Avengers Arena #1 (Marvel Entertainment)
by Dennis Hopeless & Kev Walker
When the concept for this series was announced, there was a swift, negative reaction, and I can understand. The notion of a random group of characters being brought together for a homicidal battle royale is an uninspired and rather derivative concept (which writer Dennis Hopeless acknowledges in the script with a reference to the book that inspires Arcade’s choice). Of course, the controversy was likely part of the plan for this book from the start; it’s why I decided to read the comic in the first place. I likely wouldn’t have given it a second look otherwise. Ultimately, the problem with the writing here doesn’t lie with the focus on killing characters. Instead, it’s the fact it just doesn’t make much sense given the context in which it’s set. The notion that 16 young heroes — including wards of the Avengers — could go missing and there’d be no chance of the elder heroes of the Marvel Universe to find them is too big a pill to swallow. I also have little idea who most of these young heroes are, and therefore, I don’t feel as invested in their fate.