Last week Marvel unveiled Dave Johnson’s terrific homage to the Battle Royale movie poster with his cover for the first issue of Avengers Arena, a series launching as part of Marvel NOW! in which 16 young heroes are pitted against each other for entertainment by Arcade. Continuing the brutal theme of child versus child, The Beat now has the first look at Chris Bachalo’s cover for Issue 2, a clever ode to Baron Storrey’s illustration for the 1980 Perigree edition of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.
Maybe we should’ve expected more homages when editor Bill Rosemann dropped a handful of allusions in a Q&A last week at Marvel.com: “Avengers Arena gives a high concept itch a superhuman scratch. Throughout history, societies have sent their young adults against one another in competition, whether that’s in war, sports or American Idol. Likewise, art has examined this phenomenon of the older generation sacrificing the younger generation—and also of young warring gangs wanting to prove who’s #1—in everything from the myth of Theseus vs. the Minotaur to Lord of the Flies to Battle Royale to Starship Troopers to Survivor to Hunger Games. Teen vs. teen competition is as old as storytelling—but now it’s time to give it the Marvel twist.”
Perhaps then we should look for those Starship Troopers and Hunger Games (ahem) tributes with issues 3 and 4. Avengers Arena, by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker, debuts in December.