Avengers Undercover #1
Dennis Hopeless, Kev Walker, Jean-Francois Beaulieu
I will certainly be SPOILING!
For fans of Marvel’s attempt at Battle Royal or Hunger Games, it has been a trying few months as we waited for the story that would tell us what happened next. Well March 12th our faith was rewarded with the release of the first issue of Avengers Undercover #1.
The issue opens with an answer to one of our most abstract questions, “Did Arcade win?” At the end of Avengers Arena, Arcade had been bested by his own “contestants” but stole the last word by posting all of the footage of Murderworld online. Since we know that he wanted attention and the respect of his fellow super villains, we can tell from the fact that he is now a “household name” that he has in fact successfully achieved his goals.
The first survivor that we check in on is Hazmat, who, with her newly controllable powers, is trying to enjoy lunch like a normal teenager, at a fast food joint. A loud mouthed civilian begins insulting her behavior in Murderworld, and in a traditional Hazmat reaction, she uses her powers to destroy his table and intimidate him.
Chase is dealing with things in a very different way. He has turned their morbid celebrity into a resource, leveraging it to become an actual celebrity himself. During an interview that is running live, Chase justifies his actions simply and succinctly.
“…This is who we are now. This is how the whole world knows us…I’m just trying to get mine.” ~ Chase Stein
In the middle of this explanation, Nico shows up to argue his decisions with a terribly weak argument and then spirit him away. During the argument, Chase demonstrates how Nico has let their newfound celebrity effect her, ignoring members of her old team the Runaways.
Next we look in on Death Locket, who is trying to change her cybernetics, against the obvious will of the Deathlok technology she is fused with. While she is looking older, she was the youngest survivor and is having trouble dealing with everyone knowing what she has done, especially with people claiming that she was the good one.
Cammi seems to be taking it the best, trying to pull her life together with her mom, and giving it an honest try. She leaves her mom, however, in an effort to end the Murderworld chapter of her life.
Most disturbing of the survivors is Cullen Bloodstone, heir to the bloodstone legacy of monster hunters, and prison to a demon living inside of him. As you can imagine a child in a family so adept at violence, his rage is pointed outward and his energy is spent hunting down Arcade. In a nod towards Arcade’s method of attacking them, Cullen films his attacks on Arcade’s possible hideouts, starting with his home. Our first hint that he is unhinged is his wild rage as he searches Arcade’s ruined home for his body and his countenance becomes otherworldly.
The comic ties up with Amalgum, Cullen’s closest friend, meeting the team at Cullen’s home to discuss a serious issue. The issue, it turns out, is Cullen himself. The team is shocked when he reveals a room, covered in information, news articles, and lists all involving Arcade. His final movie, an attack on the Masters of Evil, was shot three weeks ago.
The reader is privileged to find that one of the Masters is controlling Cullen in demon form and using him as a weapon. Befitting his new roll as mover and shaker, Chase ends the comic in the only way he could.
“Let’s go get him.”~ Chase Stein
This issue was an excellent beginning to the long awaited sequel. Avengers Undercover is focusing on the lives of the survivors and showing how each has had their life change, for better or worse, in the fallout of Murderworld. Any worry that the story is going to focus more on the Masters of Evil and not enough on our beloved characters has been laid to rest. Everything is made much or intriguing by the tagline on the cover, “Which hero becomes a villain?” And you know what? I don’t have a clue.
My rating: 5/5