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Avengers Arena #12 - Game On Part 5 of 5 Review

3

Apex battles a powerful character and we're hit with a ginormous reveal.

The Good

Whenever Kevin Walker's on art, it's obvious the visuals are going to impress. The man has a real talent when it comes to illustrating a wide range of facial expressions and he perfectly conveys the mood each character is in, no matter what the situation may be. Whether they're struggling for their life, shocked or simply amused, Walker does a topnotch job bringing their emotions front and center. Walker also does wonderful work with the action (which there's plenty of) and setting the large stage for each scene. Meanwhile, Jean-Franco Beaulieu fills in the panels with gorgeously vivid coloring, giving each scene its own immersive and bright atmosphere. Overall, it's a really solid looking issue.

As for the script, thinking this is a conclusion to a big story would be a very misleading way to view things. Instead, it serves as a prelude for the next big story and writer Dennis Hopeless does so by hitting us with a massive development. Before we're hit with the twist, this issue is basically one big and quite amusing brawl which really delivers thanks to the art team. The development may fill some fans with hope, but I imagine it's too little too late for the many who have thrown aside this title because of how their favorite characters are being treated.

The Bad

I'm certainly no expert on Nico or the mystical side of things in Marvel, but it was my understanding the Staff of One couldn't bring people back from the dead, and it goes without saying Nico was quite deceased after casting the spell. I understand the logic is she put a lot of blood into the spell, but should that really suffice? And now that she's "recharged," what does that mean for her in the long run?

There's an interesting bit of dialogue in the opening scene which immediately stood out to me and seemingly calls out a certain group of readers. Apex is wondering who the real villain is behind this terrible scenario and one of her thoughts is that it's perhaps the "audience sitting at home, watching to see what horrible thing might happen next." Now, it's entirely possible I'm reading too much into this, but this seemed like a jab at the people who criticize the book yet still read it because they're attached to the cast of characters. Because, unless my memory is pulling an epic fail right now, I was under the impression Arcade (and his droid) was the only one watching this scenario.

Minor gripe: for a character who's only power is controlling technology, Apex sure can endure a lot of punishment. That was, what, 3 or so rather brutal attacks in close proximity to her?

The Verdict

As I said above, calling this the conclusion of a story is very misleading. In fact, it doesn't really wrap anything up except for Apex no longer being an immediate threat. If anything, it's primarily an opening for the next chapter, and based on the cliffhanger and "next" tease, it's sure to bring gigantic changes to the book's status quo. But, like I also stated above, it's understandable to be highly skeptical of this glimmer of hope and it's probably not enough to pull back fans who have walked away. Ultimately, it's Kevin Walker's commendable art which boosts this book from 2 stars to 3 stars for me. If you've been enjoying the ride, odds are you'll eat this one up, too. For everyone else, it all comes down to how you'll react to the huge development.

29 Comments
Edited by TommytheHitman

Last issue had my letter in. This series is awesome!

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Edited by Ravager4

@k4tzm4n How about we stop questioning whether or not Nico's staff can bring her back, and be thankful that it did? >.> *cough*

But really, considering all the other canonical violations throughout this series, I hardly think that this particular bit is any more head scratching than the others. Plus, to my knowledge, Nico had never attempted to bring someone back from the dead after she received her power boost from Witchbreaker and got a new staff (although, this doesn't explain why she didn't have that staff to begin with in this series and needed to die to receive it again... you see, canon violations right there), nor has she ever attempted to bring herself back to life, obviously, so it's entirely possible that the staff is only capable of resurrecting its master under certain circumstances.

I mean, it's all around bad writing how it happened, for sure, but again... I'm just going to be happy Nico is alive. For now.

****, they better not kill her again.

Posted by Trevel8182

DARKHAWK WHY GOD WHY!!!!

Edited by pspin

The main reason this series is bad, at least for me, is the way it just ignores years worth of continuity for the sake of doing it, sometimes, like here, it is for the better because living Nico is better than dead Nico, but it is really annoying seeing it happen so often and then it is just to make Apex look really powerful.

That being said, there is some great art and solid action here. I would give it a 2.5 but since there are no more half stars, a 3 sounds right. Great review.

