Previously, in ‘Avengers Arena’ #4, the former Runaways Nico Minoru and Chase Stein were in the spotlight. They attempted to form an alliance with the Avengers Academy members Hazmat, Reptil, and X-23, but things went south when Chase was blamed for some injuries that Reptil suffered at the hands of one of Arcade’s traps. As Chase and Nico ventured off on their own, the amulet once belonging to Chris Powell finds Chase and transforms him into the new Darkhawk.
Following our look at Chase Stein, issue five reveals the origins of the Braddock Academy, which is basically Great Britain’s answer to the Avengers Academy that was formed to train Britain’s Mightiest Heroes. While we learn about how things were at the school, the issue is mostly focused on Kid Briton, who turns out to be Captain Britain from another universe. Meanwhile, back on Murder World, Arcade is finally getting more involved in the game by determining safe zones with supplies and food that the kids desperately need. After the Runaways team up with Cammi and Apex cuts the Braddock crew in half, we’re left with four teams of three all competing against each other and racing for the safe zones.
Finally, in issue six, we continue to look at the Braddock Academy, but this time we focus on Anachronism, who once had the ability to transform from his normal, pudgy self to a hulked out Celtic warrior wielding a giant battle axe. However, he lost the ability to transform and is permanently stuck in his more brutish form. In between his backstory, the race to the safe zones is heating up as the two Braddock factions get even closer to the same zone and one group doesn’t come out in one piece.Love the ‘Clockwork Orange’ homage.
I’ll admit, though I was enjoying the characters that the last few issues were highlighting like Chase, the action was getting a little dull. Don’t get me wrong, Dennis Hopeless has a great grasp of these characters and knows them inside and out. Character is super important, especially because some of these characters aren’t as well known as others like the Braddock Academy kids. In particular, I find myself really connecting with Anachronism and his background in being bullied. A lot of readers can surely relate to his story. The characters are great without a doubt, but the action was largely lackluster. However, with issue six, business has really picked up. Now that Arcade is taking a more active role in the game, there are more surprises in store for the surviving heroes. For instance, X-23’s trigger scent is a dangerous thing to be introduced to the game. Though she doesn’t want to be a killer, Laura’s not going to have a choice in the matter once the villain plays that card again.
The biggest thing that made this issue interesting is the fact that we got our first real kill of the game in the final moments of this issue. And Arcade had no hand in it. It was one hero killing another. On top of X-23’s situation, the game has now truly begun and these kids are in more danger now than they’ve been since arriving on Murder World. Now, the only thing missing is the reactions from the real world about their missing teammates and friends. Someone has to notice that they’re gone right? I hope that this gets addressed in a future issue.
‘Avengers Arena’ never got to the point where I was bored enough to stop reading, but after issue four, I didn’t really mind too much that I missed an issue one Wednesday. But after catching up and seeing where things are going from issue six, I’m all in once again and am anxious to see the fallout of that final page. If I miss the next issue on the day it comes out, I think I’d be disappointed in myself.
Avengers Arena #6
Written By Dennis Hopeless
Art By Kev Walker & Frank Martin
Cover By Michael Del Mundo