Earlier this month, we learned that ‘Avengers Arena’ would be coming to an end after issue number eighteen. No one is certain about what will happen to this group of young heroes after Arcade’s sick game is over, but something that is certain is that we have reached the beginning of the end as the most recent issue marks the start of the final story arc of the series known as ‘Boss Level’.

In the last issue of the controversial Marvel NOW title, Christos Gage and Karl Moline revisited some of their ‘Avengers Academy’ characters in a standalone issue that catches up with the outside world where the friends and colleagues of these missing teens suspect nothing. That is, until the youngest Runaway, Molly Hayes, declares to Hank Pym that Chase and Nico are missing, despite what her teammates say. But in the end, the book took a complete swerve that I didn’t see coming at all and I’m still feeling the effects a little bit from it.

Now, we’ve reached the final days of the game, which is where we started way back in issue one. X-23’s trigger scent has been unleashed once again and the remaining heroes are in big trouble. At this point, you’d expect a heavy hitter like the new Darkhawk, Reptil, or Nico to step up to the threat, but the Braddock Academy’s Cullen Bloodstone ends up stepping up to the plate. In this issue, we learn more about the quiet companion of Anachronism as he finally steps into the spotlight to show what he’s made of.

This whole series has been filled with surprises, so why stop now, right? Who knew that Bloodstone could be a contender? For a while there, I had just assumed that his power was super intelligence or something since he never really used his powers prior to this. But a good booker always saves his best match for last, and that might be exactly what Dennis Hopeless is up to here with the last arc of this book.

Besides putting a humanizing light on Bloodstone, I felt like they did the same thing with Cammi. Sure, she had her own issue where she was the main subject, but we rarely see her try to connect with another person in the way that she did with Cullen. It was pretty endearing, even though Drax the Destroyer has likely bestowed many skills upon his former young protégé.

While I’m still a bit sad that Marvel’s Hunger Games are coming to an end, I’m anxious to get the rest of the story. Two weeks is far too long a wait when we’re so close to the finish line. I just hope that the finale lives up to the quality of the rest of the series.

Final Score:




Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Kev Walker, Jason Gorder, & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Cover by Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo