See how Marvel's number one deathtrap builder got his start!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Arcade resurfaced this week in the pages of SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21 by Elliott Kalan and Todd Nauk looking to test his brand new Murderworld on the title characters! This, of course, fits right in with his history of putting the Wall-Crawler through a series of deathtraps going back to his first appearance in 1978’s MARVEL TEAM-UP #65 and 66.

Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Arcade made his first appearance right after the Dean introduced Peter Parker to his new roommate, Brian Braddock, otherwise known as Captain Britain! 

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #65

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #65

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Back in England, representatives of the Commission inquired about hiring Arcade, a master assassin, to kill Braddock because they think he might be Captain Britain.

Meanwhile, in NYC, thanks to a misunderstanding, Braddock assumed that Spider-Man had done something shady to Peter Parker’s apartment, turned into Captain Britain and gave chase. After the requisite fight and origin swap, the heroes made friends just in time for a tricked-out trash truck to trap them both!

In the following issue, Spidey and Cap found out why Arcade charged so much for his hits. Instead of simply killing his targets, the murderer put them inside incredibly complex death traps. In this case, they awoke inside large clear balls that turned out to be part of an enormous, murderous pinball machine. 

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

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The implements of death proved more outlandish and dangerous from there. The heroes figured out how to work together in order to eventually escape Murder World, and also save Braddock’s girlfriend Courtney Ross, destroying what Arcade built in the process. Surprisingly, undeterred by the fact that his quarry escaped and that the people who hired him died, Arcade jauntily moved on to his next project.

Over the years, Arcade’s plied his wicked wares on everyone from various X-Men and The Thing to Hellcat. Luckily, he always leaves a small chance of escape to keep things fair, so our heroes tend to walk away relatively unscathed.

Flash Forward

One group of heroes who did not walk unharmed starred in the book AVENGERS ARENA. In that 18 issue series by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker, the bow tie-loving villain had 16 young heroes captured and brought to an elaborate island version of Murderworld. The captured young men and women – including X-23, Chase and Nico from RUNAWAYS and AVENGERS ACADEMY alums Hazmat and Mettle – found themselves dealing with a very serious version of Arcade, not averse to killing kids or releasing the footage he recorded of the event to the public in an effort to expose their actions to the world. Some of the survivors decided to go after their enemy once and for all in the follow-up series AVENGERS UNDERCOVER.

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Elliott Kalan opens up about Arcade’s latest deathtrap!

Some super villains like to take their opponents out with simple means: a gun, a knife, maybe even a bomb. But that’s not Arcade’s style. This baddie creates Murderworlds—death-themed carnivals of carnage. And on September 6, SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21 will see the Webslinger and the Merc with a Mouth thrown headfirst into the master assassins’ bloody circus.

So, what kind of maniacal machinations will our heroes face in this Murderworld? We sat down with writer Elliott Kalan to find out.

Marvel.com: Murderworld is one of the most terrifying concepts ever. What inspired Arcade to create it?

Elliott Kalan: Arcade has three great loves in his life: showmanship, gamesmanship, and, of course, murder. It was only natural that he’d combine those things into an enormous deathtrap amusement park, which he consistently rebuilds and reopens despite the enormous cost involved and the almost inevitable likelihood that a super hero will destroy it. As for what was going on in his mind when he came up with it…probably calliope music?

Marvel.com: What goes into creating a Murderworld? It seems like it would require a fair amount of planning in advance.

Elliott Kalan: The most fun in writing Arcade was figuring out how this version of Murderworld would work, so I have to assume that’s where the real fun of it is for him, too. If he’s anything like me, then he starts with a theme—in this case, Madripoor—and factors in the people he’s going to be trapping—in this case, Spider-Man and Deadpool—and then thinks of increasingly complicated things that can be thrown in their path. It’s an incredibly complicated way to kill someone, but Arcade enjoys the game aspect of it more than the actual killing. He wants the chance to compete with his victims, not just take them out right away. He’s like a cat toying with a mouse. A cat who has an unlimited supply of money and robots.

The real question I have is: does he build it all himself or does he hire contractors and make them sign NDAs and everything?

