Avengers Arena #12

Issue Date: 
September 2013
Story Title: 
Game On – part 5

Dennis Hopeless (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Jason Gorder (inker, pages 7-12, 17-20), Jean-Francois Beaulieu (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Dave Johnson (cover artist), Jon Moisan (assistant editor), Bill Rosemann (editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Her blood sacrifice restores Nico to life and gives her more powers. Filled with inhuman rage, she attacks and bests Apex and her slaves, eventually burying Apex and Death Locket alive. However, Death Locket awakes in a sub-terranean tunnel system and peers into a room where she finds the dead bodies of the fallen combatants.

Full Summary: 

Apex floats in the air, controlling the Sentinel, Darkhawk Chase and Death Locket to set fire to the forest below her. She muses that no one’s the villain of their own story. That’s a thing she read once. The big idea being, she supposes, that people are so utterly self-righteous that they refuse to take responsibility for their evil doings.

Is she the villain of this story? Is Arcade? Is it the grown-up superheroes who’ve failed so miserably at keeping them safe?

Elsewhere, in a snowy ravine, Nico Minoru lies dead. Strange energies begin to emit from the Staff of One and engulf her. She is lifted up and begins to groan. Fully healed, her arm replaced, she flies upwards at superspeed, her face contorted with fury.

Who does she think is the villain? Katy muses. Who cares? Doesn’t matter. Murderworld isn’t a story. It’s a game. Arcade told them that much on day one. And games aren’t about heroes and villains. They’re about winners and losers.

Something smashes into the Sentinel at high-speed. Blow! Nico orders and part of the Sentinel explodes. Backdraft is her next spell as she turns towards the flames.

In his lair, Arcade returns from the bathroom, asking his robot what he missed. He is informed Nico is extinguishing Katy’s forest fire. Arcade laughs and points out she is collecting the fire. The robot remarks Nico has never been so brutal before. Nor so powerful. None of this seems to match her psychological profile.

Munching popcorn, Arcade explains Nico is not quite herself today. That’d be the blood magic doing its thing. Little Miss Goth has to give a blood sacrifice to access her witchy powers. Normally it’s just a few drops to access her staff. But when Apex pulled her delightful double cross, when she puppeteered Chase’s Darkhawk form and used him to cut off Nico’s arm, the girl bled out. She must have cast some sort of death rattle healing spell. But the sacrifice was massive. Half an arm and all that blood. It didn’t heal her. She’s been remade. Powered up. And from the look of things she’s been busted up into bidy black rage nuggets. This is gonna be delightful!

Funny, she thought she killed her already, Katy deadpans. No trouble though, they’ll just do it again!

Recycle! Nico blasts the robots. Katy turns to Death Locket but, before she can use her, Nico casts Thunderstruck and lightning hits Death Locket.

All right, Apex decides grimly and orders Chase. Darkhawk blasts Nico who falls.

Katy muses that earlier she was trying to decide whether or not she’d call herself a villain. Now, she’s obviously a bit selfish and she has the full intention to kill everyone here. But she also seems to be the only one playing by the rules. She can’t be the villain. Proper villains hate the rules. Maybe in Murderworld she is the hero!

She orders her servants to kill Nico, and make it permanent this time. Botsplode Nico orders for the Sentinel, followed by Dissassemble. Death Locket screams as her cyborg arms disassembles.

Gunshot. She points at Chase who falls, shot. What happened? he asks weakly, no longer under Katy’s control. Katy tells her to kill her friend and she’ll be out of toys. Defenseless. No? Coward.

Chase warns Nico Katy is forcing him. Counterstr—she begins. He fires at her and hits her.

Katy grabs the Staff of One and admits much a she loves winning it was fun having some competition for once. A weak Nico gets up to a crouch. Almost a shame it has to be over now, Katy gloats.

Blunt Force! Nico chants and hits Chase with her new arm, then orders the Staff of One to her side. It flies out of Katy’s hands. Well done, she admits. She wins. So now what? Nico slams the Staff of One to the ground, casting Dirtnap.

Apex screams as the ground swallows her and Death Locket up and the two are buried alive.

Chase comes to, asking Nico if she is okay. He’s himself again, he stammers. Is she… herself? Yeah, she’s herself, she replies. More or less. Her new arm still glows. Chase tries to apologize. He couldn’t stop it. Can they not do this now? Nico asks. Can they just sit here for a minute and pretend none of this is real? Sure, yeah. ‘Course, Chase replies.

Death Locket awakes in darkness, Katy is still unmoving. Instead of under the earth, they are in an underground machine room. Rebecca sees a small glowing triangle which turns out to be a window. She peers into the lit room. The first thing she sees is a kitchenette.

Arcade walks past, musing Katy was a real firecracker. He had her top in four of his five brackets. And she put up quite a fight. His flying robot unit agrees. But that’s Murder World for ya, Arcade continues. Gotta expect the unexpected.

Most of what Rebecca sees is a lab, where the corpses of those who have already died are stored. Where are they? she asks helplessly.

Characters Involved: 

Apex , Chase Stein, Death Locket, Nico Minoru

Story Notes: 

DEAD:  Juston Syefried, Kid Briton, Mettle, Red Raven

The story is narrated by Apex.

Written By: