Avengers Arena is a comic book series published by Marvel Comics from December 2012 thru November 2013 (18 issues) as part of the Marvel NOW! relaunch. Written by Dennis Hopeless. Followed by the sequel Avengers Undercover.
Avengers Arena is collected in 3 trade paperback volumes …
Avengers Arena, Vol. 1: Kill or Die (2013). Collects issues #1-6.
Welcome to Murder World: Sixteen superteens enter, ONE WILL SURVIVE!
Awakening on an isolated island, a scared group of young superhumans – including X-23, Darkhawk, and members of the Runaways and the Avengers Academy – are given a chilling ultimatum by their demented captor Arcade: Fight or die… only one will walk out alive! Thus begins a primal battle that will test the skills, stamina and morals of each combatant. Who are the students of the Braddock Academy? Who or what is stalking the heroes in their sleep? And which player will draw first blood? Betrayal! Secrets! Lust! Revenge! Enter Avengers Arema, one of Marvel’s most acclaimed – and controversial – new series!
Written by Dennis Hopeless. Art by Kev Walker (#1-3 & #5-6) & Alessandro Vitti (#4). Cover art by Dave Johnson (#1 & #4-5), Chris Bachalo & Tim Townsend (#2), Greg Horn (#3), and Michael Del Mundo (#6).
Avengers Arena, Vol. 2: Game On (2013). Collects issues #7-12.
THE AVENGERS-IN-TRAINING SQUARE OFF!
When a dozen teen superhumans are kidnapped and ordered to fight on a deadly island, don’t expect them to play nice! Secrets erupt and alliances shatter as the next chapter of the Arena’s deadly game begins! X-23 seeks vengeance on Apex! Nico takes a valiant stand against Sentinel! Chase rockets into action as the new Darkhawk! The game is on, the stakes are raised, and the body count is rising! Plus: How did Arcade transform from a laughable loser to the sadistic scene stealer who now torments Marvel’s teen heroes? Find out in a shocking behind-the-scenes story!
Written by Dennis Hopeless. Art by Alessandro Vitti (#7), Kev Walker & Jason Gorder (#8-9 & #12) and Riccardo Burchielli (#10-11). Cover art by Dave Johnson (#7-10 & #12) and Michael Del Mundo (#11).
Avengers Arena, Vol. 3: Boss Level (2014). Collects issues #13-18.
One group of our kidnapped contestants faces off in final conflict in the Arena – while another infiltrates the bunker of their captor, Arcade! And when the UK love triangle between Nara, Anachronism and Bloodstone explodes, whose heart will get broken – or stopped? Meanwhile, in the outside world, another desperate hunt is on as Hank Pym searches for the missing Avengers Academy students! Can the surviving teens escape before Murder World earns its name?
Written Cristos Gage (#13) and Dennis Hopeless (#14-18). Art by Karl Moline (#13 & #16) and Kev Walker (#14-15 & #17-18). Cover art by Kalman Andrasofszky (#13), Mike Deodato & Rain Beredo (#14-15), Francesco Francavilla (#16-17) and Dave Johnson (#18).
My thoughts… Generally, I prefer DC over Marvel. DC has cooler female characters, like Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, etc. However, Marvel has Elektra, Domino and, best of all, Wolverine’s female clone X-23! X-23 (aka Laura Kinney) is every bit as bad-ass as Wolverine except with two X chromosomes (i.e., she’s got girl parts)! I don’t get why Wolverine is such a big deal but X-23 isn’t. Comic book nerds just don’t like girls I guess. Well, I do – and I love X-23! She’s in Marvel’s Avengers Arena and that’s one of two reasons I love this comic book series! The other reason is because it’s an excellent homage to one of the greatest Japanese genre films of all time… Battle Royale (2000)! Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale and Ryuhei Kitamura’s Versus (2000) are the reasons for my decade-long fascination with Japanese genre cinema, while the rap/rock song “Shizukana Hibi no Kaidan Woo” by Dragon Ash, which plays over Battle Royale‘s end credits, is the reason for my decade-long obsession with Japanese rock music! The series also pays “tribute” to Battle Royale‘s more recent rip-off – umm, I mean counterpart – The Hunger Games (2012)! Anyway, I saw the cover of Vol. 1: Kill or Die – an homage to Battle Royale‘s poster – on display at my local comic book store when it was published back in 2013 and I couldn’t resist! Avengers Arena is an awesome Marvel series!