Comic Vine Review


Avengers Undercover #1 - Descent Part One Review


The victims of Murder World are back, but how much of themselves did they leave behind?

The Good

PTSD in superhero comics is a funny thing (in reality, not so much) in that it basically doesn’t exist. Whether you want to make the argument that society at large has been dealing with superpowered/technological terrors for decades and maybe they’ve just gotten good at coping, or if everyone in New York, San Francisco and LA simply exist in a state of constant, supressed trauma or, the most likely case, most comic book storylines predate the notion that psychological realism belongs in mainstream superhero books. As a result, a book that deals with it, even if it’s still a fairly pop-psychological definition of it, is quite the novelty. Dennis Hopeless shows us the aftermath of the horrific Murder World and a group of kid superheroes who have been absolutely torn apart mentally by the trauma they endured and, in some cases, inflicted, but he also does an absolutely stellar job at showing how cold and callous the world is toward their plight. From the greasy hater talking about what HE would’ve done in Hazmat’s place, to an EXTRAORDINARILY creepy Death Locket fanboy trying to tell her how heroic she was, the world doesn’t understand what these kids went through any more than they do. This issue mostly follows them around, showing them interacting with the world, but one in particular, Cullen Bloodstone, becomes the focal point when he’s shown attempting to hunt down Arcade, and that’s when the band gets back together, so to speak.

Kev Walker brings the visuals that made Avengers Arena the gut-wrenching, breakout hit it was and he’s actually gotten even MORE detailed. His character designs allow each character to stand out (especially Chase’s new and...I hesitate to say “improved” DEFINITELY makes a statement...) and be easily identifiable on-panel. Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s color work is absolutely stellar, bringing an enormous life and energy to every page. There’s very little that could be considered “mundane” when we’re dealing with these characters, but what passes for it these days looks incredible, vibrant and super-detailed.

The Bad

Even after three months, it’s a little difficult to believe these kids would be able to either evade capture or be let back into “normal” society. They obviously experienced a massively traumatic experience and their parents/legal guardians/fellow superheroes found out about it, AND they, by and large, refuse to talk about it. It seems like they should be in therapy or, at the very least, confined to whatever grounds they go to/live on but only Death Locket seems to be in custody.

The Verdict

Avengers Undercover makes a fantastic first impression and picks up most of the best characters (who survived) from Avengers Arena. Anyone who thought the horrific events of Arena would be forgotten/swept under the rug, you feared in vain because it’s clear that these kids, most of whom aren’t appearing in any other books, aren’t done working through their pain, nor their hunger for vengeance against the one who wronged them. I think it's a truly novel idea to have actual trauma being dealt with in such a genuine way rather than just having the characters move onto their next adventure.

21 Comments Refresh
Edited by Smart_Dork_Dude

Can I just say this is an even WORSE premise than Avengers Arena and is kind of insulting?

Edited by The Stegman

Is it just me, or have like, all of the new Marvel titles gotten five stars??

Posted by gothicshieldagent

Omg more Avengers titles to keep the more X-Men titles company!

Posted by TommytheHitman

Is it just me, or have like, all of the new Marvel titles gotten five stars??

Agreed... although they could just be THAT good!

Posted by ShadowX

I haven't read the full issue yet but what I have seen Hopeless has taken the most shallowest interpetation of Chase Stien and then cut it up and put it back together in his own way.

Chase can be a bit og an idiot sometimes but from my readings of the Runaway I don't really see him making a "popularity career" out of murder island or something. especially since you know the Runaways have that whole mistrust of the media and most adults, something that I felt would have onl been pushed by murder island. Also was Old Lace shown with him at all? or is she once again forgotten?

Posted by CheeseSticks

Marvel NOW is so good. DC should take notes and launch new titles instead of cancelling them.

Posted by ngrey651

Dennis Hopeless shouldn't get to keep writing for the Runaway characters. For somebody who CLAIMED to be such a big damn fan of it in the Arena books, which ignored the canon of many of the characters within said book, like how their powers worked, how much damage an ORDINARY HUMAN like Arcade should have been able to take, had the characters act out of character for no reason other than the plot demanded it, pointlessly killed off fan favorites to invoke a sense of shock and horror, let the villain get away with NO REPERCUSSIONS whatsoever, he doesn't seem to get how you write a comic book!

He's not an up and coming great new breakout talent! He's TERRIBLE!

Posted by majingojira

One of the weird things I noticed with this issue, aside from the dismissal of legitimate PTSD symptoms (avoidance of others from Nico), is the two strawmen that were employed. One for Dennis' detractors at the beginning (while thoroughly missing the point of the detractors in the process of course), and one for his FANS (the "Death Locket Fanboy", generally portraying them as creepy obsessives). Between this, the lines in the beginning about the world being 'fooled' to watch and Katy Bashir's BS about "The people watching at home" from Arena, there's some real passive aggressiveness going on. The letter at the end about his "Deal With It" tweet not only portrays Dennis as someone of low intelligence, but someone who I think hates doing this series.

Also, this reviewer calling Arena a "Breakout Hit" is beyond delusional and pushes this review into Poe's Law territory. How can I take a review seriously when it's that brazenly idiotic? Arena is many things, but a "Hit" is not one of them.

Posted by RaggedScarecrow

If you liked Avengers Arena you'll probably like this and if you hated it with "the fire of ten thousand flaming marshmallows" this probably won't do anything to win you over. That's really all that needs to be said about this.

Posted by ZbvmX

@the_stegman said:

Is it just me, or have like, all of the new Marvel titles gotten five stars??

Agreed... although they could just be THAT good!

Yes they are. I'm suprised as well. They're on a roll lately :D

Posted by RaggedScarecrow
@zbvmx said:

@tommythehitman said:

@the_stegman said:

Is it just me, or have like, all of the new Marvel titles gotten five stars??

Agreed... although they could just be THAT good!

Yes they are. I'm suprised as well. They're on a roll lately :D

I know right? New Warriors in particular stands out as one of my new faves.

Posted by micah
Posted by Vascillator

It's funny i've read through all of Avengers Arena and i still have a hard time recognizing some of those characters. At least the upcoming bad guys look quite interesting to me.

Edited by Smart_Dork_Dude

@micah said:

A story where most of all of the young heroes from Avengers Academy that I actually like, get horribly murdered and the survivors are going to be villains. Just rubbing the salt in the wound.

Posted by micah

@smart_dork_dude: I'm glad we didn't loose Darkhawk, Justons death pissed me off, getting his neck snapped and dying right there no questions asked

Posted by SoA

so far so good, though confused on the new Masters of Evil roster , are not two of them reformed?

Posted by ShadowX

@soa: Yeah I also was pretty sure some of those guys are reformed including son of satan i think

Edited by feargalr

Really enjoyed this. Made me want to reread Avengers Arena.

Posted by G-Man
Edited by blackkitty

I'm surprised no one has commented on this yet so let me be the first. The Masters of Evil, so, you're telling me Damian Hellstrom, a devil who rules his own realm... is taking orders from Baron Zemo? Can someone please tell me A) Why he would listen to anyone and B) Why is he even there? The only character I can see being with Zemo is Madame Masque and even then she's gone from leader to lackey.


i actually like the series i hope they do it again it was something new