Though there has been recent chatter of continuity issues, Marvel Now can be viewed as a success, with fans happily latching onto new titles as well as old characters that have been brought back into the light. Yet, out of all of the titles that have been recently launched in this new initiative, there have been a few fun reads flying under the radar like “Avengers Arena.”
Even though this comic is only in its third issue of the initial opening arc, “Avengers Arena” has turned a unassuming plot into a decently rich story, which actually takes the time to build and define its many moving parts.
Now, to lay the ground work for those who've yet to pick up this new title, “Avengers Arena” has a simple plot similar to a popular book/movie. Because much like the Hunger Games, Dennis Hopeless, the writer, has captured the essence of youth and violence by pitting a number of lesser known sidekicks and young heroes in a death match arranged by the villain Arcade. Characters like X-23, Nico of the Runaways, Darkhawk, Juston and twelve other little known fledgling heroes must fight to the last man, or woman, or everyone is killed.
Kicking off after the death of Mettle and Red Raven, Avengers Arena #3 mainly circles around the fugitive Cammi, who had been tearing across the Universe, pirating civilizations ranging from the Badoon to the deadly Shi’ar. Now trapped in Arcade’s death arena, with tons of superheroes and dejected youth that she doesn't know nor trust, Cammi scrabbles across the island, giving the reader a view into basic survival when everyone is a hazard.
For the most part, Hopeless crafts a fun tale that is actually quite enjoyable, though the concept of the book can seem quite bleak. Yet, even though the premise of the material can seem glum, Avengers Arena #3 and its previous issues were all gripping reading material, because Hopeless takes the time to craft each of the various characters, sharing tidbits of their past as the story escalates.
And to top it off, the writing isn't the only aspect that makes this story a fun read. Artist Kev Walker should receive a gold star, because his artwork is truly gorgeous. As the story opens on an aged Cammi, who is also known for palling around with Marvel 616 heavy weights like Drax the Destroyer, Walker’s brush strokes and Frank Martin’s coloring brings each character to life and captures each tense moment as the story develops and spans across a wide variety of environments, ranging from thick forest to ice sheets in Arcades varying, shifting death trap of an island.
If this book had to get a rating, it wouldn't be fair to give this comic anything below an 8 on a scale to 10, because the artwork is beautiful and the story is solid. And with this only being AA’s third issue, there is much in store for those following this low key hit.