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Avengers Arena #18 - Boss Level Part 5 of 5 Review

4

And so we come to the end. Who is left? What is left of who is left?

The Good

Whew! I never thought we’d make it to this point, if I’m honest. Not because of a lack of quality on the part of Dennis Hopeless or any of the artists who’ve done an amazing job on this title, but because the concept just seemed so out there and extreme. If Kirkman was afraid that Marvel Zombies wouldn’t be allowed to exist as a series, I can’t imagine what the meetings on this book were like. But I’m very, very glad that it did endure because this was a perfectly satisfying, terrific end to this title. There are a lot of small details that are paid off very well and a few old references that wind up having a huge impact. Reading this also makes the end of this week’s All New X-Men make a great deal more sense as well. Also: CHASEHAWK!

Series architect Kev Walker returns to finish what he started in all its messy, vicious form. This is one of the best moment-to-moment books and I never cease to be impressed by the visual designs that he helped create across this series and this particular issue is no exception. While a great deal of the battles are against previously unseen foes, there’s still a weight and impact to them and these characters definitely look like they’ve been through 29 (or 30) days of absolute Hell. Walker is also on inks along with Jason Gorder and this book has always had very understated, subtle inking in it. Whether it’s because most of the book takes place in broad daylight or because it makes the characters feel strangely connected, I think the inks are a great. Jean-Francois Beaulieu rounds out colors and what colors they are. Muddy, grimy, rough and all very intentional, this book’s visuals communicate the characters’ torment as much as the words.

The Bad

What exactly was going on with Chris Powell last issue is left very, very unanswered. I won’t go into too fine of detail, but it definitely seemed like something was specifically up at the end of last issue, and this issue he doesn’t even show up. While there’s not quite a deus ex machina that resolves everything, there is something of one that unites the survivors. I actually feel like this could’ve gone on another issue or two and come to a more natural end point.

The Verdict

Meaningful deaths and new characters. This book had it in spades and I loved it MOST every step of the way. I think based on what we’ve heard about Hopeless’ next project that these characters will be going in a very unique and interesting direction that pays off a lot of what was established throughout this title. Hopeless cut to the savage heart of what happens when people, especially young people, are pushed to the most extreme place they possibly can be, and according to the letter at the end of the issue, he never even wanted to! It was supposed to be a more traditional teen drama book, but I’m glad, in this case, that he was prodded in this direction.

38 Comments
Edited by Master_Thief

I'm guessing from the new xmen preview

X23 is gonna grow her hair back

Edited by MatKrenz

We know what happens to him. At the end of the issue when rescue comes we have him on a gurney grasping his amulet. he's fine.

Anyway I really liked this issue. Deathlockets choice is very surprising and gripping and it set up Undercover very well. Cannot wait for March.

Edited by ninjanan123

you guys gave this four stars... no just no...

this series is one of the worst excuses for killing off characters i have ever seen.

I mean come on its a hunger games rip off, they even tell you that.

Edited by The_Titan_Lord

Nice

Edited by ngrey651

"Meaningful" my behind. Characters act out of character for no good reason, fan favorites are needlessly slaughtered, there's plot holes up the wazoo and you get the feeling Hopeless has NO idea how the characters are supposed to work, and the villain gets away with everything. Nothing comes back to bite him in the ass. Not even guilt. This was sensationalist, insulting to the characters in the story, and not the least bit meaningful. Shame on you, Hopeless. Shame. on. you.

Edited by Noteworthington

I rather enjoyed the entire run, and look forward to Undercover.

Edited by ninjanan123
Posted by Rixec

@ngrey651 said:

"Meaningful" my behind. Characters act out of character for no good reason, fan favorites are needlessly slaughtered, there's plot holes up the wazoo and you get the feeling Hopeless has NO idea how the characters are supposed to work, and the villain gets away with everything. Nothing comes back to bite him in the ass. Not even guilt. This was sensationalist, insulting to the characters in the story, and not the least bit meaningful. Shame on you, Hopeless. Shame. on. you.

They act that way because of this situation. By pushing them to the breaking point these characters had to look at things differently than they normally would. They were changed by their time in the Arena. And Arcade was used so he could be seen as a major threat once more. But he may not get away with it for long; Avengers Undercover may get to him eventually after they're done with the Masters of Evil.

