Once upon a time I loathed Avengers Arena. I joined a comic community explicitly because I needed to vent about the series. I acquired a bit of a reputation as a hater. I wrote blog after blog on the subject. I pointed to what I perceived to be massive plotholes and inconsistencies, like the lack of feasibility in Arcade's ability to teleport teenagers from secure locations and have them be untraceable. Like the dampening of the power of one of the most powerful magic artifacts in the universe. Like the blood that came from the body of a bloodless boy as he was blown to smithereens in front of a girlfriend who showed little signs of caring over proceeding issues despite only a few days having transpired since that traumatic experience. I ranted against the triviality of it all, the heartless way Marvel had consigned at least some of these kids to die in a book which had yet to warrant its own inherent usefulness beyond the mere deathmatch premise.
And always, people pointed to Issue #7, the upcoming tell-all in which Dennis Hopeless promised to explain everything away.
Well Issue #7 is out. So let's talk.
As usual, Comic Vine has been pretty quiet. Can't remember the last time an official review for the series came out and it took me a while to even find the one user review on the site (side note: it's almost impossible to find user reviews and that's assuming you even know they're there to be found). So I prowled elsewhere, looking for answers. I read this thread, and here are some of the points I've gathered:
- Arcade is definitely Arcade. He has not been granted supernatural powers by some more serious villain.
- The deaths are real. Mettle fans can officially be furious without reservation now.
- The deus ex machina shifted, but is still there: the overarching explanation for how someone had the know-how and wherewithal to teleport these kids from secure locations in an entirely untraceable way is still blatantly missing. So it wasn't Arcade's genius, but Coriander's. Cool. We're still just told "it's a secure teleportation system" and expected to accept that.
- As CBR user Croakamancer put it, "The island's just another Murderworld, there's no long term goal or interesting motivation beyond 'because I can'. Which means all I'm left with is a bunch of dead teenagers." This isn't a trap to lure in bigger guns. This is Arcade -- the guy who still depended entirely on someone else's intellect and skills to make anything of himself -- picking the low-hanging fruit.
Reading comments of course brings to mind the seemingly omnipresent arguments regarding this book. Complaints that there wasn't something more intriguing behind Arcade's actions were met with eye rolls and "duh." So at least some of the book's fanbase actively thinks and enjoys the idea that this book is nothing but a teen bloodbath. One reader says, and this is a direct quote, "I can't wait to see who dies horribly next."
And of course, the typical "if you don't like it, don't read it, and stop complaining." Tell me, please, how reading or not reading this book helps Mettle fans? How whether they're reading or not actually has any bearing on their "right" to be upset about what has happened within the book? How any fan of the other characters, and who may lose those characters, needs to be reading the book to have a right to be upset about it? I guess I'm just dense because I've never understood that particular line of thinking.
So this is really happening. Which means all the characterization problems? That's Hopeless, not a VR malfunction. The harsh truth that these kids are really going to be dead (and that Mettle really is dead)? No more wishful thinking, no more speculation. Arcade wants to see people die, and he has, and he will -- and the readers who don't want to see that? You picked the wrong book.
Or so it seems.
I know that there are faithful readers here. And most of them have read my prior complaints. Many have given Hopeless and Marvel the benefit of the doubt, and particularly predicated those caveats on the assumption that this issue would clear things up in a satisfactory way.
So which of my complaints would you say should be put to rest now that the big reveal issue is out? Specifics would be nice because, as you all know, I'm not paying Marvel to put my favorite characters in jeopardy so all my knowledge is through the (admittedly thin) grapevine. But it sounds like about as unsatisfying an explanation as I predicted, so if it wasn't and important details were left out of that thread and others like it, I'd like to hear it from the Viners ^_^