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Avengers Arena #5 - Born Leader Review

3

Arcade makes Murder World more dangerous and the focus shifts to Kid Briton.

The Good

Once again, the biggest reason to purchase this book is Kevin Walker (pencils) and Frank Martin Jr. (colors). Even if you loathe this series with every inch of your body, there's simply no denying this team makes the book look fantastic. The facial expressions are spot on, there's exceptional use of shading, and each page is glowing with colors. Love or hate the concept, at least your eyes are sure to have a terrific time with this series.

Dennis Hopeless puts a key focus on one character in each issue and usually they hog the majority of the spotlight. Naturally, this can be hit or miss if the character's backstory isn't all that interesting. Here, I found Kid Briton's tale to be more engaging. Simply put, he's a total jerk, but sometimes hating a character can be far more investing than tolerating a mediocre story for a likable character. Now, I'm not saying his backstory is grand or anything, but it is indeed amusing, especially the bit about slaying dragons. This is the one character you'll want to see forced into this terrible scenario.

Additionally, Hopeless does a better job juggling the rest of the teenagers. Each group is given a fair amount of panel time and a new alliance is formed. Hopeless is also delivering a few more variables in this seemingly standard / unoriginal plot, particularly with Death Locket. Arcade has changed up the game, deeming the current events boring. The motivation isn't original (again, this is something in The Hunger Games), but regardless, it makes sense and adds a little more desperation to the event.

The Bad

My biggest gripe here is the repetitive formula and the scenario doesn't feel as dire as it should. Right now there's nothing that makes me feel like these heroes will kill one another if they bump into another group. Sure, they might fight when they get to the resources, but is that really enough to kill a fellow hero? I find that tough to swallow, even if some of them are rather selfish. If a book is based around the premise of killing characters, you don't want the deaths to feel as cheap as the concept. You want to give these characters (some which of course have a large fanbase) a death they can be proud of, or better yet, surprise us by having them overcome this scenario. Only time will tell if that happens but right now I can't logically believe they'd be willing to cross the line.

As for the formula, I can't help but feel as though Hopeless needs to switch it up a bit. Every issue focuses on a character's backstory and then has a side focus on current events. It would be nice to have an issue dedicated just to the present in order to make us fully grasp the horrific situation they're in. I get the backstory is mandatory to develop an emotional connection to new characters, but I'd love to dive deeper into Murder World and see just how just how taxing it truly is.

The Verdict

If you're not a fan of this one, nothing here's going to win you over and you should just save your money. That said, I know you'll be following along to know if one of your favorites dies, so I'll go ahead and tell you: no one dies in this issue. But if you're enjoying the series or at least interested in it, then odds are you'll find this to be an okay chapter. It's heavy on amazing visuals and takes a few small steps to move the overall narrative forward while providing some fairly amusing banter. I'm sure the "they're in virtual reality!" believers will be happy to know that theory is briefly brought up in the issue, too.

19 Comments
Posted by That60sGuy

I dunno. I quite liked issue #1 but it's been downhill since. The art and covers remain awesome. I'll read it to #6 which is the end of the first "arc" then it's dropped.

Posted by TommytheHitman

I am curious though is Reptile actually dead?

Posted by k4tzm4n

@TommytheHitman said:

I am curious though is Reptile actually dead?

No, just injured.

Staff
Posted by blackkitty

I've been against the entire concept from the start. I simply feel this book does nothing but cheapen consequences. People reading it are saying no one stays dead in the Marvel Universe so it doesn't matter, it sorta makes me wonder why even bother? There''s no impact. No one who enjoys this series knew who the characters were or were emotionally vested in them, if they were they certainly wouldn't want to read about their favorite characters getting killed and turning into villains. And in the end really, all the survivors end up going to jail because let's face it, they just murdered a bunch of people. YAY!! Way to go Marvel!!

Edited by TheCasketFiller

Good review! you covered most of the bases and let me know what i was getting myself into!

