Avengers Arena Theory

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.

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New 52 vs. Marvel Now: Which is better?

New 52 vs. Marvel Now: Which is better?*

*Disclaimer: this is not about the quality of the books or the ramifications to the history but about the marketing and prelaunch structure.*

**I was going to wait until one of every new Marvel Now title came out but seeing as it isn’t until February, and it isn’t necessary to read all of them, let’s do this now.**

About a year and a half ago, DC announced the New 52, a “relaunch” that wasn’t a reboot. It was supposed to be a way for new readers to be able to start reading comics and now be bogged down by nearly three quarters of a century of history and stories. The idea was radicle and a huge risk, seeing one of the biggest companies in the industry just restart everything was mind boggling and many people thought it was stupid. That being said, it worked. Comic sales went up, at least for a little while, and more people who were not reading comics decided to give the medium a chance. The success that this move made meant that it was only a matter of time before it was copied by its competitors and it was. Top Cow started Top Cow Rebirth which restarted Witchblade and Artifacts and it also seemed to be a successful move as well. The success of the New 52 started a timer of sorts that counted down until Marvel did the same thing or at least a similar idea and thus Marvel Now was born.

Was the New 52 the only factor in this move, doubtful, companies are always trying to come up with new ways to entice new customers into buying their product, the Marvel Cinematic Universe as it is called has clearly had an effect on the main Marvel Universe (616) with the advent of Nick Fury Jr. (Or whatever his name is.) With a relaunch being an idea there were two ways to take it; one, they could copy DC’s formula and restart everything from one common point, and let it roll; or two, they could simply make a common jumping on point for everyone across all of their books and unify the direction of the main titles. Both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages depending on if you are a new or old reader. The first option is advantageous to new readers, you would only need minimal knowledge about the characters to enjoy the series and it makes jumping in and figuring out what you like a little bit easier but it is disadvantageous as it is a bit of a slap in the face to old readers if their favorite stories are not in continuity anymore or if they characters are not the ones they grew up with. The second option is a bit of a middle ground, being advantageous to older readers because it is very similar to the older universe and everything is still in continuity and the characters are basically the same as they were even if are a little different. This is at the cost of new readers having a little more to tread through when it comes to continuity and what is going on. DC struck the first blow as it is by going with option one, the more risky option and Marvel went with option two, the safer option.

The format of the “jumping on point” that the two rivals are using is not the only difference in the way that these are presented to readers, the marketing campaigns are very different as well. DC used a very large, but relatively clear campaign that highlighted the fact that everything is starting over and is perfect for new readers while staying a fairly hush-hush about continuity, particularly with the more classic Batman stories, but none the less were fairly straight forward about what was going on. Marvel has been very mysterious about what is going on with their titles but fairly straight forward about everything being relatively the same in regards to continuity. Let’s break down what both companies have done to see which strategy is better.

DC started early with their idea and it was fairly clear from the beginning that they had been contemplating this idea for a long time and it was not made lightly. This was evident in the months preceding the relaunch with many of the interviews here on Comic Vine. They took a big risk but they were clear about what was going on. When they released what titles were going to be a part of it, the released them in stages, which is to be expected, and they released many of them by “family,” e.g. the Super-family, the Bat-family, the various Justice League titles, etc. What they did was very easy to understand and very direct: Any title under the regular DC banner is done and will be replaced by these new titles. They even gave it a catchy new name The New 52, which told people what was happening and how many titles there were and that there were enough to appeal to anyone who liked superhero comics. This was a big risk but it potentially had a big reward, it could entice a lot of new readers, it was also announced that the continuity of the DCU was going to be restarting, this was one of the more risky aspects of the plan as it could seriously anger old fans but they banked on the idea that they would at least give a chance to the new titles and it seemed to work well enough. DC didn’t just stop at advertising to regular comic readers who would continue to read their books, they had advertisements on TV and in movie theaters and posters, they tried very hard to get new readers to walk into a comic book store and pick up that new DC book. They also worked in a “hard start” meaning that it all happened in one month. Every title was on the same number and schedule and it came out in week one, two, three, or four. This was a move that new and old readers could get behind as it really didn’t impact old readers and made jumping in and starting a collection for new readers very easy. They had a very big campaign and undeniably it worked.

DC was able to bring in new readers, I know for a fact that I started reading more DC titles because of the New 52. I even had a few friends who started reading DC books because of it. Love it or hate it, DC pulled it off, they were clear, confident and marketed the bejesus out of the idea to gain some more customers and to become groundbreakers in the industry.

