bethbethbeth: Avengers A Logo (Avengers)
[personal profile] bethbethbeth posting in [community profile] comics_reviews_etc
So...the summary of this series (mostly stolen from wikipedia) is as follows:

"Sixteen teenage superheroes are abducted by supervillain Arcade and brought to his latest version of Murderworld. The heroes are required to kill each other for Arcade's enjoyment." Generally speaking, it's a variant of stories like the Hunger Games trilogy or the manga Battle Royale, with even the cover of the premiere issue being an homage to the latter:


Okay, this community wasn't set up as a recs community; it's a review comm, so there are going to be things that reviewers don't like.

If you're enjoying Avengers Arena, that's great...I'd love to hear your perspective, but I have to admit I really hated this title.

I gave it three issues. Not a huge number, but enough of a sample to feel pretty comfortable about abandoning it for good,'s the thing, even though I don't typically frequent Comics forums (or at least not ones that aren't connected in some way to the corners of online media fandom with which I'm most familiar), it was clear that there were grumblings long before the first issue of Avengers Arena was released. Readers had invested time in and love for a lot of the characters that Dennis Hopeless was planning on using for this series and they were concerned (rightly so) that the series was going to be a bloodbath.

That alone wouldn't necessarily make me shy away from a story. Hamlet is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and lord knows [spoiler alert? *g*] just about everybody's dead by the time the curtain goes down. But this felt different somehow...and I say that despite the fact that I wasn't familiar personally with many of the cast of characters and I'm more than aware that dying in comics-related canon doesn't have to be permanent [*hugs Phil Coulson*]. But to watch characters die month after month is...unfun, for me at least. It's depressing, to be frank.

And no, it's not like The Hunger Games in any real way. I mean, with a trilogy like that, we're given a pov character - Katniss - and it's that one character whose story we're meant to care most about. Oh sure, individual readers grow fond of other - secondary - characters and care whether they live or die, but generally speaking, the opponents in the games are...disposable, or at least are written to feel disposable.

Not so with a series like this.

For example, in the very first issue, we're introduced to two characters who are clearly involved in a romantic relationship. Hopeless does a nice job of showing how committed they are to each other, even for people like me who never read the series (Avengers Academy) in which their romance developed. I mean, here are two characters - Hazmat (a girl whose body leaks radiation) and Mettle (a teenage boy whose body has transformed over to time to iridium) - who aren't likely to be lucky in love with many people, but they found each other, and their relationship is lovely. And then Hopeless immediately kills one of them. And it just goes on like that: we're asked to care about all these kids, and one after another, they're killed.

Look...for all I know, since I gave up on the series, the surviving kids have called in the cavalry, found a way to fight back against Arcade, and not another one of them has died.

But I doubt it.

I actually like Hopeless and think he's an interesting writer (he and artist Mike Norton are working together on a 4-parter for Dark Horse called The Answer which just premiered in January and seems very cool so far), but I'm not planning on going back to Avengers Arena.
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