Because I've Never Been One to Keep My Mouth Shut...

This is a thing. I didn't expect it to be, and I actually kind of hoped it wouldn't be, but now it is, and ever will be, a thing. I should've waded gently into comics. Maybe dove in headfirst. Instead I tossed my heart in and now I'm drowning in an attempt to retrieve it. Joke's on me, I guess.

The funny (read: tragic) thing is, if fans would stop being so darn selfish, they might actually be able to create change. Might, not would, but still.

Thing is, there are a ton of people who really, really don't want at least one character in Avengers Arena to die. I'd guess the largest contingency of these people are Laura fans like myself, but there's a decent smattering of Academy and Runaways fans in there as well. We all have a common interest: that either this book goes away and never happened, or it happens but doesn't actually kill any of the characters. Some people have more reason for desperation than others, as their favorites are actually already dead. But nothing's for granted, not even Laura. Heck, I'd say especially Laura, because for a book that's all about trying to shock people and saying "see, and you didn't think we would go there," killing the supposedly favorite and invulnerable X-23 is just Arena's style.

There are far too many people, in my opinion, who are accepting this book on the assumption that either it's inevitable (so may as well make the most of it) or that their character might survive, and the rest be damned. Rather than turning their anger and frustration on Hopeless and Marvel, these fans have been turning on one another, either dismissing or mocking fans of other characters while asserting that either they assume their favorite is okay, or that they don't have too much investment in the characters to worry.

What bothers me more than that, almost (but not quite), is the people who like these characters and are buying the book. I absolutely cannot get my head around that. Grim fascination and/or eagerness to know if your favorite is lost can easily be served by reading just about any site on the web -- this one included -- which will be rife with spoilers and screenshots. The only thing your purchase of the comic does is convey to Marvel that you like what they're doing and want it to continue. If you actually "really hope this isn't real" or "really hope so-and-so doesn't die," then stop buying the comic, and be more vocal about it online. Ask other people, who don't much care one way or the other, to join you in refusing to buy it -- tell them if the protest fails and the series continues, they can always go back and buy the books easily and cheaply enough.

We don't need petitions. We don't need a million angry threads or flame-baiting posts on every article even tangentially connected to Hopeless and Arena.

What we do need -- and by "we" I mean anyone who wants any of these characters to live -- is to be organized in our refusal to buy the comic and in our ability to calmly and reasonably recruit people who don't care either way over to our side. We cannot make other people know or love these characters, but we can show them that we care, and that it would mean a lot, from one comic fan to another, if a little solidarity could be shown.

It's the kind thing to do. I know that's a crazy idea, being kind, but if the comic community can't lend a helping hand to its own, then we've all learned nothing from these "heroes," and everything that comics are supposed to be good for is a sham.

So what'll it be? Will people read this and agree? Or will I just get a million trolls calling me an emotional "manchild" who should shut up because "it's just fictional characters?" Do I come off as hilarious, as silly, as immature? I hope I don't.

In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal. But you know, if we used this as a rallying point to come together and send a message about how we want Marvel, and comics in general, to look in the coming years, then maybe it could be a big deal.

Time, as ever, will tell.

Thanks for reading.

51 Comments
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Posted by hectorsquall

OMFG! Well done, sir!

This is pretty much all my thoughts about this situation but worded in a better way than I ever could. I absolutely agree with everything you said and I'm still baffled by the fact that a lot of people dismiss others' opinions and even some of those who despise the premise of this book keep buying it just to see their favorite character slaughter others' favorites...

Anyway, glad to see there are at least some reasonable comic book fans who understand that if we don't like it we have to voice our concerns without turning against each other.

Posted by The_Lunact_And_Manic

Avengers Arena is sick and wrong

You should feel bad about it.

Posted by Aiden Cross

I agree, unfortunately.. it will never happen, people will keep buying books because their favourite character is in it. And if people stopped buying the books, they're afraid their favourite character won't appear in a new book either (Marvel thinking the characters are not populair enough instead of the story).

Posted by Jorgevy

I wonder how the heck they will kill X-23 when she's like Wolverine and he took a nuke to the face

Posted by Aiden Cross

@Jorgevy said:

I wonder how the heck they will kill X-23 when she's like Wolverine and he took a nuke to the face

two nukes.

Posted by Jorgevy

@Aiden Cross said:

@Jorgevy said:

I wonder how the heck they will kill X-23 when she's like Wolverine and he took a nuke to the face

two nukes.

in a row?

Posted by Aiden Cross

@Jorgevy said:

@Aiden Cross said:

@Jorgevy said:

I wonder how the heck they will kill X-23 when she's like Wolverine and he took a nuke to the face

two nukes.

in a row?

Well.. she's smaller than Wolverine... >_>

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

you can only complain about the book if you'v read it first

Posted by SavageDragon

Ok heres my feelings. I never read Avengers Academy. I did read Runaways. LOVE MY RUNAWAYS. I especially love Nico Minoru. Do I want to see Nico die? Ofcoarse not I think shes so awesome. She was/is one of my favorite female comic book characters ever. Do I want to see Chase (also from Runaways) die? Not really although I wouldnt be upset like I would with Nico. I never activley boycott a book because I dont aprove of the idea. I always say if your interested give it a shot. I dont read AA (arena) because it just doesnt interest me. I hear its a good book from some people, the art looks great. Who knows hows things will turn out.

Posted by danhimself

I said this in another thread today but I'll say it here also

I look at it this way.....the only character that I even remotely care about is X-23....so if I can get some enjoyment out of seeing the rest of them hunt and kill each other in gruesome ways then so be it....all of these characters were destined for limbo anyway

Posted by cyberchop979

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

you can only complain about the book if you'v read it first

very true, but you can get a pretty decent idea about the content of a comic by flipping thru it for a minute or two at your LCS.

Posted by BumpyBoo

@akbogert said:

The only thing your purchase of the comic does is convey to Marvel that you like what they're doing and want it to continue.

