Arcade (Marvel Comics)

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This article is about the Marvel Comics character. For the underground comix anthology, see Arcade (magazine). For the publisher, see Arcade Comics.
Arcade
Arcade.PNG
Arcade, from X-Men #122 (June 1979).
Art by John Byrne.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Marvel Team-Up, vol. 1, #65
(cover date January 1978)
Created by Chris Claremont
John Byrne
In-story information
Alter ego Webber Torque
Partnerships Miss Locke
Mister Chambers
White Rabbit
Mastermind (Martinique Jason)
Notable aliases Mister A, "Mad Monk," Pinball Wizard, A.R. Cadenski
Abilities Genius intelligence
Via technology, energy sources and magic:
Force field generation
Near invulnerability
Motor function control
Telekinesis
Matter manipulation
Ability to blow apart anyone with a simple gesture

Arcade is a fictional character, a supervillain in the Marvel Comics Universe.

Arcade became one of the more popular villains in the Marvel Comics universe during the 1980s, and did battle with many other superheroes. Although confrontations with him rarely last more than one or two issues (making him more of a "guest villain") he has done battle with numerous superheroes from various corners of the Marvel Universe, although he has never once defeated any of them.

Publication history[edit]

Arcade was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Arcade first appeared in Marvel Team-Up, vol. 1, issue #65 (the same storyline was reprinted shortly thereafter in the black-and-white comic Marvel UK title Super Spider-Man & Captain Britain #248).[1]

Fictional character biography[edit]

A combination of evil genius and hitman, Arcade affects a manner of dress and speech that makes him appear to be a comedic character. This is part of his overall theme, which extends into his preferred method of murder, an underground funhouse of colorful deathtraps, usually decked out in cheery colors and disguised as an amusement park, which he has dubbed "Murderworld."

Arcade's back-story, up to and including his real name, remains largely unknown even to this day. This is mainly the result of his knack for escaping once he has been defeated. According to the man himself, he was born into an extremely wealthy family and lived for much of his early life in, depending on the telling, a ranch in Texas, or a mansion in Beverly Hills.[2] At the age of either eighteen or twenty-one, again depending on the telling, his allowance was cut off by his father, who declared that he did not deserve it. In retaliation, Arcade murders his father, thus inheriting all of the man's vast estate. Given his propensity for deception, this origin story can hardly be taken at face value.

Now independently wealthy and free to do as he pleased, Arcade became a freelance assassin, traveling across the world, killing people in rather mundane fashions, and amassing even more wealth than he already had. He quickly grew bored with doing business as an ordinary hired killer and resolved to find a way to continue his work in a manner more suited to his sensibilities.

Discovering an aptitude for technology, Arcade designed and built his first Murderworld, a subterranean evil lair disguised as a very deadly amusement park. From this base, and with the help of two mysterious assistants named Miss Locke and Mr. Chambers, he reemerged as the world's most expensive hitman. For the price of $1 million (actually a token sum, since Arcade doesn't need the money and, in any case, never turns a profit), he will tailor Murderworld to exploit the specific weaknesses of his target and then watch, with unconcealed glee, as they are killed by the variety of colorful deathtraps strewn throughout the facility.

However, one of his "gimmicks" is that he always deliberately leaves each target a small chance of survival. In one instance, when the girlfriend of one of his captives begged him "If you're going to kill them, at least have the decency to do it quickly, painlessly!" Arcade laughs and replied, "Decency's dull... besides, miss, your way, they're dead and that's that. My way, they've got a chance. Not much of one, but a chance." This sets Arcade notably apart from most other villains who use deathtraps; while most villains believe that their death machines are infallible, Arcade likes to give them a chance on purpose, for the sport of it.

Since his first attempt to slay the unlikely duo of Spider-Man and Captain Britain,[3] Arcade has tangled, at one time or another, with a large number of heroes and teams of heroes.