Marvel.com: We all know Deadpool and Spidey for their senses of humor. So in a weird way, they might have an appreciation for Murderworld, especially Wade…

Elliott Kalan: Deadpool definitely has a certain admiration for Murderworld because it combines fun and danger in a way he can really get into. Spider-Man likes his humor without the violence. Something I hope I was able to get across in this story is each character’s moral limits when it comes to the “fun” of violence. Spider-Man is a true hero—violence is only a means toward righting a wrong and humor is how he makes it palatable for himself. Deadpool gets a certain joy from violence, but he doesn’t like to see innocent people hurt and he recognizes that sometimes enough is enough. Arcade is a madman who essentially sees the world as his toy box; Spidey and Deady aren’t so cool with that.

Spider-Man/Deadpool #21 cover by Will Robson

Marvel.com: Sowhile he does enjoy it a littleWade also thinks that Murderworld casts violence in the wrong light…

Elliott Kalan: Sometimes it can be hard for Wade to remember that violence isn’t fun for other people. He can regenerate pretty much any body part and it’s nearly impossible to kill him—he can sometimes forget that isn’t the way other people live their lives. Though ever since he became a family man, he’s had a better understanding of this. The younger Deadpool would have loved the idea of a place like Murderworld—but the older, more mature Deadpool has mixed feelings toward it. It’s almost like he’s okay with violence as long as everyone involved is a responsible adult with super powers, or at the very least, is obnoxious enough that he thinks the world would be better off without them.

Marvel.com: The Murderworld’s mainframe has demonstrated sentience in the past. Will we see more of that?

Elliott Kalan: Not in this one, but we’ve got plenty of other crazy things going on in the story. Basically, you might know where page one will start—they’re trapped in Murderworld!—and where the last page will end—they escaped Murderworld!—but I guarantee you’ll never guess the stuff that happens in between.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease anything else?

Elliott Kalan: This story also sees the introduction of a bold, exciting new character to the Marvel Universe: The Stinger! But he may not make it out of this story alive. So…I guess don’t expect to see him in any of the movies.

Dive into the murderous mayhem with SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21, by writer Elliott Kalan and artist Todd Nauck, on September 6!

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As the Master of Murderworld sets his sights on Gwenpool, we give details on the sadistic showman!

In UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #12 on February 15, our heroine comes face to face with someone as crazy as her: the villainous Arcade and his deadly amusement park, Murderworld!

No doubt Arcade will have his hands full with Gwenpool, but before he faces off with one of his most outlandish challenges ever, take a look back at some of the prior highlights from a colorful career…

Secret origin?
According to Arcade himself—so consider the source—the villain came from a wealthy family, possibly from Beverly Hills. When his dad cut off his allowance, Arcade killed him so he could claim his inheritance. He then became the “world’s greatest hitman,” but grew bored with simply killing people in a normal fashion. So he came up with the idea for Murderworld instead.

With the help of Miss Locke and Mr. Chamber, Arcade would accept contracts to kill people, then kidnap them and lock them up in Murderworld, where they would have to fight their way out or die trying. Arcade always gives a sporting chance, even as his robotic deathtraps attempt to dismember his would-be victims in creative ways.

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #66

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A lovely place to die
Arcade’s amusement park of death debuted in the late 1970’s in the pages of MARVEL TEAM-UP #66, as the man dressed as a sideshow barker introduced Captain Britain and Spider-Man to the joys of Murderworld—“joys” like trapping them inside giant spheres while he played pinball with their lives. The two heroes proved more than a match for the crazed gamesman, who, no matter the outcome, always seems to enjoy himself as he watches the heroes compete against his deadly traps.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #122

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #122

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X marks the spot
Following his debut, Arcade began a long rivalry with the X-Men, who always had enemies willing to pay for their deaths—like, for instance, Black Tom and The Juggernaut. The team’s first encounter with Murderworld saw several of their friends—including Amanda Sefton and Colleen Wing—held captive while they dealt with Arcade’s deadly devices. Arcade brainwashed Colossus into “The Proletarian,” a Communist sympathizer who set his sights on killing his fellow mutants. The madman also trapped Storm in a small area filling with water, playing on her fear of enclosed spaces, and set Wolverine against robot versions of Magneto and The Hulk. The level of detail and personalization in his traps never failed to impress—even if they don’t always get the desired results Arcade hopes for.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #146

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #146

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Doomed
Through the years, the X-Men always managed to thwart Arcade’s diabolical machines, and in one encounter even attempted to “save” him from Doctor Doom. UNCANNY X-MEN #145-147 features the team’s first encounter with the monarch of Latveria, as Miss Locke blackmails them into a mission to rescue her boss from the dictator. While Doom captures the regular team, Professor X calls in some old friends—a depowered Banshee, as well as Havok, Polaris, and Iceman—who head to Murderworld to rescue several of the X-Men’s loved ones by battling robot hockey players and deadly roller coasters.

