Arcade (Marvel Comics)

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Arcade in X-Factor vol. 3 #30. Art by Valentine De Landro
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceMarvel Team-Up vol. 1 #65
(cover date January 1978)
Created byChris Claremont (Writer)
John Byrne (Artist)
In-story information
Team affiliationsCrazy Gang
PartnershipsMiss Locke
Mister Chambers
White Rabbit
Mastermind (Martinique Jason)
Notable aliasesMister A, "Mad Monk," Pinball Wizard, A.R. Cadenski
AbilitiesGenius intelligence
Via technology, energy sources and magic:
Force field generation
Near invulnerability
Motor function control
Matter manipulation
Ability to blow apart anyone with a simple gesture

Arcade is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in 1978's Marvel Team-Up (vol. 1) #65, the creation of writer Chris Claremont and writer/artist John Byrne. The character is a combination of an evil genius and a hitman who carries out his assassinations via various elaborate traps, often referred to as Murderworld.

Arcade's first intended victims were Spider-Man and Captain Britain but since Arcade's Murderworld games always leave the outcome up to chance the duo defeated Arcade and escaped with their lives. Over the years Arcade has targeted a multitude of Marvel heroes, often focusing on the X-Men and associated members of X-Factor, X-Force and Excalibur. In what is considered the "game changer" for Arcade, Avenger Arena,[1] he managed to kidnap 16 super powered teens and forced them to fight each other for survival in his latest version of Murderworld; unlike most Murderworld schemes, this endeavor yielded several casualties.

Arcade has appeared in a number of other Marvel properties outside of comic books, in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon, voiced by Gabe Khouth and in an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, voiced by Eric Bauza. He has also appeared as one of the main villains in a number of video games, including X-Men: Madness in Murderworld, Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Spider-Man: Edge of Time and Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Publication history[edit]

Arcade's first full appearance in Marvel Team-Up #66.

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).[2]

Arcade has regularly been a guest villain in the majority of Marvel comics appearances he has made throughout the years since his introduction. His earliest encounter with the X-Men team occurred in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #122-124. Some time later he would encounter the team again, this time partnered with Dr. Doom in issues #145-147.

Fictional character biography[edit]

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 the present. According to the man himself, he was born into an extremely wealthy family and lived much of his early life, depending on the telling, on a ranch in Texas, or in a mansion in Beverly Hills.[3] At the age of either eighteen or twenty-one, 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.

Arcade became a freelance assassin, traveling across the world, killing people in rather mundane fashions, and amassing even more wealth than he already had. Discovering an aptitude for technology, Arcade designed and built his first Murderworld, a subterranean evil lair disguised as an 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, he would tailor Murderworld to exploit the specific weaknesses of his targets and then watch as they are killed by a 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."[4] 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.

Arcade, from X-Men #122 (June 1979).
Art by John Byrne and Terry Austin.

Since his first attempt to slay the unlikely duo of Spider-Man and Captain Britain,[5] 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,[6] Colossus and Shadowcat,[7] Iceman and Angel,[8] Nightcrawler,[9] Northstar,[10] Meggan,[11] and Dazzler,.[12]

Other would-be victims of Murderworld have included Green Goblin (Phil Urich),[13] Hercules[14] Johnny Blaze,[15] Patsy Walker,[16] Gwenpool,[17] Iron Man and The Thing[18] and the Micronauts.[19]

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 discovers 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 (though she is soon killed by an unrelated villain after her escape).[20]

In another confrontation with Excalibur, Arcade trapped the team in a Murderworld programmed as a Looney Tunes 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.[21]

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.[22]

The battle with Ghost Rider came when Arcade, having taken his show on the road, joins up with Blaze's Quentin Carnival; his Murderworld folded out from the back of a semi. Blaze rampages through the fold-out Murderworld, which he discovers is infested with demonic beings, destroying all the obstacles in his sight and killing what he can. He 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 every way, to replace his now-dead companion.

