Four months ago, Dennis Hopeless’ ‘Avengers Arena’, one of the most controversial comics in recent history, came to an end. However, the story of the young heroes abducted by Arcade and forced into a sick game of survival would continues in ‘Avengers Undercover’, the sequel series that picks up three month after Chase, Nico, Deathlocket, Hazmat, Cammi, Anachronism, and Bloodstone escape from Murder World only to find that their captor released the footage of their trials and tribulations on the internet for the world to see.
Since the first issue was released earlier this year as part of All-New Marvel NOW, the survivors were just starting to get their lives back together, though they still weren’t 100% back to normal. Then, they learned that Cullen had tracked Arcade down and traveled to Bagalia, the headquarters of the Masters of Evil, in order to take care of their foe once and for all. Naturally, the group embarks on a secret mission to save him, but they soon discover that he’s not in need of saving since he’s basically joined the Masters of Evil! Though initially everyone was against this decision, some people started to warm up to the idea of staying because of how accepting everyone was of their situation. No matter where they stood on the topic, they didn’t have much time to think about it as Daimon Hellstrom transported the Murder World survivors to a lavish party where Bloodstone had hoped that they’d aid in killing the psycho who put them through hell. Now, in issue three, though some people were upset by the manner in which they arrived at this point, no one turned down a small piece of revenge on Arcade.
The first thing that I want to address seems to be a hot topic in the comic book world right now. While I’m not prepared to go on a ‘Teen Titans’-level rant about the art in ‘Avengers Undercover’, I do have to mention that I’m not really behind Timothy Green III’s depiction of Deathlocket. From what I understand, she was one of the youngest ones on Murder World. I assumed that since they were all teen heroes, she might have been newly thirteen based on how Kev Walker drew her and her naiveté at certain points in ‘Avengers Arena’. But Green’s version of the character looks older and sexier than she has been depicted as in the past. The time jump since the end of Hopeless’ first series is only three months, so Rebecca isn’t that much older than when we first met her. Unless I’m completely off base with my perception of the character, this could be looked at as a pretty big continuity error, as well as over-sexualization of a minor. Other than Deathlocklet, Green’s characters look pretty cool. I like the emptiness that we see in Arcade from the first time we see him in the issue because it matches with Hopeless’ writing perfectly. Then, the full-page panel where Hazmat gets her revenge is great too. It’s just that Deathlocket bothers me a little bit and doesn’t sit right in my stomach while I’m reading.
As far as the story goes, Dennis Hopeless is in good form with the first few issues of this series. He’s exploring some really interesting territory by having these kids feel at home with the villains of the Marvel Universe. Naturally, I’m inclined for all of them to sway back towards the heroic side, but until the time that they decide on who stands where, it’s been a lot of fun to see where each impressionable young mind is swaying, especially after they all had a role in Arcade’s demise.
Overall, I’m glad that I waited to share my thoughts on this series. I waited just the right amount of time to really form an opinion on this book and the consensus in my mind is that this is just an awesome commentary on modern pop culture as the first book was. After all, it seems like the mainstream audiences are taking to villains more so than ever these days, so it’s interesting to see the heroes straddle those lines as well in the pages of Marvel Comics.
AVENGERS UNDERCOVER #3
Written by Dennis Hopeless
Art by Timothy Green III & Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Cover by Francesco Mattina