Very well said!

Moderator
Posted by impossibilly

I like the characters in Avengers Arena. I bought Runaways, X-23, Avengers Academy and even way back in day bought Darkhawk.

I buy Avengers Arena. I buy it because it's a good series that has so far told good stories.

You're right. If someone doesn't like Avengers Arena, they shouldn't buy it. DC and Marvel go by sales numbers above all else. You could scream your head off in defiance about Avengers Arena on the interwebs and at the comic shop, but if you throw down your $3 for it each month, your LCS will keep ordering it and Marvel will keep publishing it. Dollars speak much louder than message board posts.

A lot of the criticism of Avengers Arena on here does seem to be from people who are complaining about what they think might happen in the comic, not what actually has happened.

Posted by Crash_Recovery

@The_Lunact_And_Manic: Why? It's a concept that's been done many many times before in the Marvel U and elsewhere. Hero VS Hero. We were just sold a 12 issue "event" with the same basic concept, just no referee. What's your objection?

Posted by 8bitGangsta

I like avengers arena

Posted by Target_X

@akbogert:

This is a really well written article, and I agree for the most part. I do have to say that the petition should hardly be lumped in as a flame or troll to others though. It doesn't bash people for liking the book and neither do I. It is just an attempt to spread recognition of my own disgruntlement over the title and treatment of the characters--that's all. As a matter of fact, everywhere I have posted the link I have said nothing but kind things to those who wish to read the book. I don't hate them for it, it's their choice even if I don't agree with it--just like they don't agree that my petition is worthwhile. That's just my view on things.

Edited by akbogert

@The_Lunact_And_Manic said:

Avengers Arena is sick and wrong

You should feel bad about it.

I honestly don't know what you're saying, but I agree with the first part of this for sure. Unlike other "hero vs. hero" stories, which have lent themselves to a greater purpose in the universe (or, hey, sucked just as bad -- doesn't get AA off the hook), this book serves the singular purpose of cleaning house. Until a more noble or respectable purpose presents itself, there is little left to redeem it.

@Aiden Cross said:

I agree, unfortunately.. it will never happen, people will keep buying books because their favourite character is in it. And if people stopped buying the books, they're afraid their favourite character won't appear in a new book either (Marvel thinking the characters are not populair enough instead of the story).

A slim chance of appearing in a new book is always better than zero chance, though, and I wish fans understood that. Heck, there could be writers who want to use these characters who have actually been refused the right because they're currently in this book.

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

you can only complain about the book if you'v read it first

This is, frankly, a non-argument. I've read large portions of it and a variety of synopses because both are abundant on the Internet. I've read enough to know that it does things I dislike. Vehemently. As I said in response to a similar argument, "Consider the nature of the complaints. It'd be one thing if people were saying the art or writing sucked without having read the book. But if the complaints stem from the premise and implications of the book, then it would actually hurt them to purchase it (just to confirm their suspicions) because Marvel will simply look at sales numbers in determining whether people want the book to continue. Just think of the flip side. If these complainers had picked it up, people would say "Yeah, but you still bought it, so it must not be that bad.""

If I were a fan of Mettle (and I know there are such fans; I've argued with several here), I would only need to know that Mettle died in the first issue. That would be enough to make me complain about the series. It wouldn't matter how he died. And, when I read about how he died, and the fact that his 100% metallic body somehow transmuted into visceral gore, I'd have further reason for complaint, and a very strong argument for "He was fridged. His death was used for the specific purpose of shocking people with the legitimate stakes of this book. The unnecessary and canon-ignoring blood backs this position."

@SavageDragon said:

I never activley boycott a book because I dont aprove of the idea. I always say if your interested give it a shot. I dont read AA (arena) because it just doesnt interest me. I hear its a good book from some people, the art looks great. Who knows hows things will turn out.

As part of the rather exhaustive rant I had over this book and its reception, I hit upon this idea of reading or not reading based on taste:

Hopeless notes that “no book is for every reader,” and I can totally stand behind the sentiment. There are plenty of people I’d warn miles away from X-Force (which, interestingly, Hopeless is set to be involved with in its latest incarnation). But I don’t think that mantra applies here, because it’s not the content of the book that’s disgusting people half so much as it is the book’s greater implications on continuity: killing characters that people have invested quite literally years into is one thing when it’s done as a narrative experiment, but it’s quite another thing entirely when your experiment permanently terminates that journey. I’m bothered not just by the idea that a person would be okay with doing something like that, but that such a person — with so cavalier an attitude towards it — has actually been given the power to do so.

“No book is for every reader” simply doesn’t apply to this situation. I can choose not to read Avengers Arena and see how these characters bite it. But if, say, X-23 dies in issue 5, I can’t choose to pick up a comic a few weeks later in which she’s fine. Because she’ll never be fine again. The things I dislike about this book extend beyond the book itself, and that matters.

The scope of the thing being protested dictates that protest is acceptable beyond the confines of the book's readership. If the book were self-contained, then I could just ignore it. But as it will affect (and apparently has already affected) the ability of other writers to include these characters in other books now and in the future, I am protesting effects by protesting their cause.

@danhimself said:

I said this in another thread today but I'll say it here also

I look at it this way.....the only character that I even remotely care about is X-23....so if I can get some enjoyment out of seeing the rest of them hunt and kill each other in gruesome ways then so be it....all of these characters were destined for limbo anyway

This is the sort of thing to which no direct appeal can be made. I've asked you to care about other people's feelings -- that whole kindness bit. That you would rather selfishly revel in the destruction of other people's favorites isn't really an argument at all; merely a comment on your character.

@impossibilly said:

A lot of the criticism of Avengers Arena on here does seem to be from people who are complaining about what they think might happen in the comic, not what actually has happened.