In addition to battling the X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force and Excalibur as groups, he has attempted to kill many individual members, usually in pairs. Examples of this include Gambit and Wolverine,[4] Colossus and Shadowcat,[5] Iceman and Angel,[6] Nightcrawler and Spider-Man,[7] Colossus and Meggan,[8] Deadpool and Hercules, and Iron Man and The Thing.

Other would-be victims of Murderworld have included Green Goblin (Phil Urich),[9] Doctor Doom, Northstar,[10] Courtney Ross, Johnny Blaze, and the Micronauts.[11]

Courtney Ross is one of the few non-super-powered civilians to escape Arcade's attention alive. She survives for some time due to outwitting multiple opponents (such as the Crazy Gang) and discovering a talent for improvisational comedy. In the end, she is rescued by the superhero team Excalibur. The entire situation gives her a new outlook and appreciation for life (which doesn't last long, as she is soon killed by an unrelated villain).[12]

In another confrontation with Excalibur, Arcade trapped the team in a Murderworld programmed as a Looney Tune parody, called the Loonies. He was revealed to be the "Wizard of Oz" of this world after Excalibur had to go down the yellow brick road.[13]

At one point Arcade entraps the two otherworldly warriors, Adam X and Shatterstar, who team up to survive his plans. Arcade finds himself astonished as the two (mostly Adam) literally kill several of his employees. This causes him to state that the clients will be receiving a refund and the two are not to be dealt with in the future. Shatterstar attempts to kill Arcade, but he only destroys a robotic double.[14]

The battle with Ghost Rider came when Arcade, having taken his show on the road, joins up with Blaze's Quentin Carnival. This particular Murderworld folded out from the back of a semi. As with many people associated with Blaze, Arcade had become deeply entangled with supernatural horrors at this point. Blaze rampages through the fold-out Murderworld, destroying all the obstacles in his sight. Two allies of Blaze, Kody and Princess Python, arrive to assist but are subdued by knock-out gas. It is discovered that this particular Murderworld is infested with demonic beings. Blaze kills what he can, then leaves Arcade trapped in its depths. Arcade's trailer, now more normal-shaped, is driven out into the desert and abandoned.[15]

Prior to a confrontation with Wolverine and Gambit, he murdered his assistant Miss Locke in a fit of rage. During the struggle, she wounded him with a carving knife and scarred much of his face. Over time, Arcade recovered from the physical trauma (presumably through facial surgery, though that has never been confirmed or even addressed in future stories) and even built a series of Miss Locke androids, virtually identical to her in ever way, to replace his now-dead companion.

He is responsible for the destruction of Mutant Town, as part of a botched plan to kidnap X-Factor's Rictor.[16] He has since resurfaced, confronting Deadpool and Hercules,[17] Dazzler,[18] Human Torch and the Impossible Man.[19] and the Young Allies and Avengers Academy.[20]

