Avengers Arena 3: Boss Level

avengers arena volume 3 boss level cover trade paperback
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Brutal and doesn't end up being a dream sequence

Gets sloppy at the end, switches artists at crucial points

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Avengers Arena

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Dennis Hopeless/Christos Gage

Artist:  Kev Walker/Karl Moline

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:  2014


Avengers Arena #13

Reprints Avengers Arena #13-18 (October 2013-January 2014).  Time is running out as the heroes trapped in Arcade’s Murderworld are headed to the final level of play.  As Arcade continues to ratchet up the pressure, the survivors of his game are beginning to turn on each other as a fight to the finish begins to occur.  However, there are some flies in the ointment and if someone can wrestle control of Murderworld from Arcade, the game just might be over.

Written by Dennis Hopeless and Christos Gage, Avengers Arena 3:  Boss Level was released as part of the Marvel Now! comics.  The collection has the stand alone “The Devil’s Greatest Trick” story followed by the five part “Boss Level” storyline and features art by Kev Walker and Karl Moline.  Following Avengers Arena 2:  Game On, this volume collects the final six issues of the series.

Avengers Arena at its core was a copycat comic.  The comic blatantly (and acknowledged) that it was boring from things like The Hunger Games and Battle Royale for source material among other things.  The difference here was that it involved superhumans…and superhumans who have been part of the Marvel Universe in some cases for decades.

As you start to read Avengers Arena, you think that it can’t possibly be happening.  You are seeing kids kill each other and you assume that only the “unknown” characters like Red Raven and Kid Briton are going to die…but as seen by this later volume, it is all game.  I can’t say that I was horribly surprised by who did survive the comic at the end, but there were a few upsetting deaths that were shocking.


Avengers Arena #16

It does get a little sloppy in this final volume as a lot of time is spent with what is going on in Arcade’s laboratory.  It sometimes makes it feel that the true battle for survival occurring on the island isn’t as life or death as it seems when you cut away to Death Locket, Arcade, and Apex deciding what to do.  I knew that it wasn’t going to end clean and neat, but I wish the two last issues were a bit more refined.

I know it is generally a scheduling thing, but I also hate it when artists change midstream in a storyline.  I could have understood if the stand-alone issue was a separate artist but Moline did Avengers Arena #13 and Avengers Arena #16…right in the middle of the dramatic conclusion. Walker and Moline’s style is similar but it was a bit jarring especially since the issues generally end in a cliffhanger.

Avengers Arena was a rather shocking comic.  I kept expecting a reveal that the characters were playing in a virtual reality world or that every death was faked…instead Hopeless smartly played it dead serious and real.  I’m sure that Marvel will recon some of the events in this series eventually and how Marvel is written now, I’m betting some writers just completely ignored events here.  Marvel did however have a follow-up to Avengers Arena called Avengers Undercover which ran ten issues and was collected in two volumes.

Related Links:

Avengers Arena 1:  Kill or Die

Avengers Arena 2:  Game On

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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