Some people, probably most, are very angry and vocal about their dislike for the series Avengers Arena for either killing their favorite character or some shaky characterization. While the series is not the best nor is it my favorite from a purely objective standpoint it really isn’t that bad, especially if it is the first series you have read involving these characters.
But of course it isn’t the first time you have seen these characters. I believe that most of the series buzz came from seeing these more fan-favorite characters in a life and death struggle.
There are a few reasons why the book isn’t a favorite of many, for me, and others I’m sure, it is more a case of having seen things like this before. That doesn’t make the series bad, but it stops it from being great until it breaks the mold. Other reasons include the killing of favorite characters, the lack of overall point, but the biggest is the inconsistent characterization of people like X-23, the Avengers Academy students and Nico and Chase from the Runaways.
I have read all of the Runaways, all of Marjorie Liu’s excellent X-23 series, and the second half of the recent Avengers Academy series and frankly yes there are some characterization inconsistencies from those series to this one and while some of it can be blamed on Avengers Arena being only 4 issues in, some of it can’t be. There are several examples of this including Mettle dying in an explosion of blood, X-23 being very quick to violence, and Nico’s Staff of One not working correctly.
While I am not the most familiar with Mettle, I believe that due to his physical mutation he has no ski (obviously) and that he didn’t have any blood either. I thought that while he was clearly alive and all, he was biologically very different from regular people and super powered people; but I could be wrong. X-23 made huge leaps and bounds in character in her recent series and I loved that series so seeing her be so prone to violence here makes me a little angry but it is understandable because she could easily enter “survival mode.” Is this the best interpretation of her, no, but it is not out of the realm of possibility nor does it set her character back. Another characterization inconsistency I have seen is Hazmat’s lack of reaction to Mettle’s death. Assuming that issue 4 takes place one or two days after issue three that would place it around day nine or ten. While she could be blocking it out, in Avengers Academy it was very clear that the two were deeply in love and other than the reaction at the beginning, she hasn’t done much. The last major inconsistency I have seen so far is the Staff of One not working correctly. In the Runaways it is described as one of the most powerful magical objects in existence and something that the Sorcerer Supreme would want because it can make gods bow. (Or something like that, it has been a while) While it has never been portrayed super-consistently due to being so powerful, having Arcade able to stop it from letting her and the others escape or not effect himself is a major stretch.
Reading issue four and the Staff’s apparent malfunctioning gave me this idea: none of what is happening is real. Well, it is real from their perspective, but it is not really real because they are hooked up to some computer or something. This way, there would be some inconsistencies because the computer couldn’t perfectly factor in everything and could impact the personalities of the people on the island to force them to do things that they would not normally do. If anyone has seen the Syfy channel show Eureka something similar happened in season 4 and it makes some serious sense here. Since it is a program Mettle’s death would involve blood either from the programmer’s lack of knowledge of his biology or the kid’s assumption that an exploding body would have blood in it. It also explains why the Staff of One wouldn’t be as powerful as it should and how Arcade had the abilities that he did in issue 1 that were very not Arcade-like. It also means that the characters are not truly dying, which would be awesome.
There are some flaws to this theory, mostly who would do this and why, but I think that it covers the basics enough to be plausible at this point in time. (Issue 4)
This theory is not perfect, I am aware, but I can’t think of another good reason that some of these inconsistencies exist because Dennis Hopeless is a pretty good writer. Seeing some of these characters die is kind of a mixed bag for me. On one hand it makes me mad to see characters I like die; but on the other hand, I know that sooner or later the popular ones (X-23, Nico, Chase, Hazmat, Reptil and arguably Mettle) will be back sooner or later because they are so popular and money can be made off of them but I digress.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Don’t care? Have any theories of your own? All I ask is that the hate and trolling for the series be kept to a minimum.