Arcade has always been an interesting foil for superheroes. Usually appearing in the pages of X-books, Arcade had a stint going after other characters in Avengers Arena. Murderworld Avengers feels similar to Arena, but this series allegedly features no super powered individuals. Jim Zub and Ray Fawkes write this issue. Jethro Morales is the penciler with Matt Milla on colors and Cory Petit on letters.
Jim Zub has done some great work for Marvel comics. His work on Thunderbolts alone makes him a fan favorite writer. Having him take on something like Murderworld Avengers seems like a win-win for everyone. What works for this story is that we are introduced to a bunch of no name characters. Zub and Fawkes focus most of the story on Paul Pastor, a young streamer who has gained a decent following. He get an invite from Arcade to make a documentary about Murderworld, which he gleefully accepts. Zub and Fawkes also have a winner take all, survive or die million dollar competition going on at the same time. Things get messy and no one is safe. Another thing Zub and Fawkes establish is that Arcade is a ruthless and formidable villain. It’s almost as if Arcade is similar to Jigsaw from the Saw franchise. Things he says can be misleading and many things are booby trapped. For any regular character in this story, no one can be trusted and nothing is safe. Zub and Fawkes give us a wonderful introductory issue that will leave you questioning what happens next.
The pencils by Jethro Morales do a very good job of portraying all the dangers of murderworld. The number of panels that have exploding duffel bags are effective and help establish danger. Morales makes his money this issue on the number of different facial expressions we see. Arcade alone goes from being sinister, to making a joke, to laughing all on one page. He truly seeks joy in the misery of others, and Morales captures that perfectly. When the “Avengers” show up, Morales allows them to look just different enough to throw off readers initially. Morales has great shading in this issue as well. As Paul tries to escape death, Captain America is by the monkey bars shaded wonderfully. The pencils really bring this concept to life. Morales’ pencils work well with the script and make this issue easy to look at.
The colors are handled by Matt Milla, who always brings his A-game to any book he’s on. Milla uses lighter colors to distinguish when Paul is on his live stream. This makes it easy for the audience to see what is being shown on the web cam and what is happening in realm life. After that, the colors a vibrant. Arcade’s red hair sticks out when he appears on panel. When something explodes, and lots of things explode, Milla uses bright reds and orange to capture the page. As always, Milla has a great showing as colorist. He’s truly one of the best in the business.
The letters are done by Cory Petit. In an issue like this, with lots of action and explosions, sound effects are very important. Petit utilizes that extremely well. As a player gets shot, a big “BLAM” appears above their head. This is perfect placement as well as a great font for the action. As the contestants are attacked by the villains in Murderworld, a contestant fights back. Petit uses a see through “FZAMM” in the middle of the page. This is good placement as well, and it’s see through so the letters don’t block any of the action.
Murderworld Avengers #1 offers readers a good script from Zub and Fawkes with a story that makes us believe no one is safe. The art elegantly brings to life the beautiful chaos that is Murderworld. There may not be a more exciting book on the shelves this week. Avengers Murderworld #1 is available at a comic shop near you!