Arcade (comics)

Arcade (comics)
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 Unknown
Partnerships Miss Locke
Mister Chambers
White Rabbit
Mastermind (Martinique Jason)
Notable aliases Mister A, "Mad Monk", Pinball Wizard, A.R. Cadenski
Abilities Genius intelligence

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

Due to the unique nature of both his mannerisms and deathtraps[citation needed], Arcade became one of the most popular villains in the Marvel Comics universe, and went on to do 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 more superheroes from more franchises than any other Marvel comics villain with the exception of Dr. Doom[citation needed], although he has never once successfully defeated any of them.


Fictional character biography

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] Deadpool and Hercules, and Iron Man and The Thing.

Other would-be victims of Murderworld have included Green Goblin (Phil Urich),[8] Doctor Doom, Northstar,[9] Courtney Ross, Johnny Blaze, and the Micronauts.[10]

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).[11]

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.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

He is responsible for the destruction of Mutant Town, as part of a botched plan to kidnap X-Factor's Rictor. [15] He has since resurfaced, confronting Deadpool and Hercules,[16] Dazzler,[17] Johnny Storm and the Impossible Man.[18] and the Young Allies and Avengers Academy.[19]

Other Impacts

One of his old facilities was used as a headquarters by the superhero team X-Force.[20] 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. [21] Another old Murderworld location was converted into a training room by an incarnation of the New Warriors.[22]

In Agent X #5, it was revealed that Arcade also has some medical skills which he uses to save Agent X's life.[23]

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.[24]

Since then, Arcade has apparently returned to his criminal status, together with Ms. Locke, 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. [25]

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.[26]

Powers and abilities

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.

Arcade's bodyguard and chief enforcer, Miss Locke, is an expert in martial arts and gun combat, while Mr. Chambers has displayed electronic and mechanical skill and is thus in charge of Murderworld's system operations and maintenance. They are also both in joint charge in kidnapping prospective victims.

Other versions

Age of Apocalypse

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.[27]

Age of X

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.[28]

Marvel Adventures

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.[29]

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.[30]

Ultimate Arcade

In the Ultimate 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. 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.[31]

Ultimate Arcade is equipped with various high tech weapons and equipment, given his financial status, and is apparently a skilled hunter and tracker. During his fight on Krakoa, he is seen to employ an automatic rifle, handgun, sonic emitter, and web fluid ("one of my programmers reverse engineered this thing from some polymer he scraped off a wall in Manhattan").

What If?

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 (and even allies) who was slain by the rampaging mutant.[32]

In other media


  • 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 them to be the X-Men, or his friends.

Video games

  • Arcade was one of the main villains in the video game X-Men: Madness in Murderworld.
  • Arcade appears as one of the enemies in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Quinton Flynn. He is a member of Dr. 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, but he was likely captured by S.H.I.E.L.D., died when his Arcade-Bot exploded, or escapes after. 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), 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), 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), Elektra (at the Disco Drop), Luke Cage (before the fight), Captain America (after the fight), and Deadpool (in his simulation disk).
  • Arcade appears as one of the villains in the Nintendo DS version of Spider-Man: Edge of Time.


  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. ^ Green Goblin #10
  9. ^ Northstar #1-4
  10. ^ Micronauts (Vol. 1) #45
  11. ^ Excalibur (Vol. 1) 04-05 (1988)
  12. ^ Marvel Comics Presents (Vol. 1) #31-38
  13. ^ X-Force (Vol. 1) #29-30
  14. ^ Blaze #8
  15. ^ X-Factor (Vol. 2) #29-31
  16. ^ Deadpool Team-Up #899
  17. ^ X-Necrosha: Dazzler
  18. ^ Fantastic Four #580
  19. ^ Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1
  20. ^ X-Force (Vol. 1) #40
  21. ^ X-Men Prime
  22. ^ New Warriors (Vol. 4) #3
  23. ^ Agent X #5
  24. ^ Uncanny X-Men #448-449
  25. ^ Thing (Vol. 2) #1-3
  26. ^ Wolverine/Black Cat: Claws #1-2
  27. ^ X-Universe #1
  28. ^ Age of X one-shot
  29. ^ Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #19
  30. ^ Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #49
  31. ^ Ultimate X-Men #55-56
  32. ^ What If? (Vol. 1) #111

External links

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