Comic Vine Review

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Avengers Arena #13 - The Devil's Greatest Trick Review

4

For months we've seen these poor kids fighting each other to the death. Why the heck hasn't anyone noticed they're missing? Christos Gage gives us the answer.

The Good

From the beginning, AVENGERS ARENA has been surrounded by a bit of controversy. Consisting of a bunch of young heroes from the Avengers Academy, Runaways and other parts of the Marvel Universe, we've been watching brutal death after brutal death. This all comes from Arcade having kidnapped all the kids and forcing them to fight each other for survival. The controversy comes from the feeling of unnecessary gratuitous killings for the sake of being edgy or shocking.

Call me optimistic, I feel there is clearly more to the story. There have been some deaths that have been a little "too much" or simply hard when it was a character I cared about. Because we're talking "comic book deaths," the deaths may not be what they appear to be.

A big question that hasn't really been asked was how could all these kids be missing for weeks without any of the adults noticing? With several coming from the Avengers Academy, you would think someone would notice and be on the search for them. After all, we are talking about Arcade being the "mastermind" behind all of this. That's where Christos Gage comes in.

Gage is not stranger to some of these characters. The story consists of Hank Pym trying to look into the possibility of missing super-powered children at the request of Molly Hayes. Without giving anything away, Hank embarks on a pretty intensive hunt and we do get some answers. It does make sense and was a nice thing to see.

The Bad

Depending on how you look at this, this could be seen as a bit of filler in terms of the fighting. This is an important angle that definitely should have been investigated and it's great to see some follow up on it. Partly it felt like it was shown to us after the fact. This could have been a story prepared for from the beginning but it just felt like it was presented at the last minute.

Karl Moline does a good job depicting the numerous characters but there were a couple that looked a little off.

The Verdict

Are people still outraged over this title? In a nice change of pace, we get to see what is happening in the outside world as the kidnapped super-powered children continue their fight to the death. As these kids remain missing, there would have to be adults or fellow teammates wondering what happened to them. Christos Gage returns to tell the story in a fitting fashion since he has written several of them in the pages of AVENGERS ACADEMY. While the story does make sense, it almost felt as if it was a last minute decision to give us this story now rather than show any indication before. It also feels as if it's interrupting the flow the main story a bit. There is still no telling how this story will end. With stories like this one, we can feel assured that there definitely has been some thought put into the overall idea.

27 Comments
Posted by M3th

What are you talking about Tony? Plenty of people have asked why motha adults have seem to not notice that they are missing.

Edited by TheAcidSkull

poor Molly.

As for This issue, it wasn't that Bad, in fact things are getting slightly better, i am still disliking the whole series due to it's premise though.

This was an improvement. and for once hank Pym was written well, that doesn't happen to often.

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Posted by Ravager4

@g_man: Problem with this is that some of the "reasons" don't make sense. For example, in regards to the Runaways, Karolina says that Chase and Nico "left together" because they must have developed real feelings for each other and wanted to figure it out, yet the only indication of these feelings she ever got is from a note that they left when they disappeared? These kids lived together. They're close to each other, they consider each other family, and yet we're supposed to believe that Karolina would never have noticed developing feelings between two of her closest friends, when they live together? And furthermore, she doesn't find it the least bit odd that they explained this via note and then just up and vanished, without saying goodbye in person, with as close as they are to each other? That is beyond forced. What I take away from that is that Karolina is a gullible idiot and that Molly, the emotional twelve year old girl, has more sense than the other characters in the book.

Posted by lykopis

Just read it -- it was just convenience after convenience -- too pat, too settled -- too whatever.

While I appreciate the effort, this really did come off as a filler and carried no weight for me in terms of making it seem a-ok that those who care about these kids aren't worried about them. The supposed trump card aside -- the easy answers and supposed "makes sense" conclusions of all these "adults" came across just like the series, which is non-sensical. Even Juston and his supposed about face -- he was incredibly close to Sentinel and now he's happy to leave him in the shed and act like a normal kid? After all that garbage he went through with his parents?

Hazmat and Mettle taking off together is even worse -- no need to run away -- are they not adults? How can Hazmat's parents threaten to charge Mettle with anything with Hazmat by his side?

Is Captain Britain really that obtuse? These are kids still enrolled in his Academy, you would think he would have round them up a while ago rather than act like it's "kids will be kids".

I get the X-23 angle, it's a bit much to think she would contact Jubilee via text and discuss a falling out of any kind with another friend but having her go off on her own is believable. The rest? Not so much.

Anyway -- appreciate the review, Gage did a great job with what he had and while it was fun seeing so many characters interspersed throughout, it didn't do much in convincing all this would be possible. In a world of Phoenix's and mutants popping up everywhere, you would think there would be closer tabs on graduates. Most students stick close to home and not take off so while they can try to put out the idea they want their own space, there wasn't anyone they needed space from except for one character and that was Juston. And he's exactly where he shouldn't be which is with his parents.

Trump card not withstanding, I didn't expect much from this issue -- if anything, it's annoying at just how easy the disappearance of so many superhumans became possible.

Edited by G-Man

@m3th: Guess I've missed people bringing that up. It hasn't in the comics. I've tried checking the comments when an issue gets reviewed but they've seemed to mostly be angry comments towards the unnecessary killing of the characters.

Staff
Posted by Outside_85

Am I outraged? No.

I am just irritated it's still here.

Online
Edited by AlKusanagi

I'm enjoying it but, come on, how is anyone taking the deaths seriously? It's all just a "They're in the Matrix" story and the majority of the characters will be just fine by its conclusion.

Edited by BR_Havoc

No longer outraged by this book, I just pretend it does not exist with it getting relaunched soon enough I doubt the characters stay dead.