Posted by Jimmie_Hudson_

i was wondering when the haters were gonna show up. i had some hope no one would post something negative here.

Posted by Cafeterialoca

And so ends the book the book that's tortured me for a whole year.

I really did not like it, and I'm relieved it's finally gone. I never hated a book like this one, especially since my favorite character blew up in the first issue. At least I can finally move on from this GARBAGE BOOK!

Posted by ImagineMan16

I tried to ignore the haters and like this book, but I just really, really didn't like it. None of the characters felt right at all, and the concept was painfully contrived. No offense to anybody who enjoyed the series, but I'm glad its over.

Edited by TheAcidSkull

terrible series. Glad it's over.

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Posted by ngrey651

@rixec said:

@ngrey651 said:

"Meaningful" my behind. Characters act out of character for no good reason, fan favorites are needlessly slaughtered, there's plot holes up the wazoo and you get the feeling Hopeless has NO idea how the characters are supposed to work, and the villain gets away with everything. Nothing comes back to bite him in the ass. Not even guilt. This was sensationalist, insulting to the characters in the story, and not the least bit meaningful. Shame on you, Hopeless. Shame. on. you.

They act that way because of this situation. By pushing them to the breaking point these characters had to look at things differently than they normally would. They were changed by their time in the Arena. And Arcade was used so he could be seen as a major threat once more. But he may not get away with it for long; Avengers Undercover may get to him eventually after they're done with the Masters of Evil.

They were only on the island for a short time. And not only in how the characters act, but how the POWERS several of the characters have work. And don't you gimme the "they were changed by Arcade" junk. Many of the characters there faced even worse than this and didn't behave the way they did. Furthermore, we SAW in the issue RIGHT BEFORE THIS that Arcade took a wrench to the head! He's just an ordinary human! Why was he not knocked out on the spot? Hopeless can't even keep his plot consistency from issue to issue! I shall repeat!

SHAME! ON! HIM! And shame on YOU for defending this sensationalist crap, this sorta s--t is Lian Harper levels of pointless child deaths. It exists for NO reason but to be shock moments and to kill of characters the writers can't think of anything else to do with. That is LAZINESS, plain and simple.

Edited by mattwing87

There series had it's up and downs. The only reason I had the book on my pull list was because of Darkhawk but he was missing throughout the book but did save some characters and I am glad he didn't die. I was kind of hoping he would get an All New Marvel NOW book but so far no word :(

Posted by RaggedScarecrow

@mattwing87: Maybe he'll show up at the Young Avengers party that's about to happen or in Yost's New Warriors (wasn't he a member once?). After that, I'm not sure where he'll go. Nova maybe?

Posted by mattydeNero

I came into this series COMPLETELY unfamiliar with most of the characters. By issue eight or nine, it made me go back and look more into Avengers Academy as well as Runaways. Nico and Bloodstone stood out in my mind as the two show-stealers, in my opinion. At the end of the day, I am just glad the main setting didn't end up to be just a computer simulation. You know what I mean? One of my top 10 best titles I read this year for sure.

Edited by majingojira

One of the things that strikes me as odd is that defenders of Arena, even in published reviews, always say that the characterization is great, but just leave it at that. Maybe it's my love of science wanting evidence, but even in English classes, a reason as to why something works would be nice. I mean, I know the urge to not post spoilers is huge, but then again, I never really was bothered by them.

But really, the misquoting Tsun Tzu in this issue really just cements my negative impression of Hopeless as a writer. And that opening monologue by Katy flies in the face of everything we've seen Arcade actually do in this series, but there's no indication that she's supposed to be talking out of ignorance or that the reader is supposed to doubt her. She's talking about how cool Arcade is. Again. And we as readers are supposed to gobble it up.

That's Telling, not showing.

Edited by Rubear

This... series finally over. Good.

Edited by KrazyCrab

I heard that at the end of this issue Hopeless wrote a letter pretty much saying marvel was going to do this no matter what so he volunteered to write it

Posted by Teerack

Everything about this book was shit.

