When we last left the contestants of ‘Avengers Arena’, the final story arc of the series titled “Boss Level” began in issue fifteen. This five-part finale of the Harvey Award-winning book brought us to the final days of the game, which is where we started way back in the first issue. X-23’s trigger scent was unleashed and she’s uncontrollably trying to kill all of her friends. The only person strong enough to stop her is Bloodstone, and no that wasn’t a typo. The mysterious and quiet Cullen Bloodstone revealed his powers and the giant monster from another dimension that he becomes when he takes off his protective ring.

Now, in the latest issue of Marvel’s answer to ‘The Hunger Games’, Anachronism, Nara, and Cammi try to find the ring to revert their dangerous friend to his normal form, while Nico, Reptil, and Chase try to keep Cullen distracted. But in the scuffle, the book returns to it’s original premise of death and sadness.

When I got to the last panel of this issue, I was so sad. I had to read the page a few times to make sure that what happened actually happened. Dennis Hopeless did that thing again where he made you care about a character and then killed them off. It was just heart wrenching to go through. I’d even go so far as to say that this was the most heartbreaking thing to happen in this book since Nico died. Unlike that particular instance, I don’t think that this hero is coming back.

With only three issues left in the series, things are getting so much more serious. I mean, they’ve always been serious. The stakes have always been high and the losses were mostly tough, but this time they’re playing for all the marbles. I’m assuming that we’ll be getting more answers to Apex and Deathlocket’s discovery soon, maybe even in the next issue, but until then, I’m still sort of in shock about that harrowing death at the end of this issue.

And on top of everything, I’m not even sure how this series will end! Hopeless has me racking my brain for potential endings, but I have no predictions. I feel like more than one person is going to get out of this alive, but I couldn’t even tell you who or how. That right there is why I keep reading because somehow I’ve managed to find a comic that consistently makes me feel feelings about their characters and constantly keeps me guessing about the plot. On those rare occasions where I find those books, I try my hardest to keep up with those the most. That’s why you can bet that I’ll be sticking with ‘Avengers Arena’ until the bitter end.

Final Score:



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