Arena Mode and Assault or Attrition were the top funded books in the Kickstarter: fiction category. Now the science fiction superhero series comes to its epic conclusion in Blake Northcott‘s Final Empire.

“It’s intimidating to throw your heart and soul into an idea and then release it out of ‘the bubble,’”  says Northcott of her Kickstarter experience. “All your friends and family are going to give you positive feedback, but art isn’t real until it’s been exposed.”

The Arena Mode series by Blake Northcott

“To know there is a small group of people out there who are passionate about the Arena Mode Saga is incredibly gratifying, and very humbling.”

Arena Mode series by Blake Northcott | Matthew Moxon art by Roc Upchurch

Matthew Moxon by Roc Upchurch

The trilogy stars twenty-nine year-old Matthew Moxon who enters the Arena Mode competition with nothing but his incredible I.Q., a fancy suit, and a life threatening brain tumour to protect him against the metahumans vying for millions of dollars in a battle to the death. After his victory, the world exploded with more metahumans going at it, but without the rules and restrictions of the Arena to protect everything around them.

“As the Arena Mode Saga thunders to a conclusion, battle lines will be drawn. Friendships will be torn apart. And as Mox, Peyton, Brynja, and their allies face the most destructive superhuman the world has ever seen, sacrifices will have to be made—and not everyone will survive.”

Northcott is a self-published Toronto-based author, and a contributor at Comic Book Resources, Verily Magazine, and CBS online. Her work has received critical reviews from fans and industry professionals alike. What makes the Arena Mode series unique is that it’s basically a comic told in novel format with Northcott’s words filling in the sequential story art.

Arena Mode by Blake Northcott. Character: Brynja. Art by Natasha Allegri

Brynja by Natasha Allegri

Not that the series doesn’t feature a lot of art. In fact, many well-known artists have contributed their take on Northcott’s characters, including:

  • Steve McNiven (Death of Wolverine)
  • Roc Upchurch (Rat Queens)
  • Derek Laufman (Batman Black & White, Marvel vs. Capcom)
  • David ‘DNA-1’ Nakayama (Marvel Comics cover artist)
  • Joe Corroney (Star Wars, Star Trek)
  • John Broglia (God Complex, Unmasked)
  • Natasha Allegri (Adventure Time, Bee and Puppycat)
  • Thor Mangila (Iron Age Animation, Advent Comics)
  • Comic Book Girl 19 (The Comic Book Girl 19 Show)

Metahumans and Manticores RPG by Blake Northcott

These characters also make appearances in the corresponding tabletop roleplaying game, Metahumans and Manticores. “The series, at least in the first book, plays out almost like a real-life tabletop RPG,” explains Northcott.

“The protagonist Matthew Moxon is thrown into this wild life-or-death situation where there is an entire host of superhumans against him. It’s almost like a video game scenario. So that concept really lends itself to the RPG format where players can embody an existing superhuman, or create one of their own, and do battle inside “The Arena”; in the case of the first book, the battlefield being downtown Manhattan in the year 2041.”

You don’t have to read the novels to play the game, but according to the author, it certainly helps.

“Part of The Arena is knowing the secrets and the quirks of the game, including the weaknesses of the other players. I think someone can really take advantage if they know some of the behind-the-scenes stuff in advance. But there will be scenarios that lie outside of the games from book one, so I think the game master can level the playing field if he wants.”

With the Arena Mode Saga coming to an end and her vs. Reality series already on the shelves, Northcott plans to take a break from superhumans and superheroes for a while. “…I’d like to get into the occult/thriller side of things.…I’ll still be in the science-fiction and fantasy realm, but just with a different flavor.”

In the mean time, the Final Empire Kickstarter is in full swing and has already reached its $15,000 goal.