Comic Vine Review


Avengers Arena #18 - Boss Level Part 5 of 5


And so we come to the end. Who is left? What is left of who is left?

The Good

Whew! I never thought we’d make it to this point, if I’m honest. Not because of a lack of quality on the part of Dennis Hopeless or any of the artists who’ve done an amazing job on this title, but because the concept just seemed so out there and extreme. If Kirkman was afraid that Marvel Zombies wouldn’t be allowed to exist as a series, I can’t imagine what the meetings on this book were like. But I’m very, very glad that it did endure because this was a perfectly satisfying, terrific end to this title. There are a lot of small details that are paid off very well and a few old references that wind up having a huge impact. Reading this also makes the end of this week’s All New X-Men make a great deal more sense as well. Also: CHASEHAWK!

Series architect Kev Walker returns to finish what he started in all its messy, vicious form. This is one of the best moment-to-moment books and I never cease to be impressed by the visual designs that he helped create across this series and this particular issue is no exception. While a great deal of the battles are against previously unseen foes, there’s still a weight and impact to them and these characters definitely look like they’ve been through 29 (or 30) days of absolute Hell. Walker is also on inks along with Jason Gorder and this book has always had very understated, subtle inking in it. Whether it’s because most of the book takes place in broad daylight or because it makes the characters feel strangely connected, I think the inks are a great. Jean-Francois Beaulieu rounds out colors and what colors they are. Muddy, grimy, rough and all very intentional, this book’s visuals communicate the characters’ torment as much as the words.

The Bad

What exactly was going on with Chris Powell last issue is left very, very unanswered. I won’t go into too fine of detail, but it definitely seemed like something was specifically up at the end of last issue, and this issue he doesn’t even show up. While there’s not quite a deus ex machina that resolves everything, there is something of one that unites the survivors. I actually feel like this could’ve gone on another issue or two and come to a more natural end point.

The Verdict

Meaningful deaths and new characters. This book had it in spades and I loved it MOST every step of the way. I think based on what we’ve heard about Hopeless’ next project that these characters will be going in a very unique and interesting direction that pays off a lot of what was established throughout this title. Hopeless cut to the savage heart of what happens when people, especially young people, are pushed to the most extreme place they possibly can be, and according to the letter at the end of the issue, he never even wanted to! It was supposed to be a more traditional teen drama book, but I’m glad, in this case, that he was prodded in this direction.