Avengers Arena #5

Issue Date: 
April 2013
Story Title: 
Born Leader

Dennis Hopeless (writer), Kev Walker (artist), Frank Martin (colorist), VCs Joe Caramagna (letterer), Dave Johnson (cover artist), Joe Quinones (variant cover artist), Jon Moisan (assistant editor), Bill Rosemann (editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

In Murder World, Kid Briton is awake whilst the rest of his party sleep. He looks down at Anachronism and Cullen Bloodstone and reckons he could off them right there and then. However, he knows that if he did, it might upset Katy and he doesn't wish to do that. He thinks back to when he was at the Braddock Academy getting a dressing down from Captain Britain. Cap told him he was a cocky bully, but Brian reminded him that it was his self-confidence that defined his power. Back in the present Arcade informs his captives that for the moment, things are going to get interesting. He creates floods, earthquakes and snowstorms to keep them on their feet and informs them that medicine and food can be found in quadrant 2. Cammi gets caught in a snowstorm but she is assisted by Chase and Nico. She offers to give them help in surviving in return for some firepower. Meanwhile, the Braddock kids remain on unfriendly terms, with Kid Briton antagonizing Anachronism and Cullen Bloodstone. Brian thinks back to the academy again when he started an affair with Nara behind Katy's back. He assaulted Anachronism who discovered them kissing which impressed the sadistic Nara. In the present they are heading towards quadrant 2 when Aiden and Cullen fall into the river and are swept downstream. Brian finds it hilarious, but that changes when Death Locket fires Nara into the river after them. He is furious, but Katy protects Death Locket. Meanwhile, X-23 and Hazmat are trying to get Reptil some medicine due to burn injuries that he's suffered. Out of the blue he wakes up. He informs them that his attacker wasn't Chase... it was Death Locket! Back with the Braddock students Katy doesn't care that Brian cheated on her. She knows about his little dabble with Nara but let it happen to help his self-confidence. However, now they are in Murder World, that will end.

Full Summary: 

It's nighttime and Kid Briton is wide awake. Cullen Bloodstone and Anachronism are fast asleep by the fire. Kid Briton thinks that it hardly seems fair. He's near-invincible; a born leader of men. Trained for combat straight out of the crib. He looks at Cullen. How's a runt like that supposed to contend with him? He doesn't stand a chance. Him or his beefcake boyfriend. He wonders if perhaps he should end them both now. It would save the heartache later. He looks down at the sleeping Apex and Death Locket and knows that Katy wouldn't like that and keeping Katy happy keeps him happy. He quite likes happy.

The Braddock Academy, before Murder World:
As several heroes try and take down a rampaging monster in the grounds, Captain Britain is in his office with Kid Briton. Cap asks him to take the smug look off his face. He looks like a smug twit. The kid replies that he thought he looked just like him, when the great Captain Britain was still young and handsome. Cap points at him and reminds Kid Briton that he isn't him. His Britain, his universe was a trial by fire. At his age he was just a soft little boy with a silver spoon. Brian has the potential to become so much more than he ever will. And yet, he adds, he seems compelled to toss it all away. He explains that the Braddock Academy exists to make heroes out of Britain's best and brightest. He could be their noble leader. Instead, he is their cocky, self-impressed bully. p>

Kid Briton hears the commotion outside and says it sounds like there's some nasty business out there. Does he need him to tend to it? Cap replies that it's fine. he would prefer to hear what he has to say for himself. Kid Briton says, "So what?" His powers... their powers, depend on self-confidence, yeah? That's how he saved his universe five times before he pulled him out. Cocky is the only reason he is alive. He's sorry if Cap doesn't like the look of it. Cap snarls at him just as a loud ke-rash is heard outside. Kid Briton smiles and asks if he's sure he doesn't need him outside. Cap informs him that the institution is staffed by Britain's mightiest heroes. Whatever's happening out there, he promises they can handle it. The wall then suddenly caves in and Spitfire flies by. "Little help here, Captain," she says. Cap sighs and tells Kid Briton that he is excused. He should return to class. p>