I'd call this a fair assessment, but with a caveat. I'd argue that most of the criticism (and certainly my own) is complaining about what we think might happen because of what actually has happened. Refer back to what I said about Mettle's death. He's a character about which I knew nothing prior to the series, but it didn't take me much research to discover that his death was hardly reasonable or meaningful from a fan's standpoint. As I noted in response to another thread, even if we accept that these characters have to die,

...none of them can get good deaths, because their deaths are all simply part of this side story. At the end of the day, regardless of the minutiae, the sentence reads "died in Arcade's Murder World, Avengers Arena #x." The noblest of deaths within this story is still irrelevant to the greater world from which the characters came, which means even if they receive a somewhat respectful death insomuch as Arena is concerned, their death will in the grander universe sense be quite meaningless. Add to this the insult of blatantly disregarding character immortality (I just don't accept that "God" explanation), and yeah, again: backlash.

The weight is doubled, of course, when you have Hopeless in interviews specifically addressing worried fans and specifically promising to make the deaths meaningful, and then fridging and/or disregarding canonical rules while killing them in the first couple issues.

Ultimately, the salient point is money being the loudest, and frankly only way to get Marvel's attention. Every person who claims to love these characters and continues to buy the comic simply lends their support to the killing of those characters. And while I cannot aptly judge the legitimacy of anyone's claims to love something, I will say based on the horrors these kids are going through I have true difficulty comprehending how anyone would want someone they loved to go through what this book is putting them through.

Thanks to those who have specifically complimented the blog itself, by the way. I've been pretty emotional about this issue but I've been trying my best to work through it in as clear-headed a manner as I can muster.

Posted by danhimself

@akbogert said:

@danhimself said:

I said this in another thread today but I'll say it here also

I look at it this way.....the only character that I even remotely care about is X-23....so if I can get some enjoyment out of seeing the rest of them hunt and kill each other in gruesome ways then so be it....all of these characters were destined for limbo anyway

This is the sort of thing to which no direct appeal can be made. I've asked you to care about other people's feelings -- that whole kindness bit. That you would rather selfishly revel in the destruction of other people's favorites isn't really an argument at all; merely a comment on your character.

I'm not being unkind....these characters were characters that were going to limbo...plain and simple...the only character that had any potential to be used is X-23....so as a company Marvel has two options:

1. put the characters in limbo and maybe the most anyone will ever use them is a cameo or killed like Hornet in Enemy of the State or Toxin in Venom...with absolutely no purpose what so ever

2. do this book and have their deaths actually mean something to the overall story and sell some books

like I said above Hornet was killed during Enemy of the State...he was treated like just another throw away character and actually had jokes made about his death in the scene

Toxin's host was killed off panel and the only way readers know this is because it was told to us during an interview

both were treated much worse than any of the characters appearing in Avengers Arena

lets also not forget about Flashpoint and the New 52

EVERY single character in the DC Universe pre Flashpoint might as well be dead....were any of them given a hero's death? nope they just ceased to exist...all of these characters were someone's favorite character and some of the versions we have now are completely different characters all together

.

at least the character deaths in Avengers Arena are serving a story and the characters aren't just being forgotten about

no matter how much some people hate that story there are others out there that are enjoying it and telling me that because I'm enjoying the story is "a comment on my character" is just rude

Posted by akbogert

@danhimself said:

@akbogert said:

@danhimself said:

I said this in another thread today but I'll say it here also

I look at it this way.....the only character that I even remotely care about is X-23....so if I can get some enjoyment out of seeing the rest of them hunt and kill each other in gruesome ways then so be it....all of these characters were destined for limbo anyway

This is the sort of thing to which no direct appeal can be made. I've asked you to care about other people's feelings -- that whole kindness bit. That you would rather selfishly revel in the destruction of other people's favorites isn't really an argument at all; merely a comment on your character.

I'm not being unkind....these characters were characters that were going to limbo...plain and simple...the only character that had any potential to be used is X-23....so as a company Marvel has two options:

1. put the characters in limbo and maybe the most anyone will ever use them is a cameo or killed like Hornet in Enemy of the State or Toxin in Venom...with absolutely no purpose what so ever

2. do this book and have their deaths actually mean something to the overall story and sell some books

like I said above Hornet was killed during Enemy of the State...he was treated like just another throw away character and actually had jokes made about his death in the scene

Toxin's host was killed off panel and the only way readers know this is because it was told to us during an interview

both were treated much worse than any of the characters appearing in Avengers Arena

lets also not forget about Flashpoint and the New 52

EVERY single character in the DC Universe pre Flashpoint might as well be dead....were any of them given a hero's death? nope they just ceased to exist...all of these characters were someone's favorite character and some of the versions we have now are completely different characters all together

.

at least the character deaths in Avengers Arena are serving a story and the characters aren't just being forgotten about

no matter how much some people hate that story there are others out there that are enjoying it and telling me that because I'm enjoying the story is "a comment on my character" is just rude

I apologize if the "character" part seemed out of line. Saying "I'm enjoying watching them kill each other" specifically within the context of a conversation about how much people hate seeing them die, though perhaps not intended to come across as a "sucks for you," kind of did come across that way, at least for me.

As I've not seen anyone really point out what's so original or fantastic about this book (except, apparently, that people die in it, seemingly for real), I'd venture to say that those who like it will suffer less of a loss in its cancellation than those who hate it will suffer in its continuation. I'm asking you to weigh the extent of pleasure you are deriving from the series against the extent of pain others are deriving from it, that's all. Sacrificing something you enjoy because it's hurting other people is the crux of what I'm asking for (as unreasonable as it may appear to some).

You (and the many others you echo) are not wrong in saying that characters are killed all the time, and that characters tend to die in events. The difference here is that the event seems to have been created for the specific purpose of killing the characters, and so their deaths do not serve a greater purpose beyond this particular story. The fact that deaths have been handled poorly in the past is hardly an excuse to continue the practice and never speak out against it.