Posted by blackkitty

I think the comment about people watching at home was probably two-fold. Sure, talking about the people reading it to see who dies but also, probably a stab at Hunger Games which this whole thing is kinda based upon. Still counting the days till this gets cancelled. I've done the only thing I can which is not buy it and never will.

Posted by Noteworthington

Just happy Nico is back!

Edited by The Mast

Honestly, I'm only reading this because I'm completist and I love Hazmat.

If she wasn't in this, I wouldn't be bothering. I hope she survives so that Gillen and McKelvie can snap her into Young Avengers (WHICH IS NOT SPOKEN ABOUT ENOUGH ON THIS SITE) and save her.

Edited by papad1992

@the_mast said:

Honestly, I'm only reading this because I'm completist and I love Hazmat.

If she wasn't in this, I wouldn't be bothering. I hope she survives so that Gillen and McKelvie can snap her into Young Avengers (WHICH IS NOT SPOKEN ABOUT ENOUGH ON THIS SITE) and save her.

I agree about Young Avengers... it seems no one ever talks about that series... and I'm enjoying it! :(

Posted by TheAcidSkull

@the_mast said:

Honestly, I'm only reading this because I'm completist and I love Hazmat.

If she wasn't in this, I wouldn't be bothering. I hope she survives so that Gillen and McKelvie can snap her into Young Avengers (WHICH IS NOT SPOKEN ABOUT ENOUGH ON THIS SITE) and save her.

Gillen wrote something good? there is a change.

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Edited by MatKrenz

I loved this issue so freaking much. I was laughing my ass off imagining the reactions this will get. And now Ill just wait.

Posted by General_Pandemonium

I actually love this series, although I'll admit that may well be because I don't know any of the continuity that's getting violated.

Not to clear on what the ending was implying though

Are the "dead" characters actually alive? it looks like Mettle was actually a LMD and Darkhawk, Red Raven and Kid Briton are in some sort of suspended animation

Posted by manwithoutshame

3/5 for me. It might have been better if someone had bitten the dust.

Posted by Veitha

Well, at least I've got new feats for Nico to use in the battle board lol

Edited by GonnaRain

Just glad Nico is back... kicking some ass and stuff.

Posted by akbogert

I'm saving the litany of issues I had with this for when the "season" (or series) ends (and @general_pandemonium hits the nail on the head that continuity violations are the thing that really ruin it all), but I will toss out one point which shouldn't require any knowledge outside of Arena to chew on:

Nico casts a spell which calls the staff into her hand.

Nico died because she bled out while trying to crawl to the staff.

How can you possibly call that death meaningful in any way at all if she immediately demonstrates the ability to do something which would have saved her life and inexplicably didn't do that?

(and while I'm seriously wondering if there's a valid answer to that, I may as well preemptively say that "she needed this dark resurrection power upgrade to be able to do that" is an unacceptable response as it relies on an extraordinarily broken understanding of how Nico's powers work...so don't bother responding if that's your response)

Edited by Madwizard321

I really loved this issue. It had a great twist at the end that makes me want to know more about it. Now I have to wait till issue 14 to see where the story leaves off at.

Edited by flazam
Posted by TheAcidSkull

if the ending of this issue is what i think it is, it's not that bad

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Posted by TheAmazingImmortalMan

I am a big fan of this series. I have not read this issue yet I just got it today.

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Posted by Noteworthington

@akbogert said:

I'm saving the litany of issues I had with this for when the "season" (or series) ends (and @general_pandemonium hits the nail on the head that continuity violations are the thing that really ruin it all), but I will toss out one point which shouldn't require any knowledge outside of Arena to chew on:

Nico casts a spell which calls the staff into her hand.

Nico died because she bled out while trying to crawl to the staff.

How can you possibly call that death meaningful in any way at all if she immediately demonstrates the ability to do something which would have saved her life and inexplicably didn't do that?

(and while I'm seriously wondering if there's a valid answer to that, I may as well preemptively say that "she needed this dark resurrection power upgrade to be able to do that" is an unacceptable response as it relies on an extraordinarily broken understanding of how Nico's powers work...so don't bother responding if that's your response)

It's a perfectly reasonable answer, though I'm sure we'll all respect your right to disagree with verbosity!