Posted by SolthesunGod

I thought this was a great issue. I thought it was actually established in this issue that we have some not so nice people in this Murder World who are capable of murder like Apex for example. She seems to be taking the other's out using Death Locket as her weapon. At least that's how I read it.

Posted by hunterscarlet

I agree about Apex. And it show's that most of the Team are kind of Jerks. I wonder if it's a reflection of the teachers at the Academy or the purpose of the Academy. The Avengers Academy was meant to help kid's and keep them from becoming villains, but these kid's seem more suited for a school of that purpose.

Posted by akbogert

@blackkitty said:

I've been against the entire concept from the start. I simply feel this book does nothing but cheapen consequences. People reading it are saying no one stays dead in the Marvel Universe so it doesn't matter, it sorta makes me wonder why even bother? There''s no impact. No one who enjoys this series knew who the characters were or were emotionally vested in them, if they were they certainly wouldn't want to read about their favorite characters getting killed and turning into villains. And in the end really, all the survivors end up going to jail because let's face it, they just murdered a bunch of people. YAY!! Way to go Marvel!!

It goes without saying that I agree. I find it odd that so many of the people who enjoy this book are doing so because people are "actually" dying, and yet most of the defenders of the book say "stop complaining, because no one stays dead."

Posted by John Valentine

Kid Briton is such a jerk. He has no redeeming features!

Posted by bsmith1190

Okay Avengers Arena I like you, but five issues of cockteasing is starting to take its toll on me

Edited by Ett

People should be starting to ask why Arcade is doing this. Instead people are focusing on the how.

The part with Chase in issue 4 hint at it. And people who read Avengers academy should've seen it by now.

I think people will look back at this book as something special ones its done.

Posted by Trodorne

I love the clockwork orange cover.

Posted by Jawshco

Did Reptil originate in the Super Hero Squad TV show or was he in the comics prior to that cartoon. My son loved him in that cartoon. I hope he lives.

Posted by VeganDiet

@blackkitty said:

I've been against the entire concept from the start. I simply feel this book does nothing but cheapen consequences. People reading it are saying no one stays dead in the Marvel Universe so it doesn't matter, it sorta makes me wonder why even bother? There''s no impact. No one who enjoys this series knew who the characters were or were emotionally vested in them, if they were they certainly wouldn't want to read about their favorite characters getting killed and turning into villains. And in the end really, all the survivors end up going to jail because let's face it, they just murdered a bunch of people. YAY!! Way to go Marvel!!

Speak for yourself. I read all of Avengers Academy, and most of Runaways (loved both of them, by the way), and I love this series so far.

Posted by frochez

Personally, I think the Bradock Academy kids are the best thing in this series. I thikn it's largely because I get more of a sense of freedom and originality from them. Hopeless isn't restricted by having to follow on from established characterisation and history like he is with, say, the Avengers Academy characters or the Runaways.

It's also partially because I'm British, and there just aren't enough characters from the UK in comics in my opinion. I would really love to see a 'Wolverine and the X-men' style-series set in the Bradock Academy, if only for the banter between characters like Eliza Bloodstone (who was my favourite character in N.E.X.T.Wave) and Captain Britain.

Posted by Cafeterialoca
Posted by akbogert

@frochez said:

Personally, I think the Bradock Academy kids are the best thing in this series. I thikn it's largely because I get more of a sense of freedom and originality from them.

I don't doubt it.

I will always wish that had been what this series was -- all-new cast, full creative license (you know, over characters that other writers hadn't already made me love), with the chance to eventually segue popular characters into normal appearances in other books.

Posted by 3rdrocket

What I think is going to happen is that this is all a VR reality and a way of testing or weeding out who the best of the best is in the group morally and skillfully. After it all I think a new avengers group will be formed based on how everyone acted or survived or died. I hope thats the case as I would love to see Runways characters on an avengers team. Also has anybody thought about why it even says "Avengers" in the comic title? It really has nothing to do with avengers at all. Just a thought.

Posted by AgeofHurricane

Loved this issue. Deathlocket fascinates me so, i just hope she doesn't suffer a worse fate than what her life has already culminated into.