AVENGERS ARENA Approaching 'Boss Level' Season Finale

Avengers Arena

#14 cover.

Avengers Arena always appeared to be a series with a definite ending in mind, and it'll be reaching that point starting with August's issue #14, with what's being billed as the book's season finale.

Announced Saturday at C2E2 in Chicago during Marvel's "From NOW! to Infinity" panel, the five-issue arc, titled "Boss Level," is scheduled to bring the series-long story — featuring Arcade pitting 16 of Marvel's young heroes against each other in a casualty-filled, Hunger Games-esque fight to the finish — to a close, though it looks like a second "season" of Avengers Arena might not be far behind.

The arc will be by the book's initial creative team of writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Kev Walker, and Newsarama has the first interview with Hopeless — who's also writing Marvel's ongoing Cable and X-Force — on "Boss Level."

Newsarama: Dennis, "Boss Level" is said to be the end of the "first season" of Avengers Arena. When the series was first announced as part of the initial Marvel NOW! lineup, many observers sensed that it seemed a finite story, and it looks like that's at least partially the case. Was it always your plan for things to come to a head around this point? (Well, "this point" when the arc starts in August, not "this point" as in right now.)

Avengers Arena

#14 variant cover.

Dennis Hopeless: Yeah, we always intended our first three arcs to tell a complete story. Arcade sets a 30-day countdown in issue #1. The first three arcs are those 30 days and by issue #18, you’ll know who won/survived Arcade’s twisted game.

Nrama: Also, "first season" implies that beyond this, there is at least a chance of more Avengers Arena stories to come. Not to get way ahead of ourselves, but is that anything you've got planned at this point?

Hopeless: Definitely. We’ve been talking about what happens next since the beginning and are figuring out exactly what that will look like. I can’t say much about it yet, but obviously everything will change after Murder World.

Nrama: Not to spoil anything from here to then, but can you share any insight as to which characters will be major players in this arc?

Hopeless: I’ll cheat this one and say Arcade. Our ginger-headed villain plays a big role in "Boss Level."


Nrama: Based on what was revealed to press, it appears that "Boss Level" will, potentially, involve some heroes on the outside catching on to what's been happening in Murder World. How much is that a part of the story?

Hopeless: The outside world is a huge part of issue #13 but beyond that we stay focused on Murder World until the game is over. There’s a lot more story to tell inside the arena.

Nrama: In general, a finite story at a publisher like Marvel of this length — more than a miniseries (or even a 12-issue maxiseries), but not an open-ongoing, is fairly rare. How much have you enjoyed getting to write with that type of space?

Hopeless: This might be the most fun I’ve ever had writing comics. AA has a simple but brutal premise with a great big hook and 16 incredible characters. On top of that, they gave us as many issues as we needed to tell the full story. That kind of space is really freeing. We couldn’t have done this kind of shifting POV character study in a miniseries. There wouldn’t have been room.

Nrama: Kind of a goofy question, but given that one routinely denied Avengers Arena reader theory is that it's actually taking place in some type of virtual reality simulation, is calling the final arc "Boss Level" in any way kind of playing with those expectations? Or does it just fit the story and I'm reading far too much into things?

Hopeless: Ha. Contrary to popular opinion, it has never been our intention to trick the readers. "Boss Level" isn't meant to be literal. We’re saying the kids left standing have reached the hardest part of this death match, the endgame. 

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