As a fan, I'd rather be able to fondly remember a character's run and say, "gee, wouldn't it be cool if he/she showed up again someday" than have that memory tarnished with the knowledge that they were murdered in some Hunger Games cash-in attempt to prove Marvel's grittiness and that because of this the slim hope I may have had is gone. I'll agree that if they have to die better they do so in a sacrificial or character-honoring way, but I have yet to hear a single valid argument for why they do have to die. As I've said elsewhere, I'm not convinced that this use of these characters is so brilliant or profitable as to justify alienating a variety of very committed fans across the Marvel spectrum.

Posted by DaemonTheDemon

Marvel NOW! sucks in my opinion, when I heard about I said is Marvel really that desperate? And boom I now have proof.

Posted by RedQueen

I have read Runaways since it's creation, and have followed X-23's story since she first appeared in NYX.... I would be distraught if any/either/all of them were killed off in Avengers Arena for the sake of a shock ending/plot point. For that reason I haven't bought a single issue, nor do I plan to. Basically, to get to the point of this comment - I agree with everything you said.

And I totally believe that Nico/Chase/Laura will be killed off for the sake of a shocking issue/a small spike in interest for the comic.

Posted by bsmith1190

This is a book that's taking risks and I for one intend to reward that. I mean God forbid we actually have something called tension and suspense in our comics, something that's null and void if they can't die. And seriously if you think these characters will stay dead you've clearly never read enough comics. So hike up your skirts and take it.

Posted by mettlekm

Go work hard. Earn some money. Save some money. Inherit some money. Buy 51% of disney stock, then you can control what marvel does.

Problem solved!

Posted by akbogert

@bsmith1190 said:

This is a book that's taking risks and I for one intend to reward that. I mean God forbid we actually have something called tension and suspense in our comics, something that's null and void if they can't die. And seriously if you think these characters will stay dead you've clearly never read enough comics. So hike up your skirts and take it.

You managed to come across as belligerent without adding anything new or insightful to the conversation, with a rapey insult to boot. I'm actually impressed.

@mettlekm said:

Go work hard. Earn some money. Save some money. Inherit some money. Buy 51% of disney stock, then you can control what marvel does.

Problem solved!

Let's be honest here: if I owned Disney, my priority would be Kingdom Hearts 3.

Posted by VenomMelendez

People read it because they enjoy it. You have every right not to like it, but that doesn't stop others from liking it. Being vocal on the internet doesn't help anyway.

Posted by akbogert

@VenomMelendez: As I said to another commenter:

"As I've not seen anyone really point out what's so original or fantastic about this book (except, apparently, that people die in it, seemingly for real), I'd venture to say that those who like it will suffer less of a loss in its cancellation than those who hate it will suffer in its continuation. I'm asking you to weigh the extent of pleasure you are deriving from the series against the extent of pain others are deriving from it, that's all. Sacrificing something you enjoy because it's hurting other people is the crux of what I'm asking for (as unreasonable as it may appear to some)."

You're right, of course. Saying I loathe something and asking people not to support it isn't inherently useful; but then neither is telling me I'm wasting my time.

Posted by EganTheVile1

Personally, I find nothing original about this book, lately it seems the writers being brought in have next to no knowledge of characters, and less respect for them and the fans, Avengers Arena is a key example of this. An obvious ploy to cash in on the success of "the Hunger Games" written with characters who are dubbed "cult favorites" and only using a casual base understanding of their powers (i.e. the writer thinks he can kill any of them and write them any way with no backlash provided he gets their names and powers right) and sadly that seems to be the norm in Marvel Now.

I used to buy every Avengers title, but I will not buy this, or for that matter, most things tagged Marvel Now!, as most MN! titles are terribly written anyway.

Posted by MatKrenz

@EganTheVile1: I disagree with your opinion. After reading issue 3 it's obvious to me that Hopeless has very good knowledge about the characters he's writing. Had decided to put Cammi in this series because he knew that a little girl who's biggest influence in life is Drax the Destroyer would make for an incredible interesting character and it works in context so freaking well.

Seriously I hate this notion that Hopeless is being called a hack simply because he's doing a popular story type. But really is it that much of a deal he's doing it ? Don't you want to stay and see if he can make into his own story ? Instead of being readers and calling him a screw who's only in it for the money ?

Edited by akbogert

@MatKrenz said:

@EganTheVile1: I disagree with your opinion. After reading issue 3 it's obvious to me that Hopeless has very good knowledge about the characters he's writing. Had decided to put Cammi in this series because he knew that a little girl who's biggest influence in life is Drax the Destroyer would make for an incredible interesting character and it works in context so freaking well.

Seriously I hate this notion that Hopeless is being called a hack simply because he's doing a popular story type. But really is it that much of a deal he's doing it ? Don't you want to stay and see if he can make into his own story ? Instead of being readers and calling him a screw who's only in it for the money ?

If you're disagreeing with about the book lacking originality, I'll grant you this caveat: the stories Hopeless is cashing in on the success of all had one thing in common which he is breaking away from: they created their own characters and made you care about them within the context of knowing they could, and likely would, die. Hopeless changes that by taking characters people already care about and murdering them in the name of whatever story he's trying to tell. If you can explain Hopeless' handling of the death of Mettle -- both the possibility of killing him and the blood which came from his bloodless body -- in such a way as to exonerate him of the accusation that he either didn't know or didn't care about Mettle's purely metallic body, that'd be a start (though a small one) in addressing the concern this blog was written to address: that the biggest problem with Avengers Arena is not that it's a cash-in on a popular teen franchise, but that it's killing off characters people don't want to die. That those unwanted deaths have thus far yet to be justified beyond the Hunger Games cash-in is merely insult to injury, but it's hardly the injury itself.

That's all to say, there's a blog post here and two pages of comments which address quite a few more reasons for calling out Hopeless than the fact that the idea is patently unoriginal. The crux of that, if you're the type to comment without reading, is that it really doesn't matter how originally or interestingly Hopeless kills off the characters, because we're protesting their deaths, not his writing. Hopeless can make the story his own, but the characters aren't his, and we're disgusted that they've been put in his hands.

