 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Aiden Cross: I mean...

The whole premise of the book is already a slap in the face to fans. The notion of taunting a readership not with the potential for death, but with the guarantee of it, just uncertainty as to whom or how many...that's bad enough.

But I have never heard of anyone in any medium marketing the book specifically for people who hate characters. By saying "If you hate them, you won't want to miss this," you implicitly state "if you love them, you're going to be pretty upset."

#3 Posted by Aiden Cross (15562 posts) - - Show Bio

Which is odd.. Because if you didn't like them in the first place why would you read them now? Just to see them get killed off? That's a bit... Vindictive..

#4 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Aiden Cross: Welcome to my point of view.

#5 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29499 posts) - - Show Bio

That's what I admire about the book's advertising (I'm not reading it.) So little f**ks given.

It's like an invitation to a superhero cockfight. Except legal.

#6 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@InnerVenom123: I suppose your definition of admirable and my own are a bit different.

I have difficulty admiring the perspective that it's acceptable to give a huge middle finger to the people who are directly responsible for your financial success and popularity.

But hey, who needs fans, right?

#7 Posted by Pyrogram (36304 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: Nice blog, this was very interesting. But

See, I'm frequently accused of overreacting about Avengers Arena.

You do :P

#8 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Pyrogram: I am having the precise reaction Marvel expected me to have.

#9 Posted by Pyrogram (36304 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: Fact.

#10 Posted by impossibilly (885 posts) - - Show Bio

I enjoy reading Avengers Arena, but I also enjoy reading your thoughts about Avengers Arena each month here on Comic Vine.

#11 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@impossibilly: Thank you :)

In complete honesty, if I didn't have the attachment I do to the characters, I would probably not be able to help myself picking up more. The art is mind-blowingly good and while I loathe what Hopeless is writing, I did enjoy (in the issue I read) how he writes.

#12 Posted by lykopis (10753 posts) - - Show Bio

I just have to nod my head. I don't know what else to do. I am aware of those lovely sentences --- which is why I told you your take on this was spot on -- even for someone who wasn't reading the series.

#13 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@lykopis: I tend to enjoy being right, but this case continues to prove itself an exception.

#14 Posted by Joygirl (19299 posts) - - Show Bio

I find it funny that nobody ever reacts this way to Suicide Squad.

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#15 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl: All it takes is one angry fan to care enough to write such a reaction...

*hint hint*

#16 Posted by Joygirl (19299 posts) - - Show Bio

@akbogert: Oh, the new series, I have already made my feelings very well known. I just mean how the series has, since its conception, followed the axiom of "who will die next?"

Online
#17 Posted by akbogert (3215 posts) - - Show Bio

@Joygirl: In that case I'm confused; if you reacted this way, then you can't say "nobody ever reacts this way."

For what it's worth, as we've probably discussed, I find the notion of Suicide Squad horrible as well; it just hasn't touched me personally, so I obviously haven't had anything to say about it.

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