By akbogert 79 Comments
Let's begin with an anthology. Once upon a time, I discovered the existence of Avengers Arena, and I wrote a lot about it. How much? Well...
(Adam joins Comic Vine specifically to complain about this series)
I've also contributed to every conversation even tangentially associated with the book. I may have started other threads and can't find them right now. The point is, I've had a lot to say. And through it all, one point remained constant: this book, and what it said to me about Marvel in general, was going to be a lynchpin.
Today, at C2E2, Marvel confirmed a few things about Avengers Arena. First of all, campaigns to boycott or cancel the book have soundly failed. Hopeless and Rosemann introduced the cover for #14 as the beginning of a new story arc which will last at least until #18, by which point according to Hopeman, "you'll know who won/survived Arcade's twisted game." (Oh and in case you missed it in Issue 7, Hopeman clarifies in that interview that the virtual reality thing was never meant to be implied and that readers have been tricking themselves into thinking it might be).
But with ten issues to go, there are a lot of kids alive. . As Hopeman begins another interview, "Most of them won't make it, and those who do will be fundamentally changed." won't make it. That might have been obvious to some people, but for those who had been holding on with some degree of hope that the deaths would be few before the kids outsmarted Arcade and escaped...stop hoping. As for the ones who live? I've said before that as much as I want X-23 to survive, doing so would basically reverse all the character development every other writer had ever put into her to keep her from stuff like this. Fundamentally changed indeed. More like fundamentally ruined.
And as I considered that, I realized that Laura is already dead. Her "survival" has been taken for granted by so many people that I've already pretty much come to terms with the fact that her winning would be too obvious. I don't know what ostensibly "shocking" way Hopeless has in mind to make her lose, but it won't shock me at all. She's the fan favorite and considered an unfair match. She's going to die.
And the fact that the alternative is that she lives, having killed her friends and been forced once again to be used for someone else's bloody purposes, leaves me with little to hold onto.
Meanwhile, what of the others? I own every volume of Runaways ever published. I had been planning to read Avengers Academy in trades. And now, what for? What's the use of going back and falling in love with more characters the way I did with X-23, when I know they're destined for this? When I look at the odds and have now had guaranteed that at least some, if not all of them, will die?
Why, in fact, invest in Marvel characters at all, when they can be tossed into a meat grinder like this (for at the end of the day, that's what it is -- and don't forget the part where Marvel themselves marketed the book to people who wanted to see the roster of teen characters shrink)? When all the protesting in the world is irrelevant, and when there's always another person on the CV or CBR or Twitter to celebrate that killing and mock your pain and impotence? When money really does triumph over heart?
I'm sick of playing games.
With C2E2's news, I'm officially looking at a Game Over screen with Marvel Comics.
That means I am, today, removing all Marvel books from my pull list. I will not go back and buy their trades or back issues. I'm not even going to read the hundreds of free books I just got in the past month's promotion.
On this screen, I see the immortal word flashing: "Continue?"
The countdown timer begins.
It's not over until we hit zero. And because I don't want to make an oath I can't hold to, I am not going to make a permanent declaration just yet. But unless Hopeless and Rosemann blow me away with how Arena turns out, I will let that timer run dry, and I will promise never to buy another Marvel product ever again.
I envy those of you who are able to read comics (or anything, really) and not get emotionally invested. The ones for whom the fictional nature of a character means you never really care what happens. The ones who can say "oh well" and move on and not really be hurt. But I'm not like that, and this book has proved to be my breaking point.
Congratulations, folks who are sick of hearing from me about it. This is likely the last blog on the topic. And you won't see me tossing my two cents in on all of the conversations because I no longer care what happens. I'll inevitably hear about this character or that one biting the dust, and it will still hurt, but I'll have already been in mourning. Short of a miraculous resurrection, Marvel is already dead to me.
/gets off soapbox
/prematurely flips the bird to anyone who comes in here to mock me