Posted by Xwraith

I'm still not sure what this book had to do with the Avengers. Aside from "if we put Avengers in the title, people will buy it".

Posted by The_Titan_Lord

Really disappointed by this arc. Don't know why I've read it from beginning to end. Dang it Marvel!.

Edited by RaggedScarecrow

I heard that at the end of this issue Hopeless wrote a letter pretty much saying marvel was going to do this no matter what so he volunteered to write it

His original pitch was a teen school book (Braddock Academy) and the third arc of the series was a contest with characters from a bunch of other schools that a villain took over part way through. The editors pointed to that arc and said there's your book.

Edited by Ben3000

Loved the art, hated the story as a whole. I never felt the sense of time going by and that to me was one of the biggest weaknesses of the series looking back on it now. Like others have said these heroes have been through worse situations that should had "broken" them. No way should being trapped on an Island for thirty days should have caused everyone to "break" so easily when they all have been in deadlier situations.

As for the patch our heroes made, was I the only one who felt their was no real purpose to it. Especially when we see Arcade uploading what happened on the island to youtube of all things.

Overall as much as I love the young heroes of Marvel. If this is the direction Marvel is going for, I'm going to have to catch these heroes somewhere else. It's a shame since Young Avengers last issue will be in January and Avengers Undercover will be my only source to get these sort of stories. Oh well voting with my dollar so hopefully Marvel will notice.

Posted by MatKrenz

@cafeterialoca: Answer me this, did you shell out money to buy these 18 issues or did borrow them from friends ? Or did you read them at the store ? Or pirate them ? Im very curious.

Posted by caladbolglight

Well at least this book always inspires colourful opinions :)(:

Posted by AgeofHurricane

I bloody loved everysingle damned page. This was one of the best Marvel books in years. Haterz fall back.

Posted by TheAcidSkull

I bloody loved everysingle damned page. This was one of the best Marvel books in years. Haterz fall back.

Booo! BOOO! NO!

Online
Posted by Franchise1590

This book was ass, it appealed to the lowest common form of mouthbreathers. I bet the same people who enjoyed this book loved Jeff Loeb's run on Red Hulk.

They both have the same quality of of character consistency and both have the same level of respect for the characters.

Posted by skypilotbinky

@rixec said:

@ngrey651 said:

"Meaningful" my behind. Characters act out of character for no good reason, fan favorites are needlessly slaughtered, there's plot holes up the wazoo and you get the feeling Hopeless has NO idea how the characters are supposed to work, and the villain gets away with everything. Nothing comes back to bite him in the ass. Not even guilt. This was sensationalist, insulting to the characters in the story, and not the least bit meaningful. Shame on you, Hopeless. Shame. on. you.

They act that way because of this situation. By pushing them to the breaking point these characters had to look at things differently than they normally would. They were changed by their time in the Arena. And Arcade was used so he could be seen as a major threat once more. But he may not get away with it for long; Avengers Undercover may get to him eventually after they're done with the Masters of Evil.

Even if this was true and not a cop-out excuse for Hopeless to get out of doing his homework, it still shouldn't apply Mark IV. Mark IV's directives are; do not leave Juston, protect Juston, PRESERVE AND PROTECT ALL LIFE, DO NOT HARM LIVING BEINGS EXCEPT TO PROTECT JUSTON SELF OR OTHER LIVING BEINGS,DEFEND SELF, PRESERVE SELF. Mark IV is shown operating outside it's directives many times in the series.

Posted by RaggedScarecrow

@skypilotbinky: Where was Sentinel shown operating outside of its parameters? If you're talking about the mech suit-thing that Juston and Laura made in the desert, that doesn't count because it was stated Sentinel died during the fall that saved him (even if it left him crippled). For all intents and purposes, after Apex's attack Sentinel died and became a massive gun. The directives were designed for Sentinel's AI, which was destroyed so I'm not really seeing how that in particular is a valid criticism for the book.

Posted by Schlampe

Oh, it's finally over?

Posted by michaelthemighty17

@ninjanan123: this book is awesome. have you even read it?

Posted by Eclipse-32

Good Riddance to this filth!

Edited by Celunon

I'm sorry, but the last issue felt like a let-down...it was just awkward, and too many things were unresolved.