SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
So we’ve finally reached the end to the journey that began in Avengers Arena. What began as a transparent Hunger Games knock off when it was announced turned out to be a well written, character driven tale that was an exciting read from start to end. The survivors of that book continued their adventures in Avengers Undercover which posited whether or not the experiences these characters dealt with would result in them turning to the dark side and joining up with Baron Zemo’s organization. Dennis Hopeless has crafted a great story following a small band of characters that either he developed for this book or who, let’s be honest, nobody really cared about (Runaways was cancelled, and hasn’t come back for a reason). Unfortunately, despite the media attention (and financial success) of Arena, Undercover ends two issues earlier than Hopeless intended. I guess “One of these characters will become a villain” isn’t quite as audience grabbing as “Everyone will die”. So with all that, does Avengers Arena #10 stick the landing?
Picking up where issue #9 left off, S.H.I.E.L.D. plus all the heroes of the Marvel Universe have been trapped by Baron Zemo and his Masters of Evil. Zemo himself is in control of a Helicarrier, and has access to all of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s systems. Deathlocket has chosen to join the Masters of Evil, and the villains are raising all kinds of chaos with the heroes no longer around. Everything is looking good for the bad guys, however, there is still one hero who stands in their way that they are unaware of. Camie broke out of her holding cell and is aboard the Helicarrier with Zemo. As the world is falling apart, Zemo broadcasts a message across the globe, and if there is one great thing Dennis has done with this title is that he writes a great Baron Zemo.
While he is broadcasting his message, Cammie is hacking into the helicarrier’s computer to access a file named “MW_Godmode”. It turns out that in order to take full control of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s systems, Zemo recruited Arcade’s assistant Coriander to achieve the technology that Arcade used back in Avengers Arena. Unfortunately for the bad guys, however, Cammie has Arcade on her side, helping her upload the programs that allowed him to acquire incredible power back in Murderworld. This leads to Cammie singlehandedly curb stomping the Masters of Evil which was being broadcast across the world.
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With Zemo dealt with, Cammie delivers a great speech that summarizes the entire series, and what these characters have gone through this entire series. She then heads off into space because she realizes that she can’t be “just a kid” anymore. The rest of the kids (except for Deathlocket who is now evil) are forgiven, and they get to continue their lives the way they want to, and to celebrate the fact that this living hell they’ve been through for the past year (their time) they have a big beach party with the rest of the Runaways and Avengers Academy kids.
Overall this was a great ending to the series. It started out with what turned out to be a great setup for putting this cast of characters in a dangerous situation that would major effects on their lives. Avengers Undercover then dealt with the fallout of the kid’s time on Murderworld, and showed that these kid’s lives both could not return to normal, and that they were still in great danger. I did not know much to anything about most of these characters when this series began, and by the end I really enjoy all these characters and hope they appear in other books.
Dennis Hopeless wrote this series the entire way through (excluding one book back in Arena) and he has shown to have a great handle with long form storytelling. He’s good at writing teenage soap-operatics, as well as mixing both humor and drama. He also plays around with the Marvel universe and adds things that I hope get used in other titles. One of the most interesting things he added was a magic division to S.H.I.E.L.D. who show up every now and again in this title.
Art wise, this series began with Kev Walker, who was solid every time he drew an issue. Along with Kev Walker, Timothy Green II and Tigh Walker have also drawn for this series, and while they have different styles they are by no means bad. Unfortunately, and this is only a slight problem I have with this issue, Walker does not do this issue. That’s not a slight against artist Tigh Walker, I’m just a fan of symmetry, so it would have been nice to see Kev Walker get to end what he helped start. That being said, Tigh Walker does a great job presenting the characters in this issue.
This was a fantastic end to a great series that should have been able to continue onwards. Sadly, you can only have people purchasing your title because they think they hate it for so long before they get bored and purchase another title out of “hatred”. Joking aside, I’m glad this series lasted as long as it did, and if you have not this or the last series then I highly recommend taking a look at what I believe was a truly underrated series. Hopefully these characters will be seen again in the near future and it will not require threatening to kill them to get people to pay interest in it.
CBH Score: 5 Out of 5
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