Its not too often we get a look at the other side. Sure DC recently had “Penguin Pain and Prejudice” which was (to me) one of the few bright spots in their New 52, and I know Magneto, perhaps a bit more of an anti-hero than straight out villain, gets his fair share at staring in his own comics. Even so, comics that focus on villains tend to be few and far between. More so are comics that focus on the (potential) fall into becoming one. Something that Hopeless has been doing wonderfully through these first six issues.
For those unaware, Avengers Undercover is basically the followup of most the survivors of Avenger’s Arena. Avenger’s Arena, put simply, is basically a Marvel version of Battle Royale or The Hunger Games. Its enjoyable, albeit a little oddly paced at times. A. Undercover however has been amazing to see how most characters (save a few, like X-23 who rejoined the Uncanny X-Men comics) who lived through the Murder World game are faring.
All of them of course are struggling. Well, almost all of them. Exception being Chase who, after Arcade released the videos of his little Murder World, has gone around making himself famous for his part in it. Talk shows, the like. Another, Cullen, was going around uploading videos of his attempts to locate Arcade to presumably kill the man. Things really get moving though when Nico forces Chase to join her and some of the other survivors into tracking down Cullen, who had gone missing.
Inside an area that is basically a city for villains to hang out, the group finds Cullen, and finds Arcade. While it is interesting to see the group confront Arcade, and how that ends up going down, what is more interesting is what happens after. Cullen apparently has been having a good time hanging around with all the villains, and the rest of the group more or less get forced into doing the same. Zoma, Hellstrom, Madame Masque, among others actually show some civility towards the former teen heroes, and it is easy to see that the allure of the life they are living is somewhat tempting to a few of our main characters.
Hopeless and his team have done an amazing job really giving a good idea what the “villains” tend to actually be like. They aren’t just evil for evils sake. Well, maybe some are, but not the ones that are being showcased in A. Undercover. They have lives, they like to take things easy and have fun like everyone else. To many in fact, giving a hand to Zola or someone else every once in a while is more so like a job than anything else. Biggest thing yet though is they all seem rather accepting of each other. Cullen’s main reason for liking it there was for it was the first time he really felt accepted and not treated like a monster. And while Cammi and some others feel they are being played, that things are a little too good to be true, you can still see that some of the characters along with Cullen are falling for it. That they sort of like being able to let loose a little and not being judged for what they were forced to do on Murder World.
So far Avengers Undercover has not been filled with tons of action, but that almost feels a welcomed change of pace to me when most comics are filled with one fight or another. It is not really needed in here though to keep your attention, for Hopeless does a great job in keeping you into the story. Keeping you guessing if they’ll remain heroes, if they’ll join up with the villains, and for that matter making many of the villains in the Marvel universe a little more human and relatable, instead of just evil characters who pop up for the sake of giving Captain America or some other hero a foil to overcome.