On the other side you have Marvel and Marvel Now. This was a bit more reactionary than any Marvel executive will admit, if not to try and replicate DC’s success then to try and make more money off of the Avengers. They took a different approach to the same basic principle; they are doing a soft start instead of copying DC. This is a valid approach to the problem of starting if not the most direct method. Marvel’s marketing campaign seems to be directed primarily at old readers who have been buying Marvel Comics for a while as the marketing campaign has been much more narrow, even non-existent. Marvel’s main approach was releasing a series of black pages with the author and artist’s last names and one (maybe two) words that gives a clue about the book. This was a bit of a risky strategy as it was fairly indirect and was the exact opposite of DC’s approach. It was a risk, and it didn’t really pay off. The cards were confusing and didn’t really let the audience know what was going on, sure it told them what characters are probably going to show up but nothing was definitive, it was murky, it didn’t even reveal the title of the comic. When the titles were revealed, they weren’t in the same format, I remember just seeing a few articles with a few titles a piece that just told the audience what many had figured out and it still didn’t reveal much about what was going on in the series. Where are the TV commercials and the movie theater promos? There are a few posters but they seem to be less wide spread than the New 52 ones. This has all culminated in a rather lackluster release that really has neither gotten people as excited as they could have been. Another gaffe that stems partly from the card format and partly from poor marketing is that some books are being cancelled and some are being renumbered and some are changing names but only some of the changes were highlighted. Like New Mutants is being cancelled, that was not made clear until a while after the original announcement; or Iron Man is getting renumbered and renamed but Uncanny X-Force is only getting renumbered. These things made it difficult for the target audience to understand what is going on.

Some of this also stems from Marvel’s plan for a soft start. Instead of releasing all of their books at once, they release a few at a time over the course of several. This is a nice move, a transition that can let people test the waters a bit before jumping in and that is a good idea but the problem with the soft start, and with the marketing campaign, is that it makes it much harder to know which books are being cancelled, which are being renumbered and which are being renamed. This is in opposition to the hard start that is very abrupt and sudden but puts everyone on equal footing.

One thing that is very similar in the way that both of these relaunches are starting is the lead in. DC used Flashpoint to lead in and provide and answer to why everything changed while Marvel is using Avengers vs. X-Men to use more of a same-universe-but-different approach. This is where the hard and soft start come into play again. A hard start basically means to a creative team: your series is being cancelled so wrap it up by this date because everything is changing. This could be hard on a writer because they could be forced to end a story prematurely and that is annoying as a reader as well. The soft start side steps this problem by allowing writers to finish their story by about this time but there is not an immediate rush. This is a little more pleasing as it also avoids pointless filler from series that ended sooner or their outright non-publication if they finish too soon. Both have their ups and downs but from the idea of a fresh and new beginning, the hard start is the better option in the long run.

Personally I have always considered myself to be more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan but given the way that both companies have handled two very similar ideas in radically different ways, it is clear that DC is the winner. Their marketing campaign for the New 52 was better and it called to new readers as well as old; the use of the hard start was better for their idea of a new universe and easy for new readers to understand. They were clear with their idea and direction and made sure that the potential customer knew that as well, of course they didn’t reveal everything but it was a lot of information none the less. Marvel on the other hand has been much less clear about what is going on with Marvel Now other than the bare bones of the idea and that seems to have been much more of a turn off to readers. Users on Comic Vine seem to be more confused and jaded with Marvel Now than confused and curious as they were with the New 52. It is interesting to see the two companies approach to the same idea but when it comes to which one had been more successful from a marketing and prelaunch structure, DC clearly did it better by being clear and decisive about what they were doing.

*Disclaimer: this is not about the quality of the books or the ramifications to the history but about the marketing and prelaunch structure.*

Agree? Disagree? Please comment on this issue as I am very curious about what other people think about this!

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Marvel Now Changes 2.0

According to the NYCC posts here on Comic Vine these are the Marvel Now titles

Avengers Titles

Avengers

Avengers Arena

Avengers Assemble

New Avengers

Secret Avengers

Uncanny Avengers

Young Avengers

Cosmic Titles

Guardians of the Galaxy

Nova

Individual Titles

Captain America

Captain Marvel

Daredevil

Fantastic Four

FF

Hawkeye

Indestructible Hulk

Iron Man

Morbius the Living Vampire

Scarlet Spider

Superior Spider-Man

Thor: God of Thunder

Venom

X-Men

All-New X-Men

Cable and X-Force

Deadpool

Savage Wolverine

Other

A+X

These are just the ones that were mentioned in the posts which leave out Uncanny X-Force, I was under the impression that it was getting renumbered and a new creative team and direction and wasn’t cancelled, and Wolverine and the X-Men, which I have heard nothing about and am under the assumption that it is continuing.

