Marvel Riffs On ‘Hunger Games’ with ‘Avengers Arena’

What to do with all these great young characters? Make them kill each other, that's what!

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Avengers Arena

Have you been enjoying watching Marvel force the comic book universe to look more like their cinematic universe? Well, then, maybe you'll also enjoy them forcing their comic book universe to look like a movie world that Marvel has nothing to do with.

Have you been missing the critically-acclaimed Runaways series? Have you been enjoying the stellar Avengers Academy book?  Well, then you probably won't be overjoyed to learn that instead of continuing their own stories, they're all getting crammed together into a book called Avengers Arena, written by Dennis Hopeless and illusrated by Kev Walker due out in December, which is an absolutely shameless rip-off of The Hunger Games.

 

Avengers Academy

 

EDIT: Sure, this cover is actually a reference to the film Battle Royale, which predates Hunger Games and boasts a similar plot, but which one is actually a worldwide phenomenon right now that can be cashed in on? The BR reference is likely just trying to throw hardened fanboys who look at previews like this off the scent and try for some street cred. Still, mea culpa for not recognizing that reference right off the bat. Obviously, I have some movie homework to do. 

 

What better way to make use of all these great new young characters than to shove them onto a Murderworld island and make them kill each other?

Here's the synopsis blurb:

Trapped on an isolated island, 16 superhuman young adults (including members of the Runaways, The Avengers Academy and Darkhawk) are given a chilling ultimatum by their demented captor: 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. Welcome to Murder World, where the secrets are plenty, alliances are fleeting, and the key to victory might be rewriting the rules of the game. Who will survive?

And here's a quote from Hopeless:

These kids were chosen carefully and with specific story beats in mind. We definitely plan on taking advantage of the broad personality spectrum we have in play. Even the characters who die off early make their mark on the story. I didn't throw anyone into the book as cannon fodder.

One from Walker:

There is no safe base, no refuge, no cavalry to come charging over the hill. The contestants’ every moment is watched, manipulated and controlled. This is up close and personal, more intimate than any other book out there, because it's just us and them.

And from editor Bill Rosemann:

Extreme scenarios bring out the best and worst in everyone, especially when you’re a young adult still struggling to find out exactly who you truly are under your mask. When ordered to fight or die, which wins out, your morals or your survival instinct? How much are you willing to compromise–and how far are you willing to go–in order to live?

 

Jumpin' jeebus, these quotes could've been lifted directly from the press materials from that Katniss Everdeen deal. And I even LIKED that movie, and this feels dirty, wrong, obnoxious and forced. Ugh. I am prejudging the hell out of this, for I am old and crotchety and I love Avengers Academy and don't want to see it dumbed down like this, much less all these great characters getting killed for bullshit reasons. How the hell is this supposed to be an ongoing, anyway?

Can't deal with this right now. Talk me down off the ledge, people.