As part of the Marvel NOW! event, Arcade is the main villain in the pages of Avengers Arena.[21] Arcade has abducted 16 teenage superheroes (consisting of Cammi, Darkhawk, Hazmat, Mettle, Nico Minoru, Reptil, Juston Seyfert and his Sentinel, Chase Stein, X-23 Apex, Nara, Kid Briton, Red Raven III, Ryker, Bloodstone, and Anarchronism) in order to force them to fight for his own amusement as his latest version of Murderworld that is somewhere in Antarctica (which he has full control over the environment). When the teenage superheroes tried to fight him, Arcade demonstrated new abilities where one of them sends Hazmat flying. Arcade then states that he will take out the weakest of the teenage superheroes. Hazmat then attacks Arcade again, but Arcade elects her as the weakest and starts to kill her. To save her life, Mettle sacrifices himself as Arcade apparently kills Mettle. Arcade then declares that the games have begun.[22] After several days had passed, Arcade seemingly shut off the food supply making survival more difficult.[23] Arcade makes the weather conditions hazardous in Murderworld, but notes there are safe zones at the edge of each quadrant for the competitors to rest, as well as food and medicine in Quadrant 2.[24] After X-23 goes feral upon the trigger scene causing her to attack Reptil and Hazmat enough for them to get away, Arcade comments on how his new trigger scent was a success and how amazed he was that X-23 would kill anyone with it on them.[25] Arcade then begins to reflect on the events that led up to him kidnapping the teenage superheroes. Throwing a party at his estate for his birthday, Arcade realized it was made fun of him by the super-villains community and was wounded by his new assistant Miss Coriander after having asked her to try to kill him. He then give his Murder Island to her and flees to his bar called the Hole in the central parts of Bagalia where he was burgled by Constrictor (who was one of the villains who had made fun of Arcade). Arcade defeated him with a giant hammer-like trap and possibly killing him. Arcade decided to create a new project inspired by children's novels. Helped by Miss Coriander, he created a new Murderworld in Antarctica and was provided with powers from cybernetics, magic stuff, Stark Industries tech, and gamma radiation.[26] Arcade had replaced the captive teens with Life Model Decoys to prevent anyone from becoming suspicious of their disappearance.[27] Arcade speaks to his robot about the progress in the teenage heroes' fight against each other. Deathlocket and Apex end up going further into Arcade's lair where they are attacked by Arcade. During the fight, Christopher Powell (who is revealed to still be alive) is awakened when Deathlocket releases him. Christopher then attacks Arcade and manages to knock him out.[28] Apex, Deathlocket and Christopher corner Arcade who ends up teleporting away. When Apex tries to hack Arcade's computers, Arcade talked Apex into letting the game play out in order to position herself as the sole survivor.[29] One week after Murderworld was shut down, Arcade is shown in a bathrobe within one of his safehouses where he has uploaded the footage of the Murderworld fights on YouTube.[30]

Months later in the pages of Avengers Undercover, the survivors gather in Bagalia to find Cullen Bloodstone (who has been tracking Arcade. When Cammi tries to tell the others to leave, Bloodstone instead has Daimon Hellstrom teleport the group to Arcade's latest party at Massacrer Casino so they can kill him.[31] At Massacrer Casino where the teenage heroes have infiltrated, Arcade pits the party guests against each other. The teenage heroes take part on this until they turn their attention towards Arcade. After being stuck in Catatonic Shock, Hazmat finally kills Arcade by blowing him to bits with a concentrated radiation burst as a way to avenge Mettle and those who died in his Murderworld.[32] However, it was revealed that he was actually alive and was imprisoned in a cell next to Cammi.[33]

Arcade's Other Impacts[edit]

One of his old facilities was used as a headquarters by the superhero team X-Force.[34] They planned to base crimefighting and even attendance in a nearby college out of it. Arcade later destroys the base remotely; X-Force barely escapes with their lives.[35] Another old Murderworld location was converted into a training room by an incarnation of the New Warriors.[36]

In Agent X #5, it was revealed that Arcade also has some medical skills which he uses to save Agent X's life.[37]

Madripoor Island-ruler Viper had bought one of Arcade's Murderworld facilities. She uses it to deceive the X-Men, threatening the city of London with nuclear weapons. Though restricted in the use of their powers, they manage to overcome the challenges and save lives.[38]

Since then, Arcade has apparently returned to his criminal status, and had formed Murderland. He captured the Fantastic Four's Thing in it, together with some other costumed individuals, including the likes of Iron Man, Nighthawk, and the Constrictor. He has the Thing battle robot-versions of all of the Hulk's past forms, such as Mr. Fixit and Maestro.[39]

In the three-part miniseries called "Claws", Arcade secretly creates a Kraven the Hunter robot, with the "assistance" of White Rabbit, in an attempt to kill both Wolverine and Black Cat. The two heroes overwhelm Arcade and the White Rabbit and strand them in the dinosaur-filled wilds of the Savage Land.[40]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Arcade has no superhuman powers but is a bona fide genius with knowledge of technology far ahead of conventional science, particularly in the fields of robotics and mechanical and electrical engineering. Usually when he appears to be captured, it turns out to be a robot.

