This title continues to be excellent each and every issue, and as we head towards the endgame, things are really getting crazy. In fact, this issue brings us back to the very first scene of the very first issue, with Hazmat being chased through the woods by a crazed X-23.
I love the way Dennis Hopeless has brought in X-23’s ‘trigger scent’ here, as Arcade fills the entire arena with it, virtually guaranteeing that X-23 will be constantly in murder-death-kill-mode. X-23 is the most famous character in this book, and therefore most people’s favourite to actually win and survive, and that’s looking pretty likely right now. I found it interesting that Hopeless didn’t revisit the original scene where Hazmat exploded, that either means she isn’t actually dead, or that he just didn’t want to waste time.
The character who’s the main focus of this issue is Cullen Bloodstone, and it’s a welcome spotlight, he’s been a very interesting character floating around in the background, and now we find out what his deal is. Basically, his dad left him in a fucked-up alternate dimension and now when he takes his ring off he turns into a massive monster. It’s pretty crazy, and that final page was a real doozy. Plus, we got some guest-appearances from both Ulysses and Ellie Bloodstone, which is always fun.
Kev Walker returns on art this issue, and he does his usual superb work, the characters in this title have so much personality, especially from the facial expressions. I should also praise the awesome Mike Deodato cover, which pays homage to the classic Frank Miller Wolverine cover.
This title has always been great, and it’s by far the best teen Avengers title Marvel are putting out, and as I said, now that we are nearing the finale, this book is only going to get better, secrets are out on the table, X-23 is in a rage, Hazmat is probably dead, Reptil is missing, shit is about to go down!