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 Post subject: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-09-20 06:21pm
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Of the recent comics announcements outside of movie-related stuff, this so far has gotten quite a strong online reaction from its proper announcement. Short version: Marvel is taking some C-List-but-fan-favorite teen heroes (2 of the Runaway's cast members being probably the second highest profile outside X-23) and putting them in a Battle Royal/Hunger Games/Choose Your Own Analogue Death Game by the villain Arcade. Death is promised to strike our 16 teen cast member (9 of whom are already established), rumored up to 9 or 10 will bite it by the end. I can't confirm it, but that's a worry.

And it's apparently an ongoing. The press release on MTV can be seen here.

This has provoked a strong reaction from many. Hell, the Runaways were the reason I got into comics to begin with and it has literally left me with an upset stomach.

To be fair, I've toyed with the concept myself. Researched heavily into the society that needs to do such a thing or the mentalities to spark it and interesting ways to draw the maximum suffering out of the cast while minimizing casualties. I'm odd that way.

Short version: Why force them at all? Just let it happen with the slightest of pushes to their inhibitions. But, I digress.

It's early still, so separating the hype from reality is quite hard, but already a dichotomy is developing with Marvel hyping up the MURDERDEATHKILL! aspect of it (The body count begins in issue 2) with the writer focusing more on the emotional drama of it. You can read his interviews on the initial release and the fan (over) reaction here and here. The former literally gives me an upset stomach. The later soothes it only slightly.

Part of the problem is that a few of those drawn in (Nico of the Runaways, Mettle and Hazmat of Avengers Academy) are the lynchpins of their series in a sense. If they die, they're little chance for a return to form for their related cast mates. To fans, that means there's more on the line than just one death. Each of them effectively carries a team on their shoulders. Further, because of their nature, these characters will, in all likelihood, stay dead. Yes, even in comics.

Gail Simone's reactionis rather apt for this scenario.

Gail Simone wrote:
Anonymous wrote:
Sorry to bother you, but I'm wondering, but have you at all heard about Marvel's upcoming "Avenger's Arena", in which the sole theme of the story is taking some well known and loved teen heroes and forcing them to kill each other? And what are your thoughts, as a writer and one who grows attached to certain characters on something like this? I feel this could only end in angering a lot of fans, no matter how well it's written, as we've already been told that there will be a lot of deaths.


I have not heard of this.

I don’t want to pre-judge something without knowing a thing about it, but I’m pretty sick of death as a selling point for comics. It’s just cheap. I’m not dissing Marvel, DC does it as well.

I can remember reading stories where characters died when I was a kid and being genuinely moved. It’s harder to do that when it’s part of the marketing.

That said, I don’t know who is doing this or if it’s a red herring or what. It could be the best comic on Earth. And a lot of times, creators have nothing to do with how a book is marketed.

But I think saying, “a bunch of characters DIE!” is a pretty sad synopsis for a book, at least it has been every time I experienced it so far.


And she does have a point. In recent years, not only have we been flooded with the concept in comics ("America's Got Powers", "Idolized", "Teen Titans: The Culling" just off the top of my head) it recalls one of the most repugnant era's of the Teen Titans in a prior run, culminating in a cover which said it all "This issue, ANOTHER Titan dies.".

It raises a lot of things in my head, but part of me still thinks the concept could work, if it's done delicately. I doubt that will happen. For fans, it's blatantly emotionally manipulative to the point where it's almost repugnant.

Besides, I liked the Hatchet more than Hunger Games.

I want to hear your thoughts on it and the trend in general. Not just the type of series, but the nature of the comics industry. This may be the pinnacle of "Cheap Deaths for Attention" we will see. Does it go down from here? Where does it go from here at all, especially since this is slated as an ongoing.

The series is slated to be released in December.

Hopefully, hearing you folks talk about it will finally settle my stomach.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-09-20 06:48pm
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The only reason I'm not among the fans railing against this butt-fuck stupid idea is that I can hardly call myself a Marvel fan anymore. My indifference about everything they do far outweighs the anger I feel. Why should I care? They already pretty much ruined my favorite superhero character (Cyclops) and I don't have the stomach to deal with this shit as well.

Character deaths is number one on the checklist of things every big story apparently needs to include in the opinion of Marvel editorial. I've been rolling my eyes at this approach for years, trying to find the good in stories and stomach the occasional nonsense. This is a series that fricking revolves around that nonsense. I like these characters, and yet Marvel refuses to even give them a chance. I read comics to watch superheroes live, not to watch them die. So basically, fuck Marvel.

