Avengers Arena 1: Kill or Die

avengers arena volume 1 kill or die cover battle royale trae paperback
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Nice start to the series

Intentionally derivative

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Avengers Arena

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Dennis Hopeless

Artist:  Kev Walker/Alessandro Vitti

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:  2013


Avengers Arena #2

Reprints Avengers Arena #1-6 (February 2013-May 2013).  Arcade has a new game to play and he’s selected some of the world’s brightest and best new heroes to play it.  With Darkhawk, Nico, Chase, Mettle, Anachronism, Apex, Bloodstone, Cammi, Death Locket, Hazmat, Juston, Kid Briton, Nara, Red Raven, Reptil, and X-23 pulled from their homes and teams, a game of death is about to begin.  The children find them trapped in a new Murderworld and the only way out is killing each other to be the last man standing.  It is now kill or be killed, and the games are about to begin!

Written by Dennis Hopeless and illustrated Kev Walker and Alessandro Vitti, Avengers Arena 1:  Kill or Die collects the first six issues of the survival-of-the-fittest series from Marvel Comics.  The book was met with controversy with its origins and plans to kill established characters.

Avengers Arena is a blatant rip-off…but doesn’t deny it.  With the popularity of The Hunger Games books and the films that followed, Avengers Arena capitalizes on them by outwardly even using imagery tied to the series and other survival series like Battle Royale and Lord of the Flies.  The odd thing is that the series kind of works because it recognizes that it is stealing.

If Battle Royale and Hunger Games had been some small, unknown books, the series would be plagiarism, but the idea that Arcade is a thief without original ideas is kind of fun…he has a TV producer mentality and he takes what works for entertainment.   The concept of throwing popular people into a rumble not only echoes things like the WWE but also TV shows like Survival All-Stars…it makes sense to do it in a comic.


Avengers Arena #3

What I like about the series is that it picked interesting characters.  I like Avengers Academy, and I liked Runaways.  The two series were kind of tied to each other and with their cancellations, it makes sense to merge them.  It added other odd characters like the kids from the Braddock School (the equivalent of Professor X’s school) and good choices like Cammi (from space odysseys like the Drax the Destroyer and the Annihilation series) and ’90s fan favorite Darkhawk…it was a fan of supporting characters’ dream!

The big question became initially…are these kids going to kill each other and are readers going to lose these favorites?  The first volume sees the death of Red Raven, Mettle, Kid Briton, and potentially more…it is shocking but years of reading comics leads me questioning if they are really dying or in some simulation.

Avengers Arena definitely has a good hook and thus far has executed it well.  It remains to be seen if the series can continue, and if it can keep readers or turn them off by offing their favorite characters.  It reminds me a bit of both the original Secret Wars and the Dwayne McDuffie Secret Wars spinoff series Beyond! which featured some similar ideas.  Avengers Arena 1:  Kill or Die is followed by Avengers Arena 2:  Game On.

Related Links:

Avengers Arena 2:  Game On

Avengers Arena 3:  Boss Level

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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