Though I've never been much of an Avengers fan, I was quite the fan of Avengers Academy, and was upset when that book was canceled to make room for this one. Well, for one issue, this was like getting Avengers Academy back, and it was great!
Gage returns for a fill-in issue that focuses on how Arcade has managed to ensure that no one has noticed the missing teen heroes while he has had them imprisoned in Murderworld.
From Hank Pym and Tigra interacting the way couples do, to seeing characters like Lightspeed and Finesse again, being on the grounds of the Academy in California and (again) the flowery writing that is Gage's hallmark all made this feel like a return home.
While I have been pleasantly surprised by Avengers Arena over the last year, it was great to have Avengers Academy back, even if just for a moment. This issue was well laid out, and told Arcade's master plan perfectly, from the tidbits about what he knows of his captives, to his 'trump card', this was a great read from cover to cover.
It's not surprising that we're headed into the final arc of this series already, as it was a limited concept to begin with, but it has been an enjoyable ride.
The speculation is that after this book ends, it will be leading into a 'youth oriented' crossover event from Marvel, which makes sense, seeing as how many schools and academies currently dot the Marvel Universe. If that's true though, I wonder how much of what has happened here in Avengers Arena will stick, as far as continuity is concerned.
The isolation of this story, and the mysterious surroundings of what Arcade has achieved here have left a convenient 'out' since the beginning, and thus far, the only established character that has died is Mettle, so wiping this entire series from continuity would be fairly easy.
Hopefully Marvel doesn't take the cheap way out though. As much as I loved the budding relationship between Hazmat and Mettle that had been developed in Avengers Academy, to back out on all of this work now would be a real shame.
This was a great issue of Avengers Arena, old Avengers Academy fans rejoice, at least for a moment!