In the "Avengers Arena" series, Arcade easily held back a cadre of 16 high-powered teenage superheroes seemingly without having to resort to mechanical or technological devices of any sort. He displayed the ability to create force fields, proved to be nearly invulnerable to energy blasts without the force field, controlled the motor functions of his 16 captives all at the same time, employed telekinesis, caused nearby matter to form into a throne for him to sit on, and effortlessly blew apart an almost invulnerable mutant with a simple gesture. These abilities though, are the result of technology provided by his henchwoman, Miss Coriander and can only be manifested within the confines of the Antarctica Murderworld.[26]

Associates[edit]

  • Miss Locke - Arcade's bodyguard and chief enforcer, is an expert in martial arts and gun combat. According to a flashback sequence in "Avengers Arena" #7 (2013), he murdered her in cold blood despite her years of faithful service once she, in Arcade's mind, had tried to get "too close" to him by having an emotional and physical relationship.
  • Mr. Chambers - Arcade's henchman who has displayed electronic and mechanical skill and is thus in charge of Murderworld's system operations and maintenance. Chambers has displayed electronic and mechanical skill and is thus in charge of Murderworld.
  • Miss Coriander - Arcade's latest henchman, she claims to be responsible for the vast array of powers that Arcade currently employs in his underground base seen in the "Avengers Arena" storyline. She appears to far surpass even Arcade in terms of knowledge about superhuman powers and how to counter them, and has gifted Arcade with a vastly powerful set of abilities that she has purloined from cutting-edge technology, exotic energy sources, and magical power.

Other versions[edit]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the Age of Apocalypse timeline, Arcade is a member of the Marauders, a heavily armed group of human traitors who work for Apocalypse, alongside Red, Dirigible, and the Owl. He is killed by Gwen Stacy and Clint Barton.[41]

Age of X[edit]

In the Age of X universe, Arcade was the prison governor of the mutant prison. He was responsible for making Basilisk kill his brother Havok. Basilisk later escaped and killed Arcade.[42]

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe[edit]

It is revealed that Arcade has been captured by Deadpool and forced to build deathtraps used to kill various members of the X-Men. He begs Wolverine to save him, horrified by the things Deadpool wants him to build. Wolverine instead kills Arcade for his involvement.[43]

Marvel Adventures[edit]

In this version, Arcade has an actual amusement park in order to entertain the kids; he is skillful in robots and highly arrogant. After Mister Fantastic ruins his robots, he decides to prove to be superior to Mr. Fantastic and lure him into his Murderworld. There, Mr. Fantastic defeats all the traps and turns all the robots against Arcade. Arcade is taken into custody and Mr. Fantastic learns to be more tactful.[44]

Later, Arcade traps high school student Flash Thompson in a new arcade machine and uses the young video gamer as a tester to destroy New York City. Eventually, Spider-Man breaks up Arcade's scheme and saves his fellow schoolmate.[45]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Arcade is portrayed as a taller, fitter gaming prodigy who invented a literal first-person shooter (which in this continuity, is called Murderworld). His sister was killed by Magneto in the bridge explosion in Ultimate War, giving him a hatred of mutants. He is apparently a skilled hunter and tracker, equipped with various high tech weapons and equipment. When the Ultimate Universe version of Longshot is found guilty of murdering a Genoshan politician, he is sentenced to participate in a reality TV show in which he is stranded on an island and hunted by opponents. As Arcade makes his way through the island jungle, he encounters three X-Men trying to save the prisoner. He subdues them and is about to kill Nightcrawler when Longshot knocks him unconscious. He is last seen being tied to a tree by Colossus with some scraps of iron.[46]