Edited by MatKrenz

@akbogert: But almost half the cast of characters in the book are original characters he created. Unless I missed something.

Okay wait don't respond, I don't care. I dont, know why I keep getting into these pointless internet arguments but I do.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz: That's true, and of the two characters who have been killed (and one depowered), none of them are his originals.

If the whole cast were new, I'd take no issue with the book, and I'd call it a smart move because of the cash-in opportunity. I'd also laud it as a clever way to introduce new characters within the context of a situation that could make you care about them. Seems like if Deathlocket survives, she'll have some fans. The way it stands now, god help any original characters who do survive, because they will always be begrudged by the fans of the older characters whose lives were lost in their inception.

It's easy to tell someone their opinion is "wrong." But lest you forget, every person you talk to on the Internet is a real person. Disagreeing over the Internet is disagreeing with a person, plain and simple. Online mediation of the dispute doesn't make anyone's opinions more or less valid; it just makes it easier to suckerpunch someone and then run away when they ask for a fair fight.

Posted by MatKrenz

@akbogert: It's not like Mettle was all that interestingly well written in Academy, much like everyone else in the cast. Also it's obvious im in the minority here but I like having victims who I know the names of, unlike the Hunger Games where I can remember 3 names only.

Also I never said anybody's opinion is wrong it's just I usually get into these arguments and it eventually become just one large circle jerk with no development until a new issue of Arena comes out.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz said:

@EganTheVile1: I disagree with your opinion.

@MatKrenz said:

Also I never said anybody's opinion is wrong...

Well, on the subject of opinions, all that's relevant is that there are people who did think Mettle was interesting, and so the people who care more for him than his name don't want him killed, and they certainly don't want him killed in such an unreasonable and shock-grabbing way which belies its own banality. And that, really, is the point of my blog: that a lot of us have affinities for at least one character in this book, and that fans of the characters shouldn't be buying the book. It's also a request on the behalf of all who like these characters, an appeal to people (such as you) who don't much care for them, but might care for us -- that is, other real people -- and hold off on buying the book for our sake (as you can always pick up a trade or back issues on the cheap later, and meanwhile you're lending us a hand in possibly saving our favorites).

Naturally I don't expect the majority of people who read this to make that sacrifice, however small it may be (though I'm happy to report that I actually have had people tell me that they will do so after having talked to me about it). This isn't about minorities or forcing opinions, a "circle jerk," as you call it. It's not about opinions. Mettle, unless things go wildly different, is dead, permanently, unless this series gets retconned (or unless it was all just a simulation, though most of the fans of Arena I've talked with would be pretty upset if it's not real). Such will be the case for every new victim in the book. That's a fact. It's a fact we don't want to accept, and since money will force Marvel's hand one way or the other, we'd like to see it forced in such a way that forces the retcon.

I know you probably don't care, but I do want it to be clear that this isn't just about a bunch of people saying "Oh my god Hopeless sucks Avengers Arena is crap I hate everything." It's people who genuinely have a vested interest in how this book comes out, making an appeal to those who are enjoying it but would be less hurt if it went away than we will be if it doesn't go away. As new issues -- barring an "it was all just a dream" -- won't change what's going on here, this is as relevant as it will ever be.

Posted by MatKrenz

@akbogert: Disagreeing with an opinion isn't the same thing as to say it's wrong. I try very hard to make it clear that everyone has a valid opinion in a conversation but of course different strokes and all that.

Also I guess im a hearltless asshole because even tho im a huge Runaways fan It really wouldn't piss me off if Chase and Nico died in the next issue.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz: Well I think you merely illustrate the difference between a fan of a series or story and a fan of characters. I've only just started Volume 2 of Runaways, so my affinities for those characters are still growing, but in order for me to enjoy a story I have to care about the characters. And I do. I feel bad for them. I don't want them to get hurt, I don't want them to be endangered, I don't want them to have to keep running. And I am infuriated at the idea that they're having to fight for survival in Arena at all, nevermind the chance -- likelihood, I might say -- that they will lose that fight and be snuffed out permanently. I read in another thread someone who stipulated that as we read comics over the years the characters are like friends who we root for and want to see what they're doing and want them to be okay. That's how I read. It's subjective, sure, but personally I cannot apply the word "fan" to someone who would be okay with the character they are ostensibly a fan of dying. Doesn't mean you didn't like the stories, but if you're ambivalent to characters' fate, then you don't meet the criteria I'd use for fanhood (that's not a word, but roll with it).

Posted by MatKrenz

@akbogert: Just because I wouldn't have a strong emotional reaction if Chase and Nico died doesn't make me less of a fan of those characters. What you just wrote there insults me deeply.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz: My opinion offends you? I said that I personally do not understand fandom that is ambivalent to the fate of its object. How can you be more deeply affected by someone questioning your devotion to a character than by the permanent death of that character?

Posted by MatKrenz

@akbogert: Because for the lolz. Honestly it's kind hard to care about your favorite team in comics when the last time they appeared asa group was in a poorly written 2 issue arc in Academy. And the fact that no one in the industry can figure a new story for them when it's painfully obvious that the concept of their new series is a as simple as daylight.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz: Well, I suppose if I'd truly lost all hope in the industry's capacity to tell good stories in the future, then I guess I'd just stop reading comics and then whatever happened to the characters, I'd be blissfully ignorant. The inability of Marvel to properly handle high-potential characters and scenarios is indeed mind-boggling, but the creative bankruptcy demonstrated by simply throwing them into a wood-chipper isn't on my list of things I am able to be okay with.

Not that I have anything against wood-chippers, per se. Fargo was pretty good, all things considered.

Posted by MatKrenz

@akbogert: And here's my thing, even tho I think that no one has stepped up to write a new Runaways series (which my money is on Jim McCann) I know at some point someone will write it and I will fall in love with it. Because unlike so many other people who read comics I don't think the creators at the Big Two are that creatively bankrupt. Sometimes they are and sometimes they put out amazing work and if Im not enjoying it then I still have other companies where I can read from. There's no point in complaining when you have so much to choose from. Unless it's really godawful, and not from a "this concept is insulting" awful but terrible writing riddled with plotholes, inconsistencies and art where you can't tell head from feet.