Posted by akbogert

@noteworthington: It is not a perfectly reasonable answer, since Nico's staff and powers have been changed and heightened since her encounter with her ancestor the Witchbreaker in 2007. For six years her staff has consistently had the appearance and power Nico now has, but it (and her power) was mysteriously reverted and nerfed as of AA #1. Without a viable explanation for why she mysteriously lost all that power in the first place, her "needing" to die to regain it is an unacceptable claim. She should have always had that power.

Moreover, it doesn't make any sense to suggest that calling a staff to her requires a power upgrade, but the things she has already done -- like teleporting an entire group of people, or transmuting a tree -- didn't.

By all means, explain to me how the argument is still "reasonable" in light of those two points.

Posted by LemmyCaution

Nico's staff can't bring others back from the dead. It can bring her back from the dead. Problem solved.

Edited by Noteworthington

@akbogert: I fully understand your ire and need to pass it off as dogma here, but it's just a difference of opinion. When I read comics, I'm aware of how stories and plots progress, and change and I'm generally much more able to cope with what would in stricter forms be considered glaring inaccuracies, yes.

As a fan of Nico, I am not at upset by the explanations hinted at so far, and I await a further fleshing out so I can continue to enjoy the story. =)

Edited by akbogert

@noteworthington: By all means, point to the opinion part of what I said. All I see is a date at which Nico's powers changed, a statement that those powers and the appearance of her staff have been consistent over the last six years, a statement that no explanation has been given for why after six years the staff reverted back and her powers were suddenly nerfed, and the stipulation that teleporting several human beings miles away requires more power than moving a wooden staff several yards. If you'd like to dispute any of those objective statements, go for it.

What you may not do is tell me I am wrong and then fail to back up any of it or address any of the points which I use to defend my "opinion." Belittling me by suggesting I'm irrationally blinded by anger or too hung up on minutia doesn't actually advance the discussion at all.

Honestly, I am angry. I don't usually get angry. But the fact that I have presented an objective complaint and you are flatly brushing it aside as the "understandable" (but lamentably flawed) product of my "neediness" and dependence on somehow latching onto something is just incredibly disrespectful. Nothing I said was a matter of opinion, except that I think continuity and canon are meaningful things in a shared creative universe. Other than that, I'm not entirely certain what you stand to gain by saying what amounts to "this isn't a big deal because I don't care about it."

EDIT: I am no longer angry. But the truth is I do quite tire of being told something is "just my opinion" as a means of not addressing my complaints, particularly when I make a point of keeping my complaints as objective as possible.

Posted by Perfect 10

best issue of the series so far. love the spotlight on nico. as i always say, magic rules. this reminded me of that storyarc in runaways where nico came across her ancestors (grandparents?) who tapped into her true potential. now she can channel power through her left arm not just her staff and the girl is just uber badass. my suspicions were correct: they are in murder world not a real place so a lot of what they are seeing are hard light holograms and robotics. i didnt expect that last page. so he is keeping alive the ones that have "died" but for what purpose? if only nico could have left a fissure in the ground so they could see what was below. what a way to end an arc. amazing, this is tied with justice league 22 but the more i think about it the more im leaning towards it being the best to come out this week (still havent read a couple of issues like east of west yet)

Posted by DJBWAB

I don't understand all of the hate for this series. I'm glad a lot of the characters I love are getting page time and developing. It seems like a lot of the people who are hating on this series are the same people who hated it when the teasers were released last year because of how they thought it would be and seem to be looking for any reason to justify their hate. Maybe its because "people are so utterly self righteous we refuse to take responsibility for our evil doings" -Apex. OK, maybe not evil, but people don't like to admit that they were wrong. Are there plotholes at this point? YES. But I fully these to be addressed. Hopeless explained the " Mischaracterized X-23 Plothole of issue 10" in the letters page of issue 12, and I don't think that Dennis is that irresponsible of a writer that the witchbreaker staff (Which Nico obtained less than a dozen issues after the death of gert in runaways vol.2, an event mentioned in the series btw) would not be featured in series, despite appearing on the cover of issue 6, unless there was some reason. Patience is a virtue, my friends.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

Greg I also Remembered. if anyone Picks the staff up other than nico, a Giant snake/dragon eats them, i'm Not joking.

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