What If?[edit]

In a reality where Wolverine was transformed into the Horseman of War by Apocalypse and then killed his maker and ran rampant on the Marvel Universe, Arcade was one of many X-foes who were slain by the rampaging mutant.[47]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • The television series X-Men: Evolution reimagines Arcade (voiced by Gabe Khouth) as a high school gamer named Webber Torque (who calls himself Arcade) who is tricked by a disguised Mystique into believing that the X-Men's mansion security console and Danger Room is an elaborate video game. He uses it to attack the X-Men, who he believes to be game characters. Despite nearly killing the X-Men, this version of Arcade is not evil and apologizes for having played the "video game" without permission. Oddly, he does not recognize any of the X-Men to be his schoolmates.
  • Arcade appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Game Over" voiced by Eric Bauza. This version is an Asian mutant who can communicate with any type of technology, while Murderworld is referred to as "Madland". In this version, Arcade is willing to use his abilities to lure superheroes to Madland for his own childish amusement, regardless of possible consequences of his actions. Arcade plans to crack the codes to nuclear missiles where he plans to cause World War III. He started by sending a Life Model Decoy of Nick Fury which is defeated by Captain America as Arcade speaks through the Life Model Decoy. S.H.I.E.L.D. traces Arcade's transmission to Madripoor as Spider-Man joins up with Captain America to head to Madripoor. Upon the approach to Madripoor, Arcade takes control of Captain America's plane in order to crash them. Spider-Man and Captain America bail out as they fight off Arcade's drones. Upon meeting up with Wolverine after he had defeated some ninja Life Model Decoys, they help him when Wolverine is also hunting for Arcade. Arcade then unleashes Life Model Decoys of Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine which the real ones defeated. Captain America and Wolverine discover that Arcade had stolen some S.H.I.E.L.D. Life Model Decoys. After the three Life Model Decoys are defeated, Arcade unleashes three Life Model Decoys modeled after Hulk. Captain America and Wolverine defeat the Hulk Life Model Decoys while Spider-Man destroys the lasers. When escaping to the next level upon evading the Life Model Decoys of Red Hulk, Arcade unleashes the Sentinels and other robots. Spider-Man reprograms the Sentinel to take out the other robots. Afterwards, Arcade is angered that Spider-Man is in his game which he designed for Captain America and Wolverine. Arcade then unleashes a giant robot that resembles Arcade's head to attack until Spider-Man destroys the laser cannon on its head. Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine then confront Arcade as Wolverine threatens him to cancel the codes. Arcade is then arrested by the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents.

Video games[edit]