On the road
While Arcade had a particular grudge against the X-Men, through the years the businessman would focus his efforts on other heroes as well. When a Ghost Rider-less Johnny Blaze starred in his own solo title in the mid-1990’s, he joined Quentin Carnival—and in BLAZE #8, a new employee signed up as well. The red-haired man with the yellow bowtie decided to take Murderworld on the road, packing his deathtrap into a semi and populating it with demons that Blaze eventually took on. The former Spirit of Vengeance seemingly trapped Arcade in his own trap and left him in the desert, but the villain would of course pop up again to plague other heroes.

Avengers Arena (2012) #1

Avengers Arena (2012) #1

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Avengers Arena
Arcade’s most ambitious project came after a bout of depression and a stint in prison. The sinister showman and his new assistant, Miss Coriander, kidnapped 16 teenage heroes—including X-23, students from the Avengers Academy, members of the Runaways and Darkhawk—and made them fight to the death in a completely new arena. In this enhanced Murderworld, Arcade took a “hands on” approach, as inside his new domain he had all sorts of crazy new powers.

Avengers Undercover (2014) #1

Avengers Undercover (2014) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Avengers Undercover
After battling death traps, turning on each other, and ultimately escaping Avengers Arena, several of Arcade’s victims banded together to hunt him down. They tracked him to Bagalia, an island ruled by criminals, and they went undercover as villains themselves to try and get close to their tormentor. Hazmat apparently killed Arcade early in the series after which Baron Zemo, Madame Masque, and other villains try to convince the teenagers they’d be better off breaking bad. Like many times before, though, Arcade would escape death and pop up again to plague the likes of Hellcat and now Gwenpool.

Sign up for Arcade’s latest Murderworld in UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL, coming February 15!

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Marvel.com reveals our top 25 list of the nastiest bad guys from the past year!

In 2013, the heroes of the Marvel Universe found themselves as ever measured by the threats they faced. Whether evil came from deep space or the urban streets, villains had a big year.

To send last year out with a bang, Marvel.com will be counting down our top 25 villains of 2013, as selected by staffers and freelancers. Got your own thoughts on the matter? We’d love to hear them, so send them our way on Twitter @Marvel, using the hashtag #Marvel2013!

Read part one, part two, part three and part four and check out the list so far…

25. CASSANDRA NOVA
24. NUKE
23. CORVUS GLAIVE

22. CAROLINE LE FEY
21. DIMITRIOS

20. SABRETOOTH
19. DOCTOR DOOM

17. MAGNITRON
KANG

15. APEX
451

14. SHOCKER
12. MYSTIQUE

THE RED SKULL
11. GALACTUS

10. MOTHER
8. ULTRON

MALEKITH
7. BULLSEYE

6. ARNIM ZOLA
5. IKARI

Thanos by Jim Cheung

Thanos by Jim Cheung

4. THANOS
First Appearance:
IRON MAN (1968) #55
Where He Appeared in 2013:
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, INFINITY, NEW AVENGERS, THANOS RISING
Why He’s #4:
“The vile and opportunistic despot at the center of Infinity, Thanos asserted himself as a far greater threat than ever before. In a bid to find and murder an illegitimate son hidden on Earth, he launched a large-scale assault on the planet in the absence of many Avengers. His cruel lieutenants preyed upon existing hostilities between nations like Atlantis and Wakanda, even ferreted themselves away in the mind of Doctor Strange. Thanos himself decimated the Inhuman capital of Atillan, sparking the worldwide Terrigenesis process which now consumes global, even intergalactic, concerns. The Mad Titan may have failed in his murderous campaign, now isolated in a limbo dimension, but those efforts continue to blight the universe.” – Paul Montgomery
Digital Comic Spotlight:
THANOS RISING #1 


