This is it, the big finale, and I think Hopeless delivers here. This story has always been a finite one, the kids were to be trapped in Murderworld for 30 days, and now Day 30 has come, and it’s time to wrap things up, as well as set up the upcoming sequel, Avengers Undercover.
Surprisingly, the big villain of the series, Arcade, is mostly absent from this issue, as he leaves Katy in charge of the console, and in charge of the destiny of all the other characters. Katy has chosen to kill everyone else off so she can be in control of the narrative once she escapes. Katy sees that there are tons of weapons that Arcade still hasn’t used, and she has all of those at her disposal, which is bad news. Worse news is that, whilst everyone is fighting each other, Hazmat is about to go into meltdown, and nobody’s noticed except for Chase, who is trapped on the beach with broken legs. If they don’t stop this, they’ll all die even without Katy’s intervention.
Luckily, at the last minute, everyone else cottons on, and Reptil grabs Hazmat, swimming out to see, where she can blow up and not harm anyone else, including, surprisingly, Reptil. I originally thought he had died, but we later he see him being fished out of the water with a SHIELD agent giving a ‘thumbs up’, so he’s OK. It’s weird that he could survive a nuclear explosion, but hey, he’s magic. After seeing Hazmat blow up, everyone realises they need to stop fighting, which causes Katy to do unleash all of the other weapons at her disposal, Sand Monsters, evil wasps, claws made of water, all that shit.
It looks like this is the final battle, as all of our heroes are surrounded, but Katy forgot own thing… Deathlocket. Tim has enough power to disable his sister’s control and allow Deathlocket to break free and fight back. In a truly powerful scene, Tim tells Deathlocket that the only way to defeat Katy is to shoot their body whilst he’s in control. Deathlocket initially refuses, but in the end, she shoots the boy she loves in the head. Luckily this is done off-screen, but still, it’s tough to watch. I was surprised that the only death in this issue was the villain, but I think it works out well this way, after all the shit this book gets, it’s worth noting that it’s not really a gleeful slaughtering of teenagers, it has thought behind it.
So, with Katy gone, the island shuts down, and our heroes are left standing. The only question is, what to they say when the heroes come and rescue them? Do they admit to trying (and in some cases succeeding) to kill each other? Their answer is to just keep quiet, to not reveal anything. If they keep schtum, nobody knows that Arcade is no longer a loser, nobody knows what he did, and really, that was what he wanted, to improve his reputation. Fittingly for this vow of silence, the pages that follow, with SHIELD, the headmasters Wolverine, Hank Pym and Captain Britain coming to the rescue are kept silent, apart from a quotation from Sun Tzu, which was very effective.
Oh, I forgot to mention, X-23 is not a part of this pact, she is missing in the woods, I wonder where she’ll turn up? Heh.
In a pretty cool twist, Hopeless shows that this pact of silence may all be for naught, as we see Arcade in a hotel room, uploading videos of what really happened to Youtube and watching a news report condemning the very existence of teen superheroes. It looks like this truth coming out is the spark for Undercover, and I could not be more excited for that book. Hopeless has introduced some great new characters in this title (ironic that a book about a death-match has given more than it’s taken away) and their continuing adventures are a must-read.
This was a satisfying conclusion to a brilliant series. It delivered high drama every issue, great art fom Kev Walker, brilliant character work and true surprises. Look past your tumblr outrage and now that it’s all over, give this book a shot, it’s one of Marvel’s best, and in a medium with too few endings, does actually provide one, albeit, one with room for the future and different kinds of stories.