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.[23]

He is responsible for the destruction of Mutant Town, as part of a botched plan to kidnap X-Factor's Rictor.[24] He later resurfaced, confronting Deadpool and Hercules,[14] Dazzler,[12] Human Torch and the Impossible Man.[25] and the Young Allies and Avengers Academy.[26]

In a shift from his usual modus operandi, Arcade is responsible for the "Avengers Arena." He and a new associate named Miss Coriander abduct 16 teenage superheroes (several with ties to the Avengers, including several members of Avengers Academy) and strand them on a deserted island, re-modified as an elaborate Murderworld location, forcing them to fight to the death.[27][28] The heroes Mettle, Red Raven Kid Briton, Juston Seyfert, Apex, Nara and Reptyl do not survive this Murderworld encounter. (Nico Minoru of the Runaways is also killed, but the powers of her Staff of One resurrect her before the series' end)

Months later, in the pages of Avengers Undercover, Arcade has cashed in on the success of Avengers Arena in the villainous underground nation of Bagalia. Several Murderworld survivors reunite and are convinced by fellow hero Cullen Bloodstone to kill Arcade at the Massacre Casino in revenge for his actions.[29] After a chaotic battle, Hazmat finally kills Arcade by destroying him with a concentrated radiation burst.[30] However, it was later revealed that Arcade was actually alive the entire time, imprisoned in a Masters of Evil cell (by Baron Zemo, with assistance from his now former comrade Ms. Coriander) and that Hazmat had in reality killed a clone made by members of the Masters of Evil; all revealed as an effort to coerce the heroes to turn against the Avengers and to join them.[31] After the Masters of Evil get away on a hijacked Helicarrier, it was shown that they had strapped Arcade to the front of it.[32]

Arcade later encountered Gwenpool at a time when Arcade had trapped members of the MODOK organization and Walrus in his latest Murderworld. With help from Deadpool, Gwenpool rescued the captives and assisted Deadpool in defeating Arcade.[33]

He had most recently moved his enterprises to Las Vegas and was embroiled in his usual games of life & death with Elektra. In addition, he collaborated with Screwball where he gave her the training, equipment, and exclusive streaming rights that she needed.[34] During this encounter he revealed that he'd partnered with Wilson Fisk to eliminate certain heroes "from the board," such as Elektra, Hellcat, Gwenpool, Deadpool and others[35] After Elektra put an end to his Vegas operation, Arcade found his way to Madripoor and encountered Spider-Man and Deadpool.[36]

Arcade's other impacts[edit]

One of his old facilities was used as a headquarters by the superhero team X-Force.[37] They planned to use it as a base for crimefighting and even attended a nearby college out of it. Arcade later destroys the base remotely; X-Force barely escapes with their lives.[38]

Another old Murderworld location was converted into a training room by an incarnation of the New Warriors.[39]

Madripoor Island-ruler Viper had bought one of Arcade's Murderworld facilities and used it to deceive the X-Men, threatening the city of London with nuclear weapons.[40]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Arcade has no superhuman powers but has absolute genius-level 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 Agent X #5, it was revealed that Arcade also has some medical skills which he uses to save Agent X's life.[41]

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.


  • 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. In several appearances he is the driver of a vehicle (disguised as a garbage truck) that would often capture Arcade's victims for transport back to Murderworld.
  • Miss Coriander - Arcade's latest henchwoman, 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. She later betrays Arcade after his supposed death and joined up with Baron Zemo's Masters of Evil.

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.[42]

Age of X[edit]

In the Age of X universe, Arcade (real name Harcourt Teesdale) was the prison governor of the Alcatraz Island mutant prison. He was responsible for making Basilisk kill his brother Havok. Basilisk later escaped and killed Arcade.[43]

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.[44]

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 he is superior to Mr. Fantastic and lures him into 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.[45]

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 schoolmate.[46]

Secret Wars (2015)[edit]

In the Marvel Universe recreated by Doctor Doom, Arcade is the master of ceremonies at the Killiseum, an arena on the outskirts of Doomstadt built to entertain the masses of Battleworld. Here he encountered such heroes as Captain America and the Hulk[47] and Thunderbolt Ross the War Machine.[48] He also oversees the Ghost Racers event, which pits the various individuals possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance (including Carter Slade, Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch, Alejandra Blaze, and Robbie Reyes) against one another in violent races around a booby-trapped track. Thanks to the determined leadership of the unbeaten Reyes, the Ghost Racers would eventually break free of their captivity and kill Arcade.[49]

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 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.[50]

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.[51]

In other media[edit]


