Can they go back to how things were? Or will they go native?
A stand-alone story following the events of Avengers Arena. The survivors of Murder World are broken and came out the other side much different than they went in. Those psychological scars from the "Arena" weigh heavily on all of the kids and they don't fit so well into their old lives. They no longer feel like they belong and they're all looking for a way to get back what they've lost. All of this leads several of the surviving characters down the path of infiltrating Bagalia, a supervillain underground nation, and the Masters of Evil, in hopes of getting their superhero lives back...only to find that maybe they fit in better with the villains.Note: The mere existence of this series spoils the outcome of Avengers Arena. If you have not read Avengers Arena, please read that first before reading the trope page as those spoilers will be unmarked.
This book contains the following tropes:
Arrested for Heroism: Subverted. While many people probably wouldn't blame the kids for going to Bagalia for getting revenge, it didn't look good with S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention Hazmat delivering the killing blow to Arcade.
Appeal to Inherent Nature: Baron Zemo makes this appeal after busting the kids from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s containment facility, telling the kids that with their powers that they shouldn't be expected to lay their lives on the line for regular humans.
Bad Powers, Good People: Several of the characters have their powers rooted here, from Nico's magic to Cullen's soul-beast. It's the reason that Cullen decides to stay in Bagalia by stating he was always going to be a villain.(Assuming he's not being controlled/manipulated by Damien Hellstrome as implied by the end of issue 1/the cover of issue 2)
The Big Damn Kiss: A semi-villanous example between Nico and the resurrected Alex, as it symbolyzes Nico's choice of "doing the stupid, wrong thing"
Bittersweet Ending: The ending is a lot more happier than Arena's ending, but with a couple of downbeat notes. Deathlocket completes her Face-Heel Turn and joins the Masters of Evil, and Baron Zemo escapes S.H.I.E.L.D.'s clutches. However the kids are all now recognized as heroes and are off the hook for their actions in Bagalia and spend their time acting like teenagers. Cammi gets her own Esoteric Happy Ending; she leaves her loving mother behind but heads for space where she can be herself. And Arcade falls back down the ladder to being a joke villain.
Broken Bird: Every female character. Cammi is affected the least, but Nico has shut her friends out, Hazmat nearly irradiated a group of kids in anger, and Deathlocket is morning her first love, Tim.
Celebrity Is Overrated: The kids have become celebrities of sorts in light of everything, but none of them exactly like it. Chase is the only one who actively embraces his celebrity status and its stated that may be his way of coping.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: The kids didn't want to be pitied after everything they went through. That's half the reason they take on the assignment.
Face-Heel Turn: Deathlocket, who completes her arc from being a sweet teenager to joining the Masters of Evil.
First Law of Resurrection: Cammi's alcoholic mother was killed off in the Drax mini-series Cammi debuted in, but she's brought back in this series and she cites what Cammi has been through helped her into sobriety.
Freaky Is Cool: The gang finds out first hand that the villains of Bagalia are far more accepting of them than the outside world and the heroic community has been. However, the most notable is Excavator, a one-time villain from the Runaways series, who immediately starts crushing on Deathlocket, and even stands up for her when some freaky mad-scientist starts perving out over her Deathlock implants. This comes after she and the rest of the group give Excavator and his crew a sound thrashing upon their landing in Bagalia.
Freak Out: Cullen, who has changed the most. He's been hunting Arcade every since Murderworld, and freaks out badly when he destroys Arcade's last known mansion — and Arcade isn't there.
Freakiness Shame: The reason why Cullen didn't like the surface world, between his powers and sexuality being less accepted.
Genre Savvy: A number of examples, particullary Cammi, Anachronism and Hazmat.
Going Native: Cullen went to Bagalia to kill Arcade. He loves it there so much he decides to stay full time. Assuming he's not being manipulated/controlled by Damian Hellstrom as implied by the end of issue 1/the cover of issue 2
Also, the last story arc of the series is called this. Death Locket has embraced it.
The Infiltration: Averted. The events of Murder World have been broadcasted so the team are too renowned to go incognito. However, some of the team decide to pretend to join up with the Masters of Evil in order to bring them down from the inside when offered a seat at the table.
Ironic Echo: Right before Hazmat kills Arcade, she utters the same phrases Arcade used in Avengers Arena #1 when he killed Mettle.
Karmic Death: Arcade is killed by Hazmat in the same manner he killed Mettle.
Until the seventh issue revealed he's not dead, but Zemo's prisoner alongside Cammi.
Second Love: Hazmat and Anachronism are this for each other, after losing their first loves Mettle and Nara respectively.
Time Skip: The story takes place a few months after Avengers Arena. There's another jump by three months afterwards.
Token Evil Teammate: Cullen, who wants revenge on Arcade more than anything. He becomes more accustomed to Bagalia and being a villain. Death Locket later on.
Token Good Teammate: Cammi, who now has her mom to worry about and tries to snap the other kids out from drinking the kool-aid.
Villain Takes an Interest: No sooner than the group lands in Bagalia does Constrictor, Madame Masque, and Damian "Son of Satan" Hellstrom, all take an interest in them. They're using them as bait for the heroes.
What the Hell, Hero?: Hank Pym believes that Maria Hill and Captain America are downright abandoning the kids to their luck by not intervening Bagalia, despite the latter pointing out that they would be invading a sovereign nation.
Wretched Hive: Bagalia, home to several supervillains, most notably Baron Zemo.
Wolverine Publicity: Much like in Arena, the Avengers named is slapped on despite there being one heroic character being affiliated with the Avengers (and she comes from Avengers Academy.) At least the villains are classic Avengers villains.