The end is near for the inhabitants of Murder World as there is only one day remaining in Arcade’s sick, twisted game in ‘Avengers Arena’. When we last saw the young heroes, things were descending into chaos as Cullen Bloodstone killed Nara while he was in his monstrous form. This caused Anachronism to go wild and try to kill his former best friend. Cammi saved Cullen from certain death, but was attacked by Nico and Chase, who had just dealt with Death Locket and Apex by burying them alive (or so they thought). Meanwhile, X-23’s trigger scent was unleashed in the wood, meaning that Hazmat is in certain danger. Like I said, complete and utter chaos.

In the latest issue, fighting continues on the surface of Murder World while Apex, Death Locket, and the recently revived Chris Powell surrounded an unsuspecting Arcade in the bowels of the villain’s secret lair. But after the bad guy makes his getaway, he reemerges via satellite in an attempt to appeal to Apex’s survival instinct and change the course of the game in one fell swoop.

The first thing that came to mind while I was reading this issue was the old school WWF video game, ‘Royal Rumble’. There was so much great action going on in different parts of the arena that it was all great fun to follow. Cammi really stuck it to Chasehawk and then put up a good fight against Nico. I may be biased when it comes to favorite matchups since I’m a big fan of The Runaways, but I’m sure that even casual fans would enjoy these slobberknockers.

Then, in the other storyline in this issue, a twist comes along that I didn’t even see coming. No, I’m not talking about the obvious one that Apex pointed out earlier in the issue, but rather the one that happens later. With this recent turn of events, there’s certainly a lot that needs to happen before this story wraps up and there’s only 20 pages left to tie everything up!

Basically, this whole issue was an old-fashioned slugfest sprinkled with some great twists and turns. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up in the final issue of the series.

While the world was skeptical of ‘Avengers Arena’ when it was first announced, I’ve found it to be one of the most enjoyable entries on my pull list. As announced at New York Comic Con, we know that some of the cast will live on in ‘Avengers Undercover’, but it’ll be a little bittersweet to see Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker’s breakout title of 2013 go after the next and final issue.

Final Score:

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