Posted by akbogert

@MatKrenz: Thing is, I don't have unlimited resources, and I can't go rewrite time. It just so happens to be that the majority of the characters being endangered in this series are the ones I've taken the time to buy their books and learn to love them. I've already chosen them, and if I lose everything I've invested in, I have no incentive to invest in anything else. It becomes clear that my role in the ecosystem is irrelevant, that my emotional attachment is besides the point, that the very concept of respecting characters and their fans is laughable to the people who make the decisions that actually matter for the company. Hitler was a brilliant statesman, orator, and military leader. I criticize him not due to the lack of talent he displayed but because I am morally opposed to what he did with his skills and opportunity. No, I don't mean to say Hopeless is like Hitler. But extremes bear out or break logic. Talent does not exonerate treachery. Good art and writing do not excuse a bad concept. You are free to disagree, of course.

As I said a few posts back, I was well aware when I wrote this that I would not convince everyone who read it. All I sought to do was present my position in as clear and exhaustive a way as possible, and every mind I do change is mere icing on the cake of knowing at least I tried. It sounds like you and I understand each other well enough, and prefer to maintain our initial positions on the topic. I'm okay with that. It's only ignorance which I wish to combat, and nothing you've said suggests ignorance.

That's refreshing ^_^

Posted by Sharkbite

I'm buying this book. I'm appauled at the idea of the Runaways being killed, but I still make my purchase every month. While I see your position, I also see the reverse.

Perhaps, if we don't buy it then it will be cancelled. However, if it looks like it's going to be cancelled, what will Hopeless do? When his book looks to be on the chopping block, so are our favorite characters. When he is desparate to get his sales numbers up in order to prevent cancellation, what way does he have to increase sales other than another big shock-and-awe death? Hopeless certainly isn't writing a book like Avengers Arena with the plan to boost sales based on character development and depth.

While writer changes can happen at the drop of a hat, title cancellations are generally determined several months in advance. Diamond Distributing has the solicits and LCBS make their comic orders months in advance. Avengers Arena is only at issue #3, but we have solicits up through #8. That means it does not get cancelled before #8, because the stores have already paid for those issues. Marvel is never going to throw away orders they've recieved on a title that is already written. "Final Issue" is a part of the solicits so we will know when the book is going to be cancelled. And Hopeless will know months in advance.

Give Hopeless four months and a pink slip saying that his book is cancelled at the end of that time; do you really think he's going to keep the same timeline and just let his book cancel right in the middle of things with no conclusion? I don't. I believe we're going to see a wholesale slaughter in the book, multiple deaths per issue, almost as a jab at the fans. And I believe that Marvel will allow it because, first, they permitted the characters to be put in the story so they had to view them as expendable, and second, clearly nobody really cares about the characters if they aren't buying the book.

Now the flip side. Hopeless has said that he wants to see this as an ongoing. That is the way it is presently being billed, not as a miniseries. If it sells well, if the title stays strong, if the readers pull the book month after month, then we have the control. Look at issue #3, for example; Hopeless does not clearly show if a death happens or not. Some fighting, some people hurt, but no confirmed kills. As long as the book continues to sell as an ongoing, he has to retain enough of a cast to tell the story. If he kills everybody, then he's got no book. So if the sales are good and he gets 3 years out of it, we're not going to see 36 deaths with a 1 per issue rate (there aren't even 36 kids total); we're going to see extended stretches where the kids are able to survive, perhaps even turn the tides on Arcade.

The lives of the kids and the life of the book are directly correlated. When the book dies, many of the kids will die. If the book thrives, many of the kids will thrive, at least for the time being. The longer it goes on, the better the chance for rescue or crossover with a book like Avengers where the adults can save them.

And from a Marvel perspective, the longer this book thrives, the more popular they will consider these characters. If the Runaways or the Academy kids survive for a good while, then there is a better chance of seeing Marvel ressurect those cancelled books and giving those teams another shot.

Posted by akbogert

@Sharkbite: So I've read this a couple times, and thought seriously about it, because I think you raise a very legitimate concern. My response, ultimately, isn't to diminish my efforts but to redouble them, because you've made a good case for why cancellation isn't sufficient, that the book must also be retconned.

In some ways the idea of these characters being allowed to continue to suffer under Hopeless' hand is worse to me than them all dying tomorrow. With every new issue or interview Avengers Arena becomes a psychological and emotional torture, both for the characters and, honestly, for me.

If nothing else, I've been prompted to actually write directly to Marvel (though I'm not sure what address is right for that?). The level of powerlessness here is honestly a little bit terrible. It makes me wish I'd never started reading comics in the first place.

Posted by John Valentine

Kill everyone but the Runaways and Laura. I also quite like Kid Briton, he can stay alive.

Edited by Timandm

@akbogert: Anyone who has read comics for more than a few years knows the only unbreakable law of the comic book universe is, "Only Uncle Ben stays dead...."

Consider the Super Heroes who have died and come back to life. Many of them have died and come back more than once. Here's a table I put together some time back when I wrote a blog about how prevalent death and resurrection of characters is so common in comic books. In fact, coming back from the dead is practically a pre-requisite for being an X-Men member. Off the top of your head, can you think of a single X-Man that has NOT died and come back to life at least once??? Seriously, try to name just ONE... There are some out there, but not many... At the moment, Storm is the only one I can think of that hasn't died at least once...

Take a look at the list below... On the right, you'll see comic book characters that have died at least once and come back. Like I said, many of them have died and come back multiple times... Death, in comic books, means absolutely nothing... NADA... Just in the past 5 years The Human Torch, Cable, Professor X, Wolverine, Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Thor, Fantomex, Angel and Spider-man have all died and come back to life AT LEAST ONCE. Professor X is dead, YET AGAIN, but he'll be back.

