Looks like Marvel is doing their own spin on a Battle Royale story crossed with Secret Wars called Avengers Arena. In case you don’t know Battle Royale is a near classic Japanese sci-fi/thriller about a future where bad kids are dropped in an arena of sorts to battle to the death. Secret Wars is of course an iconic Marvel Comics series from the 80s where the all-powerful Beyonder assembled a group of Marvel heroes and villains on a distant planet to also do battle to the death. If you combine these two stories you get fairly close to where this new Marvel NOW! ongoing book is headed.
Avengers Arena comes from the creative team of writer Dennis Hopeless (X-Men: Season One) and artist Kev Walker (Thunderbolts), who will be introducing some all-new characters which Marvel describes “the enigmatic Deathlocket and the mysterious Braddock Academy.”
Check out the full synopsis and cover for Avengers Arena #1 here below.
“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.”
“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,” explained Dennis Hopeless in an interview with Marvel.com. “Even the characters who die off early make their mark on the story. I didn’t throw anyone into the book as cannon fodder.”
“There is no safe base, no refuge, no cavalry to come charging over the hill. The contestants’ every moment is watched, manipulated and controlled,” elaborated Kev Walker in an interview with Marvel.com. “This is up close and personal, more intimate than any other book out there, because it’s just us and them.”
Why does this series have the Avengers as part of its title? Obviously because that title means money right now. The new book should have its own independent name and probably would have not so long ago. The truth is that the whole idea feels a little rehashed from the previously mentioned stories. That’s not to say that there won’t be any unique ideas here. We’ll just have to see in December when Avengers Arena #1 hits store shelves and digital. Take a look at the cover art for Avengers Arena #1 and you’ll see just how much the creators are trying to play on the whole Battle Royale scenario and iconography. Can a riff on Hunger Games be far behind?