The only question is whether killing off my favorite characters is or is not marginally better than retconning them out of existence like DC does.

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-09-20 07:03pm
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Accidental double post, feel free to delete.

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-09-20 09:45pm
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Shrug, I'm pretty sure at this point nobody in Marvel is even pretending to track or care about canon. I doubt any writers will take this game into account regarding which characters live and die.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-09-21 01:56am
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Majin Gojira wrote:
Besides, I liked the Hatchet more than Hunger Games.

Man, I loved that book as an adolescent. Used to dream of making my own fur clothing and chipping obsidian arrowheads. Ah, memories. :)

Quote:
I want to hear your thoughts on it and the trend in general. Not just the type of series, but the nature of the comics industry. This may be the pinnacle of "Cheap Deaths for Attention" we will see. Does it go down from here? Where does it go from here at all, especially since this is slated as an ongoing.

Combine the overuse of the "someone dies!!!1!" hook and the endless resurrections, and you've got disillusioned readers who skeptically view any character death. As they rightly should. It's not a good thing if the first reaction anyone has to a character death is "how long till he comes back?" as it kills any emotional investment. So a comic designed around trying to sell off that emotional investment is going to fail. Or at least, I'd think so.

As for the comics industry as a whole, it's already become a secondary concern for DC and Marvel (or at least their owners). The most valuable aspect of the characters in the comics is their licensing rights. This results in a lack of outside influence for growth or innovation in the comics industry, as the focus of the corporation isn't on leveraging the comics market for greater gains. So the industry is left to itself, and that's not a good thing. It's so insular, it can't draw new members. Getting into superhero comics (not just things like Sandman and Watchmen) isn't the easiest thing to do. And there's no real drive for improvement. Rob Liefeld still gets work. He's just a terrible artist and writer in general. Yet he is still hired on for projects. Comics just hasn't really developed much as a medium, and the niche hard-core audience is fine with the status quo. The industry is just kinda stuck and has become so closed off even the ridiculous success of the Batman films and Marvel's multiple blockbusters couldn't jumpstart revenue. Avengers made a billion dollars, and yet the top selling Marvel comic (Avengers vs. X-Men) actually fell in sales in the month of April, from 203,000 comics to 158,000. How does that happen, when millions of people saw the movie and loved it? The Hunger Games exploded in sales just with the release trailer being put out, so that's a good contrast of what comics have failed to do.

While I could be way off base (I'm sure Hav will have some response), that seems to be the problem for me.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-09-22 04:21pm
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Bright wrote:
The only reason I'm not among the fans railing against this butt-fuck stupid idea is that I can hardly call myself a Marvel fan anymore. My indifference about everything they do far outweighs the anger I feel. Why should I care? They already pretty much ruined my favorite superhero character (Cyclops) and I don't have the stomach to deal with this shit as well.

Character deaths is number one on the checklist of things every big story apparently needs to include in the opinion of Marvel editorial. I've been rolling my eyes at this approach for years, trying to find the good in stories and stomach the occasional nonsense. This is a series that fricking revolves around that nonsense. I like these characters, and yet Marvel refuses to even give them a chance. I read comics to watch superheroes live, not to watch them die. So basically, fuck Marvel.

The only question is whether killing off my favorite characters is or is not marginally better than retconning them out of existence like DC does.



I wish I could remember where I read it, but Marvel had a head honcho meeting right after they killed off Johnny Storm. The sales figures were so good, they decided that they would literally kill off at least one character a quarter, based on that.


This isn't where I originally read it, but this is the story I referenced.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-05 02:07am
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The Cooler King wrote:
I wish I could remember where I read it, but Marvel had a head honcho meeting right after they killed off Johnny Storm. The sales figures were so good, they decided that they would literally kill off at least one character a quarter, based on that.


This isn't where I originally read it, but this is the story I referenced.


But Johnny didn't even stay dead for much more than a year! How ridiculous.

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-18 10:12am
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He's also an A-List character. These guys? C-list at best. They tend to stay dead when they die, which makes the entire thing more frustrating as these were honestly cult favorites (especially in the case of the Runaways).

It's been a while and more information has come forward which appeases me in a schadenfreude manner, and convinces me that the writer is an idiot.