For dates on when some of these come out, check my other post about Marvel Now

***This list is in no way official. This was done by me in my spare time.***

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Marvel Now changes

This is a list of the Marvel Now changes. It is unofficial as I got all of the information from comiclist.com and not Marvel but comic list is always very accuarate.

Cancelled

  • Uncanny X-Men #20 10-17-12
  • New Mutants #50 10-31-12
  • Avengers Academy #39 11-7-12
  • Defenders #12 11-7-12

Restarting

  • Fantastic Four #611 10-10-12 as Fantastic Four #1 11-14-12
  • FF #23 10-24-12 as FF #1 11-28-12
  • Captain America #19 10-24-12 as Captain America #1 11-21-12
  • Deadpool #63 10-24-12 as Deadpool #1 11-7-12
  • Incredible Hulk #15 10-24-12 as Indestructible Hulk #1 11-21-12
  • Invincible Iron Man #527 10-24-12 as Iron Man #1 11-7-12
  • X-Men: Legacy #275 10-24-12 as X-Men: Legacy #1 11-14-12
  • Mighty Thor #22 10-31-12 as Thor God of Thunder#1 11-14-12
  • Avengers #34 11-21-12 as Avengers #1 12-5-12

New

  • Uncanny Avengers #1 10-10-12
  • Marvel Now Point One #1 10-17-12
  • A+X #1 10-31-12
  • All New X-Men #1 11-7-12
  • Avengers Arena #1 December 2012
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The Physical Aspects of Rogue's Powers

Everyone knows Rogue’s powers, she absorbs the powers of whoever gives skin to skin contact with her and she keeps them for a while before they wear off and she goes back to normal and this has been consistent pretty much since day one with the only thing varying is her control. One thing that is far less consistent is the representation of the copy, mainly her physical appearance. In the shows like X-Men: Evolution, Wolverine and the X-Men, and even the 90’s X-Men series she is commonly portrayed as shape shifting after absorbing someone’s powers however in the comics it is much less common. While she occasionally does, the last one that really comes to mind was during Second Coming in X-Men: Legacy 235 and X-Force 26 where she copies Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Angel and gets an aspect of each of their appearances. The most recent physical transformation that I have found was in X-Men: Legacy 266 and 267 where she turned green after touching She-Hulk and in 270 when she fights a demon and gains its appearance.

This aspect of Rogue’s power is very underused as it could be used to not just straight copy the appearance but it could also be used as a slightly variant design. For example, if she copied Colossus’s original power (not the Juggernaut) instead of just getting silver skin, she could have small spikes on her arms or something like that to make it similar but different; this could work for people without physical mutations as well such as Ms. Marvel (Captain Marvel now) as she could get blonde hair instead of brown or a more radical transformation such as gaining a figure closer to Ms. Marvel’s. There are literally hundreds of possibilities out there.

Now since there were two in three issue, that seems like a lot but the She-Hulk one really doesn’t count since she just turned green, wouldn’t a more appropriate Hulk family power copy be green skin and more muscle mass? Of course this could not hold true for all people, like Wolverine, if she copied him, she would just get the claws, not the sideburns and other things of that nature.

This physical aspect of her powers could lead to more freedom for the artist to have fun with new or at least altered character designs and could lead to interesting stories, for example if she needed to deliver an important message but needed to borrow Beast’s power and grew blue fur. This could be used not only for visual gags, which could get entertaining, but serious stories as well; for example if the X-Men got stranded on an alien world and needed to infiltrate somewhere.

While this transformation doesn’t have to happen every time I feel that this was one aspect commonly used on the television shows and only semi-frequently in the comics that could lead to some interesting character designs and stories as well, thereby expanding the character a little more in a way that has, to my knowledge, never been done before. In a medium like comics, any chance to expand a character in a new way, as long as it is reasonable and this is, should be taken.

Do you agree?

