From teenage dream to nightmare! Avengers Arena debuts today. Members of Avengers Academy, Runaways and other young heroes are thrown into a Battle Royale fight to the death on an island run by X-Men villain Arcade. Writer Dennis Hopeless revealed his plans for the kids and the mastermind behind The Hunger Games style game on Marvel.com.
“Basically 16 of your favorite Marvel teen heroes–and Darkhawk, who is not a teenager–wake up on an island and are told by Arcade only one of them will come out alive. This time people will actually die in Murderworld. They can leave, but they have to kill everybody else. Issue #1 will show the kids and the readers he’s serious this time,” explains Hopeless.
The X-Men have survived Arcade’s Murderworld in the past stories. Hopeless says this time Arcade will finally live up to this reputation as an assassin.
“In a lot of ways, Arcade is a silly character. He comes from a different era where it was ok for a villain to set up elaborate traps that fail. It was important to keep that showman, likes to watch aspect, but change things up so people will respect Arcade,” he says, “”It was an interesting challenge. I love Arcade. When we first talked about the series, I thought of him, then dismissed him. Axel Alonso called me later and asked med to use him. I’m proud of how we kept his core but made him a little more scary, similar and respectable.”
The book will star a who’s who of Marvel’s youngest generation.
“I got to cherry pick, so all the characters I’m using, I like. I loved Avengers Academy and wanted to use them all, but had to cap it. Hazmat is the point of view character of issue #1 and I love writing her.”
Hopeless revealed he’s created new teen characters aka victims for this series including a young female Deathlok and kids from an Academy run by Captain Britain.
The fact that Avengers Arena would be an ongoing series was a surprise.
“I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why this isn’t a limited series. It’s because we need space to explain why these kids would do this. These are heroes. We need to show what they’re going to and get them to a place where they fear or distrust each other enough,” Hopeless explains, “Once we get to a place where the game changes and we get away from the core concept, we’ll go somewhere else, but this is a long story.”
The writer takes on the fact that some fan favorites will be killed off as the story proceeds.
“I see all the reaction to this book already because I’m a crazy person and I look for it. I’m a comics fan too. I know it’s hard to think your favorite character might be pulled off the shelf. At the same time, I think death is a serious part of life, and it should not be a cheap storytelling device. It’s one of the most powerful things a person or character can go through. I’m really proud of the book. We’re telling a really good story here. Nobody who’s responding to the marketing has read it yet.”
“These are super heroes, so that’s what makes it different from Battle Royale, which is human kids adapting. Hunger Games, we’re in the head of one girl raised in a post-apocalyptic world; these are teens who all grew up in the Marvel Universe. We’re doing a point of view shift where you see the situation from the perspectives of each character. You see what each is getting from this and where they’re coming from. I think that makes it unique. It’s like if Hunger Games switched the perspective between every character, which would make it very different. It’s obviously influences by those and by stuff like The Running Man, but these characters change it and make it its own thing.”
We’ll have to read the book to see why some heroes decide to turn on each other (besides obvious survival) but Hopeless explains how the matchups will work.
“Darkhawk has cosmic level powers and X-23 is very difficult to kill. We deal with the fact that power sets are varied and how some would normally wipe the floor with all the others.”
Will your favorite young hero survive Murder Island? Avengers Arena #1 is out today.
For the complete transcript here’s the Marvel.com link.