How is he an idiot? Well, with two simple statements he proved very effectively that he does not understand the underpinnings off the genre.

1) "I want them all to be Katniss"
2) "Battle Royal is the prefect metaphor for high school".
3) The entire attempt to make "Arcade" a 'legitimate threat'.

The first runs counter to the very core concept of this sort of fiction. Let's be honest, it operates on Slasher movie logic. Without a single protagonist to set the majority of our emotional investment in, it mars the overall production. This occurs in Halloween: Resurrection with the wasteful death of Laurie Strode -- like many of the kids here (the majority, in fact), she had a story established in prior appearances. Her 'death' being ultimately pointless helped contribute to the film's overall suckage. The second version of this occurs in Feast. Overall, I like Feast, but the death of the first Heroine breaks Suspension of disbelief and removes emotional attachment to the piece (at least it did in my case). This also holds true for the things he's trying to ape: Hunger Games did have Katniss, Running Man had Arny, Lord of the Flies had its lead, etc. Someone the audience could get emotionally invested in without too much worry. The audience in general, subconsciously, can ID a final girl type pretty early on in most cases. Hell, in the Slasher subgenre, the villains are often called "The Heroes of Horror" because, lets be honest, that's where the majority of the emotional investment goes in such movies. The kids? Wortheless.

And that's what they are here, and that's why people are so mad.

The second point, well, that just speaks for itself on how messed up his analysis is. BR in particular says more about Japanese society (and the school system if you squint) regarding youth and how disposable it is than kids interacting with kids. Sure, there's commentary on kids cruelty and the like, but it's overshadowed by the commentary on society as a whole. Other comments along those veins make me think he's either a gorehound and/or an idiot.

With the artist hooked up on this, I fear the former is true, which makes his lack of knowledge of how horror scenarios function even more idiotic. This is a guy who described the Runaways series as being "Brutal", which to me lays his ability to analyze fiction right next to high school students in a remedial english course.

But, sadly, that combination means ignoble deaths for heroic characters, which is the exact opposite of what this thing needs to be in any way shape or form entertaining. Even the preview pictures for it troll this (I'd say tease but it's more malicious). Showing two fan favorite characters locked in mortal combat, with one whimpering and crying as she flees her bersekered friend.

Of course, the one fleeing and crying? Pulled three supreme self-sacrificing high risk moves to save friends from harm at heavy cost or potential cost to herself, which she met with swallowed fear and angry retort. And the one driven into a Bererk rage? Swore off killing and though she has a weakness that sets up that berserk state it was A) destroyed, B) utterly moronic from a narrative perspective to use that tool from issue #1. I guess he couldn't wait to get to the gore and pain, because the first death occurs in #2, with a promise form him that the lasts page off #1 will "Stun and Excite."

Christos Gage, however, the creator of a third of the characters in this cluster fuck, summed it up better, saying that the issue would not convince skeptics of the material's validity and that the last page would make people angry and want to see the villain of the peace dead.

The third point is pretty much a repeated mistake form over at DC comics. Turning characters like Doctor Light and Superboy Prime into gory murderers for shock and grimdark thrills, but ending up with massively wasted story potential and extremely reviled characters overall. It either won't stick once he moves up from the C list, he'll generate "X-Pak Heat" and become reviled beyond the normal "Love to Hate" of proper villains, or kill all dramatic potential with the character.

But this hasn't gone without say. Hopeless, at NYCC this past weekend, was greeted with a mixture of polite cheers and angry boos, getting asked questions regarding how wasteful this thing was. The counterpoints were honestly worthless. Short version:

"Why are you making such a dark series."
"Yes, it is dark."

Most of the writers are towing the company line, saying very little as this is their "High concept" teen book, which is getting clobberred in postie press coverage by the Young Avengers re-launch to my amusement. But they aren't saying much about it, beyond "It's good! Trust us!" Only Christos Gage so far has been honest about it. Of course, the positive press they give it usually amounts to "The best Arcade story in years" which calls back the slasher villain analogue I brought in and my honest opinion it has no place here. If they really wanted to tell this story, why use established characters at all other than to troll?

But this booing incident followed the majority of their facebook post on the subject being negative comments about Arena. Even popular internet reviewer Linkara at Atop the Fourth Wall has basically said: "Once it comes out and it's confirmed to be crap, which it most likely will be, It'll probably be reviewed on my show. Now stop buggin' me about it!"

