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
. 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 reaction
is rather apt for this scenario.
Gail Simone 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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