  • Arcade appeared in X-Men: Evolution, voiced by Gabe Khouth. This version is reimagined as high school gamer Webber Torque (who calls himself Arcade) and is tricked by Rusty Wilde into believing that the X-Mansion's security console is an elaborate video game, uses it to attack the X-Men which he believes to be game characters. Despite nearly killing the X-Men, he 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 cartoon series, voiced by Eric Bauza. This version is an Asian mutant who can communicate with any type of technology, and is willing to use his abilities to lure superheroes to Murderworld (referred to as Madland) for his own childish amusement, regardless of his action's possible consequences. In the episode "Game Over", he plans to cause World War III by cracking nuclear missiles codes. He starts 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. Spider-Man and Captain America bail out to fight off Arcade's drones. Upon meeting up with Wolverine after Life Model Decoys as ninjas are defeated, Arcade then unleashes Life Model Decoys of Spider-Man, Captain America and Wolverine. After the three Life Model Decoys are defeated, Arcade unleashes LMDs modeled after the Hulk. Captain America and Wolverine defeat the LMDs of Hulk while Spider-Man destroys an array of lasers. When escaping to the next level upon evading the LMDs of Red Hulk, Arcade unleashes a Sentinel and other robots. After Spider-Man reprograms the Sentinel to take out the other robots, 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. Spider-Man, Captain America and Wolverine then confront Arcade as Wolverine threatens him to cancel the codes. Arcade is then arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

Video games[edit]

  • Arcade was one of the main villains in X-Men: Madness in Murderworld.
  • Arcade appeared as the main villain in the 1992 video game Spider-Man/X-Men: Arcade's Revenge.
  • Arcade appears as a boss in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Quinton Flynn. This version 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, the player 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 using the normal Murderworld traps, Arcade also hires Shocker and Rhino to fight for him, uses mind control on Jean Grey to force her to attack the heroes, captures Blade and Senator Robert Kelly inside traps who are eventually freed by the heroes, and finally fights the heroes himself in a giant robot called his 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 his defeat. 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 is probably Deadpool's taunting rather than an actual lack of understanding, but his borderline insanity makes this uncertain) and forces him to fight Dark Spider-Man (who Arcade referred to as his creation). He is also the villain in Black Panther's disc, where Arcade uses Murderworld to threaten him into giving him the secret codes to Wakanda's vibranium facility and having him face 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). He also has a special dialogue with Magneto at the Disco Drop in Murderworld's Funhouse, which was never used in gameplay.
  • 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.[52] He controls a cyber-arena game in the year 2099, called Murder Galaxy, 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.
  • Arcade appears as one of the main villains in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance. He is featured in the 15th Spec-Ops that is loosely based on Avengers Arena.


  1. ^ "Dennis Hopeless Enters Brutal AVENGERS ARENA". Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update #1
  4. ^ Uncanny X-Men #124
  5. ^ Marvel Team-Up vol.1 #65-66
  6. ^ Wolverine/Gambit: Victims #1-4
  7. ^ Uncanny X-Men vol.1 #197
  8. ^ Marvel Fanfare (Vol. 1) #50
  9. ^ Uncanny X-Men #204
  10. ^ Northstar #1-4
  11. ^ Colossus#1
  12. ^ a b X-Necrosha: Dazzler
  13. ^ Green Goblin #10
  14. ^ a b Deadpool Team-Up #899
  15. ^ a b Blaze #8
  16. ^ Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! #6
  17. ^ The Unbelievable Gwenpool #12-13
  18. ^ The Thing #1-3
  19. ^ Micronauts vol.1 #45
  20. ^ Excalibur vol.1 #4-5
  21. ^ Marvel Comics Presents (Vol. 1) #31-38
  22. ^ X-Force vol.1 #29-30
  23. ^ Wolverine/Black Cat: Claws #1-2
  24. ^ X-Factor vol.2 #29-31
  25. ^ Fantastic Four #580
  26. ^ Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1
  27. ^ Sunu, Steve (13 September 2012). "Hopeless and Walker Populate "Avengers Arena" For Marvel NOW!". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  28. ^ Avengers Arena #1-18
  29. ^ Avengers Undercover #2
  30. ^ Avengers Undercover #3
  31. ^ Avengers Undercover #7
  32. ^ Avengers Undercover #10
  33. ^ Unbelievable Gwenpool #12-13
  34. ^ Elektra vol.4 #1-5
  35. ^ Elektra vol.4 #5
  36. ^ Spider-Man/Deadpool #21-22
  37. ^ X-Force (Vol. 1) #40
  38. ^ X-Men Prime
  39. ^ New Warriors vol.4 #3
  40. ^ Uncanny X-Men #448-449
  41. ^ Agent X #5
  42. ^ X-Universe #1
  43. ^ Age of X one-shot
  44. ^ Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #3
  45. ^ Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #19
  46. ^ Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #49
  47. ^ Planet Hulk #1
  48. ^ Battleworld #2
  49. ^ Ghost Racers #1-4
  50. ^ Ultimate X-Men #55-56
  51. ^ What If? (Vol. 1) #111
  52. ^ "Spider-Man: Edge of Time Available Now". October 3, 2011.

External links[edit]