Murder World, now:
A song plays over the loudspeakers causing the young heroes like Cammi, Kid Briton, X-23 and Hazmat to stop in their tracks. Who can take tomorrow? asks the song's lyrics. Dip it in a dream. Separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream. "The candy man can?" asks Cullen. A large bright image in the sky with eyes and a mouth replies that he's right and the Candy Man thinks they'reboring. Arcade, controlling the image, informs them that it's time to mix things up. Starting now and for the next twenty-four hours, Murder World will grow increasingly more interesting. p>

Nico Minoru and Chase Stein, two young runaways, see a tidal wave heading their way and make a run for it. They head into the snowy regions. Arcade explains that there are safe zones on the outskirts of all four quadrants where you can go to lick your wounds. And boy, will there be wounds, he adds. They spot Cammi being forced out of her tree by a localized avalanche. As she heads groundwards, Nico thinks quickly, raises her Staff of One and says, "Snow Globe." A forcefield protects Cammi as she lands but snow fall buries her deep.
Arcade tells them that getting to these safe zones is gonna suck, and there's more. At one of the four safe zones they'll find food, water and all the medical supplies their little arms can carry.
Chase tries to free Cammi using his Fistigons but tells Nico that there's a lot of snow. Does she think her spell even worked? Nico admits she doesn't know but asks him to keep digging until he finds her.
Arcade gives everyone a clue. That zone is in quadrant 2 so they'd better hurry, because in Murder World it's always first come, first served. Chase finally burns the snow deep enough to locate Cammi. She looks up at him with her gun aimed right at him. "What do you want?" she asks. "Nothing," replies Chase.

Elsewhere Anachronism is picking up a fallen tree and Cullen is looking through the shrubbery. Apex asks what they're doing. They heard Arcade. The earthquakes were just the start. They need to go! Kid Briton replies that they're dead weight. They should leave 'em. "There's an idea," replies Nara, agreeing with his sentiments. Anachronism says he won't be a minute. He's looking for his axe. Kid Briton scoffs and asks why. It's not like he has the stones to use the bloody thing. Anachronism scowls at him. "What?" asks Brian. "Nothing," replies Anachronism.
Cullen shouts over and says he's found it. He hurls it towards Brian's face, only for his friend to catch it inches before it hits home. "%&@$ sake," sighs Brian before punching Cullen to the ground. Anachronism grabs Brian and orders him to stop it. Brian tells him it looks like he finally grew those stones after all. Apex tells them that if they're done measuring, maybe they could go now.

The Braddock Academy, before Murder World:
Brian is with Katy Bashir. She tells him that she's not sure why she puts up with him. He reckons he knows exactly why. Katy guesses he does have his advantages. A kid called Aiden approaches playing a game involving dragons on his laptop. Kid Briton slashes the laptop with his energy sword, destroying it. "Got 'im," says Brian. "No need for thanks, Aiden," he adds. "Slaying dragons. That's what I do."
As Aiden wanders off, Brian grins and remarks that she should see what he just did to the new gamer kid. The ginger. "The look on his face was bloody..." A hand reaches for him and pulls him to her. It's Nara and she tells him to shut up. She doesn't care. She kisses him and after a momentary pause to take in what's happening, Brian responds.< p>

Aiden walks back in on them and apologizes. Brian punches the poor guy to the floor, telling him that the point of this isn't to punish him. It's not his fault he wandered in. He just wanted to make it clear how important it is that no one finds out. He roughs Aiden up some more and he promises they won't. Nara asks what if he tells Katy. Brian assures her that he won't. He's a coward through and through. He probably didn't even need the beating really. She tells him that part was hot. Brian replies that she's messed up. "You love it," she smiles. Behind him, Aiden screams as he to transforms into Anachronism.