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James Bond Comics

The new Skyfall trailer came out today and it looked pretty awesome and gives me high hopes for that movie. James Bond is a classic and timeless character that just keeps going and going. Ian Fleming wrote 14 James Bond books and when Skyfall comes out this November it will be the 23rd Bond film. Clearly James Bond is a sales juggernaut that will continue to sell.

Since James Bond and 007 are instantly recognizable and everyone knows them by sight and knows the theme song, comics would be a great medium for Bond It could provide back story for him like from his younger years or show what happens to other agents since other 00's are mentioned but the only one shown was 006 in Goldeneye (I believe). An ongoing series would be a great way to show how the various (and sometimes over the top) villains became who they are, Jaws in particular would be interesting. Heck, they could even show what happens to the Bond Girls or other supporting characters when the movie is done. The movies leave what happens to supporting characters largely unaddressed and comics would provide a great way for a large and mostly established universe to expand even more.

In short a James Bond ongoing could be really good, a classic character combined with action, espionage and of course the Bond Girls combines for a great story. I would buy it, what do you think?

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Avengers Academy Should Shake Up Their Teaching Staff

Avengers Academy Should Shake Up Their Teaching Staff

Recently it was announced that Hawkeye would be getting his own series, and when you combine that with all of the other books he is in it is obvious that he has come down with a nasty case of what I like to call “Wolverine Syndrome” there is really only one noticeable symptom: being in way too many books. I am not saying that he isn’t cool or anything like that but he is staring in a lot and in a team book like Avengers Academy, there are a lot of people that have fallen to the background even though they are in no other books. I am thinking mostly about people like X-23 and Quicksilver. Hawkeye doesn’t need to leave, just step to the background; if he did leave though, I doubt the book would take a sales hit, I highly doubt that anyone reads AA just for Hawkeye

Quicksilver is already a member of the staff and has been for a while but it seems like he never gets much focus even though he is only in this book besides the occasional cameo in an Avengers title or X-Book. He is a very capable teacher with a very interesting recent past with the whole Terrigen Mist episode and his daughter. This could lead to some interesting developments for the Academy if he was given enough time to actually come to the forefront in the book.

However the writers (or editors, whoever) are really missing out on a goldmine: X-23. Several months ago, her series was canceled and just before that she joined the Academy and since then she has… done absolutely nothing. Seriously given her upbringing and the adventures she has gone on with the X-Men, X-23 is unique in the book and uniquely qualified to teach the students there in everything from self-defense to how do deal with a captor in a high pressure situation. With all of these life experiences she should share her knowledge with the rest of the students form a teaching perspective instead of a friend to friend perspective. If the whole point of Avengers Academy is to make sure that students do not become twisted heroes or villains because of people like Norman Osborne, what better way to prevent that then to have someone who has been in a similar situation teach the kids about ways to resist and use experiences like that to their advantage and become a better person. It is clear that X-23 has a small legion of fans, why not get those fans reading a new series by making her more of a star, it would be a win-win for readers and Marvel.

Due to these factors, Hawkeye should take a leave of absence or at least step back to let the kids experience a new teacher who have had different experiences share their knowledge with the students while he is off on his own adventures or saving the world with the real Avengers. Characters like X-23 are too good to waste in the background of a book; she needs to be closer to the forefront to be helpful instead of on the tipping point of being in limbo like she is now. I hope that she gets a focus in the AvX crossovers with the X-kids and then stays closer to the front of the book instead of where she is.

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Adding Issues to a Page

I was editing a a page and was trying to add issues that the character was in but for the life of me I cannot figure out how. I was wondering if anyone could explain it to me easier?

Please Help!!

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Hope vs Wanda: Last minute AvX speculation

So Avengers vs X-Men comes out tomorrow and everyone knows that Scarlet Witch is coming back and Hope has something to do with the Phoenix Force returning. Personally I see this whole thing coming down to a fight between Hope and Wanda. It seems to me that the only important thing that the Scarlet Witch has ever done was House of M and Decimation and since then she has been in limbo because no one wants to use her because she is crazy and kills everyone. Does anyone else think (really really want) Hope to finally kill the Scarlet Witch if for no other reason than to give better closure than have an immensly powerful wild card in limbo doing nothing, I do.

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Generation Hope ending (?)

I am a fan of Generation Hope, it might not be the best but it was a fun book for team Cyclops. Anyway a few weeks ago I was told that issue 17 was going to be the final issue. Having read it, it really didn't seem like a final issue it seemed more like it was pausing for AvX and would pick up after that or at another point in the future. Does anyone know if the book was canceled or on hiatus?

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