Soooo, what's my point? You're worried that one or many of your favorite characters might die in Avengers Arena... You're probably right... But that doesn't mean they'll be gone. They'll be back and back quickly... The ONLY person in comic books that will stay dead... is Uncle Ben...

Here, check out this video by 'Floating Hands' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL6J7FJmy1c

DEAD AND STAYED DEADDead and Came Back
Cable
Uncle Ben
The Question - Vic Sage
Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell)
Nightcrawler
Goliath - William Foster
Banshee
Professor X (currently dead... AGAIN!)
Captain America
Spider-Man
Daredevil
Hawkeye
Scarlet Witch
Thor - along with all of Asgard. Thor died AGAIN after bringing back all the Asgardians.
Iron Man
Super Man
Batman
Robin - Todd ..um... you know.. Todd the Red Hood
The Flash - both Barry Allen and Wally West (I think...)
Jean Grey
Cyclops
Angel
Wolverine
Colossus
Kitty Pryde
Psylocke
Mirage
Karma
Cannonball
Cypher
Sunspot
Wolfsbane
Magneto
Deadpool
Norman Osborn
Harry Osborn
Madelyn Pryor
Bucky - AKA Winter Soldier - AKA Captain America
Betty Ross
Blink
Black Bolt
Sabertooth
Mystique
Guardian
Vindicator
Puck
Hercules
Fantomex
Posted by akbogert

@Timandm: Well, you said name an X-Man who really died and my immediate response was Nightcrawler. Note that he's also in your list. He's one of the few X-Men I actually really liked. But that's besides the point.

I have heard of almost every one of those resurrected characters despite not having been an avid reader of X-Men comics. None of them are close to being as fringe as the kids in this book. About the only characters in Arena that stand half a chance of being resurrected if killed off here are X-23 and Darkhawk. I guarantee you the list of teen or single-series characters who have been killed off and have stayed dead is far longer than your list of relatively-to-incredibly-famous characters who have been resurrected. I've said that I think the non-permanence argument is inapplicable here and I stand by that.

Happily, the unlikelihood of these characters being brought back is only one of a myriad of problems I have with this book. I don't care if they could come back -- I don't want them to have to. And I certainly don't want them to have to just because of this book.

Posted by Timandm

@akbogert: I actually meant for you to name an X-Man that has not died and come back at least one time... They all did "REALLY" die... They did. It's just that they all have come back... I'm not positive, but I think Nightcrawler has died before...Although, I might be thinking of one of those times where he was THOUGHT to be dead and really wasn't... I like Night Crawler and I hate that he's currently dead, but he'll be back...

I get what you're saying about being on the "fringe." At least, I think I do. You're saying that these characters aren't popular enough to die and be brought back. That's what you're saying, yes?

Well, consider the following: Douglas Ramsey, Blink, Strong-Guy, Cannon Ball, Sunspot, Magma, Wolfsbane, (really bad name), and a few other B-listers that will come back to mind soon.... They've all died and come back...

Douglas Ramsey was very unpopular. He's still not very well known. I liked the idea of someone with his power even when he was first introduced back in the 80s... He could learn, understand, and speak any language he heard. (well, he couldn't speak it if a human wasn't able to.) Back then I thought he'd become the next Tony Stark or Forge since he understood the language of mathematics and Binary... But, he was killed off early in his career as a new mutant... But, HE'S BAAAA-AAAACK and even more powerful... That's usually how it goes; they die, they're brought back, and they have new powers...

One other thing I should have mentioned before - to my knowledge, NO ONE has ever ACTUALLY died in one of Arcade's Murder World games.... EVER... Which is odd considering how often he's popped up with a new Murder World. Even when it "appeared" that someone had died in his games, you find out at the end of the issue, or arc that it never REALLY happened... So, I honestly think that, even though it appears that some of them have died, I don't think they really have... I like Mettle... When he died I think my reaction was, "huh..." But I knew then, he'd be back... and that's assuming that he really did die... But I doubt any of them are really going to die....

HOWEVER, you'll be happy to hear that I did not and will not purchase any of this series...Someone I know is buying it and I just read theirs... I don't want to purchase it because I think it's going to be one of those things like "Age of X" that really makes no difference whatsoever....I do think this whole series will be much adieu about nothing...

Also, I want to be clear on this; I don't think they should die either. I agree with you on that. But DC and Marvel somehow think it's interesting when the characters die... If death meant anything in the comic book universe (if it was ever permanent) then yes, I'd feel bad for the character that died. I might even feel sad for them. The way I felt sad when Borimir died in the L.O.T.R... or when Sturm died in Dragon Lance, or when Rue died in The Hunger Games... but in all of those novels, those characters died and stayed dead, so it meant something. It had an impact... But if I knew they were all just going to come back all the time... pfffft...

okay.. actually... There is ONE character in A.A. that, if she dies, I'll be a little ticked off... Cammi... I've liked her since the days that she hung out with Drax... But even if she dies...She'll be back...EVERYONE comes back eventually... Except Uncle Ben.

Edited by akbogert

@Timandm said:

One other thing I should have mentioned before - to my knowledge, NO ONE has ever ACTUALLY died in one of Arcade's Murder World games.... EVER... Which is odd considering how often he's popped up with a new Murder World. Even when it "appeared" that someone had died in his games, you find out at the end of the issue, or arc that it never REALLY happened... So, I honestly think that, even though it appears that some of them have died, I don't think they really have... I like Mettle... When he died I think my reaction was, "huh..." But I knew then, he'd be back... and that's assuming that he really did die... But I doubt any of them are really going to die....

HOWEVER, you'll be happy to hear that I did not and will not purchase any of this series...Someone I know is buying it and I just read theirs... I don't want to purchase it because I think it's going to be one of those things like "Age of X" that really makes no difference whatsoever....I do think this whole series will be much adieu about nothing...