  • Arcade appears as one of the enemies in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Quinton Flynn. He is a member of Doctor Doom's Masters of Evil. Here, Arcade and Baron Mordo divert the heroes from their attempt to attack Dr. Doom's castle to rescue the X-Men Nightcrawler and Jean Grey. Mordo uses his magic to disrupt Doctor Strange's Orb of Teleportation and send the heroes to Murderworld instead of Castle Doom. Although the first area is a replica of Castle Doom, players can tell something is wrong by a few minor details (such as the carnival-like music playing, treasure chests with mallets that pop out, skeletons with clown noses, broken pillars revealing striped poles, and portraits of Dr. Doom wearing Arcade-like wigs, even though Arcade appears blond instead of redheaded in his in-game portraits). Besides having the normal Murderworld traps, Arcade also has Shocker and Rhino working for him, uses mind control to force Jean Grey to attack the heroes, captures Blade and Senator Kelly, and finally attacks the heroes himself in a giant robot called the Arcade-Bot. After beating Arcade, he tells the player that Dr. Doom has Nightcrawler, and has taken him to Mephisto's Realm. His fate is unknown after that. Arcade was also the villain on Deadpool's simulator disc, where he is irritated greatly by Deadpool's refusal to accept that Murderworld isn't a normal theme park (although this probably is Deadpool's taunting rather than an actual lack of understanding, Deadpool's borderline insanity makes this uncertain), and forcing the mercenary to fight Dark Spider-Man (who Arcade referred to as his creation). He is also the villain in Black Panther's disc, threatening T'Challa to give the secret codes to Wakanda's vibranium facility (which of course he doesn't tell) and forcing Black Panther to fight Dark Captain America. Storm's disc where she fights Hussar and the versus Mysterio simulator take place in Murderworld as does Mr. Fantastic's in his fight against Bulldozer. Arcade has special dialogue with Mister Fantastic (at the Pinball Machine), and Sabretooth (in via Xbox 360 DLC and Gold Edition), Elektra (at the Disco Drop), Luke Cage (before the fight), Captain America (after the fight), and Deadpool (in his simulation disk).
  • A Marvel 2099 version of Arcade appears as one of the main villains in the Nintendo DS version of Spider-Man: Edge of Time voiced by Jim Cummings.[48] He control a game cyber-arena in the year 2099 to hunt down and destroy heroes in front of a live-audience. He seeks to challenge Spider-Man (who is stranded in the year 2099), but is defeated.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marvel Team-Up #65 bears a cover date of January 1978. During this period, comic books published by Marvel Comics U.S.A. carried a cover date three months in advance of the actual date of publication. This means the actual publication date of Marvel Team-Up #65 was October 1977. The first issue of Super Spider-Man and Captain Britain to feature the Arcade storyline was published in England on November 8, 1977.
  2. ^ All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update #1
  3. ^ Marvel Team-Up (Vol. 1) #65-66
  4. ^ Wolverine/Gambit: Victims #1-4
  5. ^ Uncanny X-Men #197
  6. ^ Marvel Fanfare (Vol. 1) #50
  7. ^ Marvel Team-Up (Vol. 1) #89
  8. ^ Colossus#1
  9. ^ Green Goblin #10
  10. ^ Northstar #1-4
  11. ^ Micronauts (Vol. 1) #45
  12. ^ Excalibur (Vol. 1) 04-05 (1988)
  13. ^ Marvel Comics Presents (Vol. 1) #31-38
  14. ^ X-Force (Vol. 1) #29-30
  15. ^ Blaze #8
  16. ^ X-Factor (Vol. 2) #29-31
  17. ^ Deadpool Team-Up #899
  18. ^ X-Necrosha: Dazzler
  19. ^ Fantastic Four #580
  20. ^ Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1
  21. ^ Sunu, Steve (13 September 2012). "Hopeless and Walker Populate "Avengers Arena" For Marvel NOW!". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  22. ^ Avengers Arena #1
  23. ^ Avengers Arena #4
  24. ^ Avengers Arena #5
  25. ^ Avengers Arena #6
  26. ^ a b Avengers Arena #7
  27. ^ Avengers Arena #13
  28. ^ Avengers Arena #16
  29. ^ Avengers Arena #17
  30. ^ Avengers Arena #18
  31. ^ Avengers Undercover #2
  32. ^ Avengers Undercover #3
  33. ^ Avengers Undercover #7
  34. ^ X-Force (Vol. 1) #40
  35. ^ X-Men Prime
  36. ^ New Warriors (Vol. 4) #3
  37. ^ Agent X #5
  38. ^ Uncanny X-Men #448-449
  39. ^ Thing (Vol. 2) #1-3
  40. ^ Wolverine/Black Cat: Claws #1-2
  41. ^ X-Universe #1
  42. ^ Age of X one-shot
  43. ^ Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #3
  44. ^ Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #19
  45. ^ Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #49
  46. ^ Ultimate X-Men #55-56
  47. ^ What If? (Vol. 1) #111
  48. ^ Posted Oct 3, 2011 7:35 pm (October 3, 2011). "Spider-Man: Edge of Time Available Now". Marvel.com. 

External links[edit]