While it's not uncommon to see fans organize in an attempt to save a low-selling comic, it's rare to see them actually seek a title's demise. However, that's the goal of a petition at Change.org, which calls for the cancellation of Avengers Arena, the new Marvel series whose kill-or-be-killed competition premise has invited comparisons to Battle Royale and The Hunger Games.
What's more, the petitioners ask Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso to "retcon the deaths" that have occurred so far in the comic -- there are three to date -- which is referred to on the website as a "travesty against fans." As of this morning, just 61 people had signed on.
Avengers Arena, which launched in December as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, finds 16 young heroes transported to Arcade's Murderworld, where they're forced to fight each other in a series of death matches. "[T]he story is about choices," writer Dennis Hopeless told Comic Book Resources this week. "These young people have to make some very difficult choices that will affect the course of the rest of their lives -- What would you do to protect yourself or your friends? What are you willing to sacrifice? Who are you willing to leave behind? What can you live with? They're in no way ready to make these decisions, but they have to. To me, that's what makes a teenage superhero death match relatable. Life is about choices and being young is about making choices you don't fully understand. Take all the fantasy elements away and Murderworld starts to sound a lot like high school."
However, the petition's creator clearly doesn't view the series as an exploration of deeper themes, but rather as a cold grab for sales.
"Marvel has gathered together our favorite teenaged characters in a gambit to ride the coattails of The Hunger Games recent success," reads the statement at Change.org. "We cannot allow these young heroes in training to be killed off, it is an injustice to them and the future of comics - even if the majority of the comic populace; neither care, nor have heard of them. Each of these characters, established before this book, have seen substantial personal growth; growth which is about to be snuffed out in the name of sales. Let us show Marvel that we will not let this transgression go unremarked. Let us show that we will not allow our beloved characters to fade quietly into the night. Let us show Marvel that we are their dedicated fans and these are the characters we love! Join me by signing this petition, and help me show Marvel that this is not the right thing to do, that we will not sit idly by while they lump our beloved characters into the debris pile they have collected. Thank you, each and every one of you , even if you do not sign. So long as you have read this I have seeded the thought of this travesty against fans into your mind."
In the comments at Change.org, which contain spoilers, one supporter referred to Avengers Arena as the "bottom of the barrel," while another said, "the very concept of this book offends me." Others, however, weren't quite as sympathetic to the cause. "I can only assume that this petition implies the replacement of the title with Runaways: Puppy Brigade," one commenter stated. Still another congratulated the publisher on its stealth marketing: "I think this petition will be great publicity for the book and applaud whoever at Marvel it was that thought of it."
Avengers Arena #3, by Hopeless and artist Kev Walker, is on sale now.
(via Bleeding Cool)