Also, I want to be clear on this; I don't think they should die either. I agree with you on that. But DC and Marvel somehow think it's interesting when the characters die... If death meant anything in the comic book universe (if it was ever permanent) then yes, I'd feel bad for the character that died. I might even feel sad for them. The way I felt sad when Borimir died in the L.O.T.R... or when Sturm died in Dragon Lance, or when Rue died in The Hunger Games... but in all of those novels, those characters died and stayed dead, so it meant something. It had an impact... But if I knew they were all just going to come back all the time... pfffft...

okay.. actually... There is ONE character in A.A. that, if she dies, I'll be a little ticked off... Cammi... I've liked her since the days that she hung out with Drax... But even if she dies...She'll be back...EVERYONE comes back eventually... Except Uncle Ben.

Well, Hopeless has been outrageously candid about stakes being real and a lot of actual death happening in the book. It's almost the only driving point of the series, honestly -- most people I know who are currently enjoying it have intimated that the book would be a lot less interesting to them if it turned out to be a simulation. They want real death to happen to these characters or they'll feel like they wasted their time. Now obviously the author's not going to show his hands up front and say "don't worry guys this is all fake," but at the same time everything about the way he and Marvel have pitched this suggests that they're making Arcade a force to be reckoned with and they're proving it by really killing characters.

At this point, I'm overtly trying to take the book down on behalf of all fans who have characters they care about. I don't know squat about Cammi, so she would make my list if I made a list of "who would I be okay with Marvel killing off?" But I don't like that way of thinking, and I think some solidarity between people would do us all a lot of good. Because if we save all characters, we save our favorites as well. But if we all just stick to defending our favorites, then we'll likely save no one at all. Obviously there's a great chance we'll still save no one. But I'm still going to stick with the one that has the greater potential. At the end of the day, if Nico, Chase, and Laura survive I will probably get over Arena, just because they're the ones I've bothered to get to know. But if they die -- and especially if Laura dies -- then I've promised myself (and, in the letter I'm sending to marvel, I promise them) to quit Marvel altogether. I don't care if they bring her back in a year, or five. I don't want to support a company that is so nonchalant with the emotions of its readers.

EDIT:

@Timandm said:

I get what you're saying about being on the "fringe." At least, I think I do. You're saying that these characters aren't popular enough to die and be brought back. That's what you're saying, yes?

Yes, that is what I'm saying. I suppose, though, given what I just said, the likelihood of them possibly coming back doesn't really matter.

Posted by Timandm

@akbogert: I'm sorry to say it but Marvel IS nonchalant with the emotions of their readers...How else do you explain so many 'they're dead, oh not they're not!" situations?

I think they actually shamed themselves when they came out with that issue of Avengers during Fear Itself where the Black Widow went to a Newspaper publisher and told them to stop printing that Bucky Barnes was really alive.... They talked about how most of the heroes do actually come back and that death is nothing for Super Heroes... She spoke as if it were still a completely traumatic event...and soooo... not long after that we learn that the Black Widow KNEW BUCKY WAS STILL ALIVE AT THE TIME!!!!! So Marvel published a comic trying to make you feel bad when the comic book characters die, but THEY KNEW BUCKY HAD ALREADY COME BACK TO LIFE!

Here, I'll paste scans in...

During this whole issue she's going on about how "BUCKY IS DEAD! He is REALLY REALLY dead!!!!"

and after Fear Itself, it's revealed that she KNEW he was still alive.... So, here we have Marvel DELIBERATELY trying to make us think that Bucky was dead and DELIBERATELY trying to make us feel bad for him, when he was very much alive at the time that Natasha is having this conversation...... Talk about messing with the readers emotions...

But this isn't the only time they've pulled a stunt like this. How emphatic were the writers about Johnny Storm dying? Before it happened they kept saying, "One of the Fantastic Four is REALLY GOING TO DIE!" They explicitly stated that, "The Fantastic Four will be NO MORE!" Well, they did tell the truth in that Johnny DID die... In fact, he died many times while a captive of Anihilus in the negative zone... and he was brought back every single time... Now, here it is, two years later and... well you tell me.. Is the "Fantastic Four No More?" or are they alive and well and still going?

Marvel LOVES messing with their readers minds and hearts... That's why, even if I WANTED to be affected by the death of a Marvel Character, I know better...I'm almost completely numb to any death in the Marvel Universe... because they don't really mean anything...

But if you DO write a letter or start a petition, I'd love to be one of the people who signed it.... How's that?

Posted by akbogert

@Timandm: Well, actually, there's already at least one petition (courtesy of ), so by all means sign away. My own angle was more of a solidarity don't-buy-this-book call, but as a recent comment convinced me that cancellation wouldn't be enough to save the characters, I have taken to writing a letter. I will post it here once I figure out where such letters are sent (Axel Alonso? Joe Q? Probably not the actual Arena team...), so that anyone who wants to can also send it (after, of course, modifying it to fit their own commitment). I am quite serious about dropping Marvel for life if they kill off Laura, but I don't expect everyone else to make that kind of call. Still, it's how I feel, so it's what I'm going to tell them. The crux of my argument is that I will happily buy books with these characters in them in place of the book I'm not buying now.

I recognize that anything not creator-controlled runs the risk of stupid things like this. I'd swear off DC too, but I joined them post-New 52 and so I don't have any past with them to be pissed off about (but I know that there's a lot of that going on there too). I sort of envy people who don't get emotionally involved in fiction. I can't do it. I guess some of the jading comes over the course of so many events like the ones you just outlined (terrible, by the way). But for me to read, I have to care, and if I'm going to get hurt from caring then it's in my own best interest not to read. Bar none, if I had not gotten into comics, I would be a happier person right now than I am, without the anger and depression this franchise is generating for me.

Anyway, like I said, I'll post that letter soon enough. I'll be happy for anyone who gives me more than a "shut up, baby" response to it; should you feel compelled to send your own copy, that'd be awesome.

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