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Edited by kid Apollo

sooo im gona call it here folks. im guessing that the end of the series will show that these kids arent dead, then as a list ditch play, a captured Arcade will actually kill one of them.

not gonna speculate who it might be, but ive got a feeling itll be one of the bigger characters (Nico, Hazmat, Chase)

Posted by Bonzi161

I havnt read this series yet... but im gonna. Im all for killing off heroes, now im just hoping it sticks... when they killed off batman (I know that was DC im just making an example) and replaced him with Dick I was hoping it lasted longer... If Marvel can do well killing off some of the younger heroes Maybe that will get them to kill off some major ones... for good... Change is not always bad!

Edited by G-Man

@kid_apollo: I basically said that months ago on the podcast. I think they're all virtual deaths or they're teleported out last minute and replaced. The big question would be to what purpose?

Staff
Edited by Outside_85

Well, it seems the end is in sight:

AVENGERS ARENA #17 & 18

DENNIS HOPELESS (W)

KEV WALKER (A)

Issue #17 - COVER BY FRANCESCO FRANCAVILLA

Issue #18 - COVER BY DAVE JOHNSON

Issue #17 - “BOSS LEVEL” PART 4: THE FINAL FIGHTS RAGE ON!

• Up on Murder World Island, it’s the surviving contestants in an all-out battle royale!

• Down in Arcade’s lair, it’s two other contestants vs. Arcade!

Issue #18 - “BOSS LEVEL” PART 5: THE SEARING SERIES FINALE!

• Arcade’s mad plan comes to pass! Who lives? Who dies?

• Shock follows shock as the game reaches its last desperate seconds!

• AVENGERS ARENA ends herebut it’s also the launch pad for what comes next!

32 PGS. (EACH)/Rated T+ $2.99 (EACH)

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Edited by Ravager4

@g_man said:

@kid_apollo: I basically said that months ago on the podcast. I think they're all virtual deaths or they're teleported out last minute and replaced. The big question would be to what purpose?

We have been told repeatedly that this is not virtual and that the deaths are actually occurring. So, unless we are being flat out lied to, then your hopes are entirely wishful thinking.

Posted by Raiden1106

I'd like to think this was made as a giant middle finger to the self entitled immature brats that spend more of their energy worrying about ink and paper than actually doing something that matters, which for my money is never a bad thing

Edited by ngrey651

Yeah, THIS is why I read comics. To see young kids and teens getting killed off. Why on Earth would we want people who were fan favorites and true heroes to get MEANINGFUL deaths, where their demises actually matter as they save lives? No, we want them to be completely superfluous, because at any time the fickle f--king writer will kill them off because he wants to invoke a sense of shock and horror in the reader! This comic and this type of attitude that this comic conveys is WASTEFUL and insulting to the people who love these characters, ESPECIALLY those who cared deeply for the "Runaways" characters.

Edited by V_Scarlotte_Rose

I don't read this series, but can anyone tell me if this would be worth getting, as a Hank Pym fan?

Posted by MrStatham

@raiden1106: Yeah, because you coming on here and thinking you're so cool because you can tell off these 'immature brats' is such a constructive use of your time. Go do 'something that matters'.

Edited by musim

I really enjoy this series. Its not my favorite but it made Arcade a villain that isn't a complete joke on top of taking characters that I at least care about and killing them off in a horrible way. When heroes don't die then the villains aren't doing their job right. Its not my favorite series by any means (Bendi's X titles are taking that spot followed closely by Angel & Faith) but its still pretty good.

Edited by blackkitty

Am I angry, yes. But, I for one do not want to give the book any publicity. If there's contravercy then there's sales. I want this book to die a miserable death and do a little happy dance every time I see it slipping in sales. Other than that, I stay quiet and do the only thing I can, not buy it.

Posted by w0nd

@g_man: Problem with this is that some of the "reasons" don't make sense. For example, in regards to the Runaways, Karolina says that Chase and Nico "left together" because they must have developed real feelings for each other and wanted to figure it out, yet the only indication of these feelings she ever got is from a note that they left when they disappeared? These kids lived together. They're close to each other, they consider each other family, and yet we're supposed to believe that Karolina would never have noticed developing feelings between two of her closest friends, when they live together? And furthermore, she doesn't find it the least bit odd that they explained this via note and then just up and vanished, without saying goodbye in person, with as close as they are to each other? That is beyond forced. What I take away from that is that Karolina is a gullible idiot and that Molly, the emotional twelve year old girl, has more sense than the other characters in the book.

why does marvel hate the runaways lol

Posted by Perfect 10

looking at the cover made me think "there should be a shot issue focusing on people's reactions to their disappearances (if any)" and lo and behold this issue. what did arcade mean by "the kids skin hid my cybernetics well" ? does it mean that mettle is dead or he somehow got his skin off without killing him? as usual a good issue just ready for them to take the fight to arcade

Posted by impossibilly

I don't read this series, but can anyone tell me if this would be worth getting, as a Hank Pym fan?

It's a good Hank Pym one-and-done and you wouldn't have to have read the rest of Avengers Academy for this issue to make sense. This issue is Hank doing his best Ralph Dibney, and doesn't utilize the powers and abilities he's mostly known for.

Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose

@v_scarlotte_rose said:

I don't read this series, but can anyone tell me if this would be worth getting, as a Hank Pym fan?

It's a good Hank Pym one-and-done and you wouldn't have to have read the rest of Avengers Academy for this issue to make sense. This issue is Hank doing his best Ralph Dibney, and doesn't utilize the powers and abilities he's mostly known for.

Sounds alright. I'll maybe get a copy. Thanks. :)

Posted by impossibilly

Whoops, meant to have said Avengers Arena, not Avengers Academy in my previous post.