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Comic Book / Avengers Undercover

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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.

The series lasted for 10 issues (May - November, 2014).

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.

Avengers Undercover provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Back from the Dead: Alex Wilder, the first leader of the Runaways is resurrected in issue #5 to meet Nico. Unfortunately for him, he had to sign a contract to get out of Hell and is now part of the Young Masters, led by the Masters of Evil.
  • 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 Daimon Hellstrom 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 symbolizes Nico's choice of "doing the stupid, wrong thing".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending is a lot happier than Arena's ending, but with a couple of downbeat notes. Death Locket 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.
  • Break the Haughty: Arcade gets taken down a peg from Arena. Baron Zemo and his lieutenants, it turns out, aren't very amused by him torturing children... and then said children encounter him while his artificial superpowers are turned off.
  • 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 Death Locket is mourning her first love, Tim.
  • Butt-Monkey: Arcade in the final issue.
  • The Cameo: After the kids are taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, a number of characters show up to berate/bail them out; namely Molly, Karolina and Victor, Elsa Bloodstone, and Striker and Finesse.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As seen in issue #3, Zemo is not impressed at all with Arcade's antics.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Death Locket, 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.
  • Freakiness Shame: The reason why Cullen didn't like the surface world, between his powers and sexuality being less accepted.
  • 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.
  • 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 Death Locket, 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.
  • 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 Daimon 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 Handler: Averted. The kids came up with the plan themselves so there is no Handler or Mission Control.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Death Locket, Anachronism, and Hazmat.
  • Heroic BSoD: Each character is dealing with the after effects of Murderworld in different ways, with Cullen going off the deep end.
    • In issue 3, after seeing Arcade, Hazmat goes into a catatonic state and isn't awakened until she kills Arcade.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The very plan Arcade had to get him respect well, doesn't get him respect. Baron Zemo is less impressed, but more impressed with his sidekick's design of the arena. From there, Arcade is thrown in prison and reduced back to his original minor villain status.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Carrying over from Arena. Cullen is gay and is in love with Anachronism, who is straight. This was exposed due to the events of Arena which drove Cullen off the deep end and very willing to join the dark side. Aiden confessing that he loves Cullen just as a friend, later with snapping him out of crazed state brings him back to Earth.
  • 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.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: In Arena, Arcade won and pretty much destroyed the kids as people. However, turns out Zemo finds nothing impressive about forcing teen heroes to kill each other and states the only thing of value Arcade can bring to the Masters of Evil is the technology behind Murderworld... which wasn't Arcade, but rather Miss Coriander. Then things get even worse for Arcade when the kids find him and give him a well-deserved beatdown.
  • 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.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: This series spoils the fact that Cammi, Hazmat, Cullen, Death Locket, Anachronsim, Nico and Chase survive the events of Avengers Arena.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: After Arcade is cornered, all the kids beat him to a bloody pulp for what he did to them.
  • Opt Out: Cammi rejects Zemo's offer to go back and look over her mother. Constrictor captures her before she can get away.
  • Pair the Spares: Hazmat and Anachronism, both of whom lost loved ones in Arena.
  • Pleasure Island: Part of the appeal of Bagalia. Baron Zemo challenges the "power=responsibility" bit, so young people with superpowers who don't feel like joining the Avengers are drawn to it. Of course, Zemo winds up manipulating them for his own ends anyway.
  • President Evil: Baron Zemo is the legitimate ruler of Bagalia, and the Avengers can't touch him.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Seemingly the events of the previous series set up Cullen's. Death Locket as well.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Arcade laments his situation in #3. He can't outdo what in did in Arena, not to mention he's hunted by superheroes outside of Bagalia. #10 reveals he fully demanded respect he thought he earned with Murder World, only Zemo and the others chose to reward Corriander for putting the setting together in the first place.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: For everything Arcade has done, Cullen wants his head and has chased him all the way to Bagalia.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Cullen's Room.
  • Second Love: Hazmat and Anachronism are this for each other, after losing their first loves Mettle and Nara respectively.
  • Sex with the Ex: Feeling guilty about Chase's comatose state, Nico and Alex rekindle their relationship and have sex. In Issue 8 it's revealed Nico and Alex are living in an apartment together and have been for three months. Nico and Alex appear half-naked, and their relationship is implied to be very... physical.
  • 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 Reveals the Secret: Baron Zemo hijacks S.H.I.E.L.D.'s communications apparatus to reveal to the world the extent to which the organization is monitoring everyone.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: No sooner than the group lands in Bagalia does Constrictor, Madame Masque, and Daimon "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.