Only the future will reveal what happens with this thing, but I can only hope it crashes, burns and is retconned into nothing within a year or two.

(That Young Avengers wants to eventually do a world tour arc of young heroes in the Marvel Universe, this is more than likely).

But I got to ask: What was the last work to get booed at NYCC before it was even released? I can only think One More Day got boos afterwards, but before? I know it's rare to get boos at NYCC in general, but I'd like a point of comparison if anyone knows it.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:10pm
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I must say...I am not a comics reader, but I am tempted to check this out just to see how hilariously bad it will get. I think that might well be their intention?

Have a very nice day.
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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:30pm
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fgalkin wrote:
I must say...I am not a comics reader, but I am tempted to check this out just to see how hilariously bad it will get. I think that might well be their intention?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin


Save the money read it in the store, tumbler will have scans of lots of the worst parts online pretty quickly. Or just wait for Linkara to review the thing.

And by the end of December (after #1 and #2 are released and we see how it handles death), I plan on doing an autopsy on how it turned out, especially in relation to others off its genre and do a "Why this isn't working" discussion and logistical/emotional analysis.



ISARMA: Daikaiju Coordinator: Just Add Radiation
Justice League- Molly Hayes: Respect Hats or Freakin' Else!
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Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-18 03:38pm
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Majin Gojira wrote:
Save the money read it in the store, tumbler will have scans of lots of the worst parts online pretty quickly. Or just wait for Linkara to review the thing.

With the proviso that might be a long time coming. He doesn't do things until a least a year has past since they were completely published.


Still you can see where they got the idea for this from. Oh Hunger games is popular, we'll do that and rake in the big bucks. Of course people don't care so much what the story is so long as its good. Which is obviously an alien concept to exec.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-19 03:11am
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I'll just wait for Hitgirl to have a little talk with arcade and ms locke



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-19 03:45am
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Whenever I hear about Arcade I remember that horrendous SNES game "Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade's Revenge".

Nothing else I can say that someone else hasn't already said eloquently.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-19 03:18pm
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like I said marvel's resident pre-teen killer should say hi



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-19 06:22pm
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I mean it was decades ago when the brotherhood of evil mutants used murderworld as a dangerroom training center, or him and the toad repaired a shuttered Latverian Consulate onlyto get imprisoned by doombots.

the character only exists to provide women in refridgerator fodder.
let Molly Hayes accidentally break everybone in his body only to find out htat Mindy (hitgirl) has killed Locke and Smythe



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-19 08:08pm
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Funny you should mention Women in Refrigerators, of the 9 announced cast members, 4 are women. 2 of which are also minorities, with 3 of the guys also representing minorities.



ISARMA: Daikaiju Coordinator: Just Add Radiation
Justice League- Molly Hayes: Respect Hats or Freakin' Else!
Browncoat
Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-19 10:19pm
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exactly, I loathe what those boys in charge of comics franchises do.



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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-20 04:02am
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Younger characters in the Big Two inevitably end up being more diverse than the old guard. Unfortunately, editors never really think these implications through.

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-20 07:42am
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Am I the world's only Arcade fan? I mean, yeah he's really cheesy, and he's never actually defeated anybody that I know of, and this particular story sounds like a pathetic attempt to jump on the Hunger Games bandwagon, but other than that I've always liked the guy. Of course, I haven't actually read a comic with him in it since I was in my early teens, so this could be a serious case of lower standards at the time + nostalgia, but I think having a villain who's completely dedicated to death trap mazes is kind of cool, and the wacky carnival theme makes him feel like a Batman villain running loose in Marvelworld to me (except with robot doubles so he doesn't have to go to Arkham). He forces other characters to use their wits and face challenges specifically tailored to their abilities instead of just providing yet another slugfest. Not that I don't enjoy super-fisticuffs, but a little variety is nice.




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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-20 08:34am
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I enjoy Arcade, but seeing him 'reinvented' and basically given the Doctor Light treatment is extremely disappointing. It kills his character. Chris Simms at Comics Alliance wrote an article basically amounting to "Arcade doesn't need to succeed in killing anyone to be an interesting villain."

And when he interviewed the author of Arena, politely ignored the thesis of the article to help hype Arena.

Comic Book reporting in a nutshell these days.