Murder World, now):
Cammi tells Nico and Chase that by her count, it's Mettle, Red Raven... "Red Raven?" asks Nico. Cammie reminds her of the bird girl from day one. So, it's Red Raven, the kid with the Sentinel and Darkhawk. "Darkhawk, really?" asks Nico. Cammie admits that she is surprised too but he skipped a meet and has been missing for days. She keeps a pretty good eye out. Chase holds his chest and coughs. He says the guy was pretty legit. Cammi reckons the Sentinel was no slouch either. She tells them she's bad at trust and worse when asking for help, but if it weren't for them she'd be frozen stiff and six feet deep. She can survive almost anything, she explains. It's the one thing she's good at, but, she's a little out of her league here. What would they say to an alliance? She can teach them how to stay alive and they can lend her some firepower?

Meanwile, as they head to quadrant 2, Anachronism asks where they are, really. Did Arcade build all this somehow? Is it magic? Cullen says no offense, but who cares? Dead in a magic hell-hole or dead in a computer game. What's the difference?
Apex asks what the hold up is with those two. Kid Briton reckons they want to have a swim. "Go on!" he cries. "Jump in!" He says they'll wait for them.
Anachronism says he hates Brian. Cullen replies that everyone hates Brian. They hear a rumble beneath then and wonder what's going on. The next second, the bridge beneath them collapses and they fall into the river below followed by several heavy rocks. They scream as they plunge into the water. Anachronism surfaces first and pulls Cullen to the side.
Brian laughs and Apex asks if they're alive. Nara reckons they're fine. Brian reckons they really did fancy a swim after all. Nara reckons it'll save them having to deal with them later. Death Locket thinks for a moment and then blasts Nara in the back. She follows the others into the water below. "Nara!" screams Brian.
Elsewhere Hazmat and X-23 are carrying Reptil's burned body on a stretcher. Laura asks Jenny if she needs another break but she reckons Reptil needs those medical supplies. They'll never make it if they keep stopping. Laura fears they'll never make it if Jenny collapses. They should rest. They put down the stretcher and Hazmat kneels beside him.
She asks him, if it's not too much to ask, if he could wake up now. "All right, I'm up," he replies. Hazmat is startled by his sudden burst into consciousness. He asks her what's for breakfast. She gives him a big hug and tells him that she thought they were going to lose him. She informs him that there is food and medicine out in the desert, but Chase burned him so bad they had to carry him. Reptil asks her to hold up. He tells her that Chase didn't do this. Hazmat replies that she knows it's hard to believe, but the Runaways were playing them. He attacked him while he was asleep. "Hazmat, no," he replies. Laura says that's how it seemed. Humberto assures them that he saw who attacked him. They were in the woods right before the fire. It wasn't Chase, it was that Deathlok girl!

Meanwhile, Brian grabs Death Locket roughly and asks what she did that for. She replies that honestly, she doesn't know. Katy asks her not to sweat it. Everything's fine. Brian turns to her and asks if she's mental! Her pet robot just blasted Nara off a bloody cliff! He summons his energy sword and warns her that she'd better climb down there and make it right before he splits her in half. Katy says no. She reminds him that Nara is Atlantean. She's fallen into a river. She'll swim. The three of them have the best shot of getting to that supply cache. As he said, cutting loose dead weight only helps. She adds that Nara is impulsive and mean-spirited. More to the point, she's fairly useless on dry land. She asks him to look around at all the dirt. Death Locket's made the right choice here. Brian tries to reply but Katy holds his face gently and asks him to listen to her. She let him have his fishy plaything back at school because confidence makes him stronger. Strong is sexy and it was cute to watch him sneak about. However, now they are there, she's done sharing. She turns and heads off, telling them to go win their supper. p> Hardly seems fair, thinks Brian as he watches her leave.

Characters Involved: 

Anachronism, Apex, Cullen Bloodstone, Cammi, Hazmat, Death Locket, Kid Briton, Nico Minoru, Nara, Chase Stein, X-23

in flashback:
Aiden (Anachronism), Apex, Captain Britain, Kid Briton, Meggan, Spitfire, union Jack (all Braddock Academy)

Story Notes: 

DEAD: Mettle Red Raven

The cover is a homage to A Clockwork Orange.

Written By: