The entire Arena/Island is part of a VR computer game created by Arcade for his amusement.
- Arcade is God-modding in #1. People have 'life bars' next to their names which shorten as they take damage. Unless Arcade has somehow pulled the kids into Scott Pilgrim vs. the World it has to be a VR game. Whether that means those who have died are 'Not really dead' and will be back for 'round 2' or were killed in the real world when they died in the game remains to be seen.
- If the VR ran faster than real time, that would help to explain why (per the flash forward in the first issue) the entire rest of the Marvel Universe's heroes can't find the kids for a month (because really, the alternative is that Arcade has outwitted Tony Stark, Hank Pym, Reed Richards, Bruce Banner and all the rest - and while they were working together, at that).
- VR would also explain why Hypothermia appears to not exist.
- Anachronism mentions this possibility, but Bloodstone pints out that it ultimately doesn't matter. Pointing out that they would still be dead just the same. After all, this is Arcade, meaning that if it is a VR, Arcade would make sure it's of the Your Mind Makes It Real variety.
- Jossed. It's a suped up Holodeck. Aracde's 'new suit' makes him "Thor Level" and control the environment with magic, nanites and other Phlobotinum.
Arcade has a client or benefactor with extra-temporal knowledge
- Though Arcade claims that the people were grabbed at random, he had no real way of knowing about Ryker and would have difficulty finding the Runaways, and teleported Cammi directly out of a S.W.O.R.D. facility. This would suggest that the picks are not random, but at least partially precise to remove certain players from the field to prevent or achieve a future event for the client or benefactor behind him. We have no reason to trust anything he said at the beginning either.
- It is also a WMG, and possibly related to the popular VR theory, that Arcade has been hired by to turn one, more or all of the heroes into villains. All of them seem to be able to be nudged down that path. The Runaways are more focused on independence than heroism, Cammi is a space pirate, the BA kids are brats, Deathlocket is a Deathlok, Academy kids were those most likely to be supervillains. Darkhawk is problematic, but has anger issues or might be a sacrifice.
- Half-Jossed. He has a benefactor, Ms. Corriander, but she has no apparent extra temporal knowledge.
- Why would he let anyone live? Is it even possible to leave?
- See above. Arcade has pissed off a lot of people now. This list includes:
- Hank Pym, Tigra and the rest of The Avengers for the Academy kids and Runaways.
- Drax the Destroyer and the other Guardians of the Galaxy for Cammi.
- Cammi was by herself in space and the Guardians have no been keeping tabs on her seeing as how she was surviving as a space pirate. The only ones that know she has gone missing is SWORD.
- S.W.O.R.D. for Cammi.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. for Ryker.
- Captain Britain and MI-13 for the Braddock Kids.
- Wolverine and the X-Men for X-23.
- Namor, the Hulk, Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer for Red Raven.
Slash pairings ftw
- Cammi and Ryker will be the survivors, hooking up over the bodies of the last other teens, the couple Axbro and Bloodstone. Cammi is the most skilled and ruthless, Ryker has Deathlok tech that will be awesome when she learns to use it. They are both the same age and have not been hinted as hetero in Arena. Axbro and Bloodstone are nearly as awesome and Heterosexual Life Partners at the very least.
Arcade is playing with people's brains
- Using subsonic signals, EM Fields and other non-intrusive means to raise stress and heighten aggressive responses in the victims. He said he wouldn't make anyone do anything, but he could be making it far more likely that they'd do such things. It would explain a lot of otherwise out-of-character behavior and everyone's general 'quick to anger' reactions.
Ms. Coriander is Spiral in disguise
- She's using Arcade as a pawn to create a twisted reality show for Mojo.
- She's currently stripped of her post and in Uncanny X-Force, so that is extremely unlikely.
Mojo is behind everything
Excluding Spiral involvment, it's not such a bad idea.