Boomerang by Steve Lieber

Boomerang by Steve Lieber

3. BOOMERANG
First Appearance: TALES TO ASTONISH #81
Where He Appeared in 2013:
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN, SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN
Why He’s #3:
“You don’t have to be a good villain to be a great villain. Sure, perennial D-List baddie Boomerang’s plans never went according to plan. Yes, he always remained just a half step ahead of the other four members of his Sinister Six—and no, the math doesn’t add up there. And okay, he’s definitely bitten off more than he can chew by getting in the way of big underworld heavies like Chameleon, the Owl and Tombstone. But who cares? This former major league pitcher turned Spider-Man-punching-bag has big schemes in mind for 2014, and he’s not about to let his own incompetence get in the way of his over confidence!” – Brett White
Digital Comic Spotlight:
SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #1 


Arcade by Kev Walker

Arcade by Kev Walker

2. ARCADE
First Appearance:
MARVEL TEAM-UP #65
Where He Appeared in 2013:
AVENGERS ARENA
Why He’s #2:
“Despite decades of trapping super heroes in elaborate deathtraps, Arcade evoked little more than a chuckle and sigh of recognition when 2013 started. Then, after conjuring up a Shaun White makeover and some Sam Rockwell swagger, Arcade made a name for himself by kidnapping 16 super-powered teenagers and pitting them against each other in his new Murderworld. Few super villains stoop to killing kids, and even fewer still stoop to forcing teens to kill teens, but Arcade did just that as he moonwalked past pretty much every other villain in the Marvel Universe to become reigning champ of the most reviled. Even after his plans crumbled and the survivors made their way off the violent island, Arcade still got the last laugh by uploading the frenzy to the Internet, striking the killing blow against the reputations of those that escaped.” – Brett White
Digital Comic Spotlight:
AVENGERS ARENA #7 


Gorr vs. Thor by Esad Ribic

Gorr vs. Thor by Esad Ribic

1. GORR
First Appearance: THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #1
Where He Appeared in 2013:
THOR: GOD OF THUNDER
Why He’s #1:
“Wronged by the unfeeling gods he hoped might protect his family, Gorr embarked on a genocidal rampage through the cosmos, rendering heavenly kingdoms into unholy abattoirs. He plucked hope from countless children, felling the very gods to which they prayed. An aggressively agnostic killer of entire alien pantheons, the God Butcher led Thor on a chase through time. He tortured the youthful Thunder God in an earthly warren before his spree caught the Odinson’s attention in the modern day. Fleeing to the ends of time, Gorr and his Black Berserkers laid waste to Asgard. He enslaved its hosts to build his bomb, crucifying the strongest on hillsides. He robbed Volstagg of his voluminous-ness, if not his will. He came very close to killing three Thors at his final stand.

“The Marvel Universe knows true evil beyond its common thugs and cackling scientists, but Gorr’s pain made him more than memorable. The grand ambition and sheer scope of his revenge plot ensured his mythic status, but the depth of his torment, the starkness of his hurt, elevated him to a place of very human tragedy.” – Paul Montgomery
Digital Comic Spotlight:
THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #6 

Share your thoughts on Twitter with us @Marvel using the hashtag #Marvel2013!

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Join the latest Spec Op for the hit Facebook game to win Nico Minoru & Moonstone for your team!

“Marvel: Avengers Alliance,” the hit Facebook game, has launched its latest Spec Op, and this time the villainous Arcade as stolen the show!

Nico Minoru character model from Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Nico Minoru character model from Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Arcade has used powerful nanotech to turn half of New York into his own private playground…and we’re his toys! He’s arranged a game of heroes versus former villains, and your Agent will have to choose which side to join in this all-new split Spec Op!

Complete the Spec Op to unlock the Runaway Nico Minoru as the latest addition to your team, plus face off against Arcade as the all-new group boss and collect Psycho Lockboxes to unlock Moonstone for your roster!

Join the millions of social gamers and Marvel fans who have already joined S.H.I.E.L.D. by playing “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” at: http://www.facebook.com/avengersalliance. The game is one of the top rated games in Facebook’s App Center. Fans can also play “Marvel: Avengers Alliance” at www.playdom.com.

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