ISARMA: Daikaiju Coordinator: Just Add Radiation
Justice League- Molly Hayes: Respect Hats or Freakin' Else!
Browncoat
Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-10-20 05:52pm
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Ehhh, I can't exactly blame Comics Alliance. They're already much more willing to engage in serious criticism of the industry than other similar comic book sites. It would be extremely unprofessional to go on a fanboyish tirade against someone that's agreed to give an interview (no matter how warranted). Doing so would result in the staff's working relationships with representatives of the Big Two being damaged. Why would anyone agree to come on to be interviewed in such an environment?

And Sims did ask a few hardball questions in that interview, all of which were deflected.

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-11-10 06:42am
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Welp, the first preview is out in full and from what it shows, it's worse than we feared.

The narration boxes for it aren't bad, per say, just painfully average for the most part. Not up to par to give the concept a real chance to succeed.

However, some things just push it over the edge.

1) Character Regression/Exaggeration: The first character shown getting a focus if only for a time is basically reduced to an exaggeration of her personality from the start of the series she featured in, ignoring all her development. Not too uncommon a BS writing technique, but the exaggeration is poorly done. She goes from someone who was popular, but grew bitter because of her condition to "I've always been a hater." In other words, it's Cassandra Cain all over again.

2) "Day 29": Now, this could be counting down, but the idea that it will last or has lasted that long is ridiculous on a conceptual level (HG lasted a long time, BR was quicker). It's made worse by the condition the character is in. If she has been on a deathtrap island for 29 days she's remarkably well kept up in both her clothing, physical health and hygienic nature. It's as if the writer never has been camping in their life or at the very least seen Survivor Man. It rather confirms my suspisions that the writer did not do his research into any aspect of this.

3) The last lines: "Dying wouldn't be so bad. There are worse things." Wow. Talk about overwrought and melodramatic.

4) The preview comes from the end of the first issue. Showing the cliff hanger right off the bat. Yeah. I don't know what they're thinking either.

None of the concerns regarding this thing have been addressed and this seems like the final nail int he coffin in regard to it ever being of quality.



ISARMA: Daikaiju Coordinator: Just Add Radiation
Justice League- Molly Hayes: Respect Hats or Freakin' Else!
Browncoat
Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-11-11 08:57pm
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Posts: 2355
At this point, I rather think that things would be much better if this turned out to be canon.

Image

Because for all that arbitrary nonsense is the bread and butter of superhero comics, the recent events have been so utterly terrible that it defies description.



Reference webpages for fanfic writers.

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-11-11 09:02pm
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Sith Acolyte
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Joined: 2002-08-06 11:27pm
Posts: 5687
Location: Philadelphia
Indeed.

I'm just glad I got permission from my blog editor to do a 3 part series looking at Gladiator fiction, capping with an analysis of the first 3 issues of Arena (why 3, because 1 is Arcade Ballyhoo and 2 is "TONIGHT! Someone DIES!") and all the ways it goes wrong on a logistical and narrative levels. Even if there are good points to it (and I will mention them), what has been shown so ffar demonstrates a lot of failure and mistakes from my perspective.

I pray for a cop out ending. Only way out beyond another writer coming in and fixing it.



ISARMA: Daikaiju Coordinator: Just Add Radiation
Justice League- Molly Hayes: Respect Hats or Freakin' Else!
Browncoat
Supernatural Taisen - "[This Story] is essentially "Wouldn't it be awesome if this happened?" Followed by explosions."

Reviewing movies is a lot like Paleontology: The Evidence is there...but no one seems to agree upon it.

"God! Are you so bored that you enjoy seeing us humans suffer?! Why can't you let this poor man live happily with his son! What kind of God are you, crushing us like ants?!" - Kyoami, Ran

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 Post subject: Re: So . . . Avengers Arena PostPosted: 2012-11-12 01:53am
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Joined: 2011-12-10 10:13am
Posts: 1599
I only heard about this "Marvel NOW!" thing just then and was coming here to find out more about it, so here's my completely uninformed opinion on Avengers Arena:

Majin Gojira wrote:
Marvel is taking some C-List-but-fan-favorite teen heroes (2 of the Runaway's cast members being probably the second highest profile outside X-23) and putting them in a Battle Royal/Hunger Games/Choose Your Own Analogue Death Game by the villain Arcade.

This is stupid. If I like a character (as I do Nico), I want to read stories about them. A Battle Royale expy (right down to the cover) means I can't read stories about them, because they are dead. You don't need an existential threat to tell an interesting story.

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