I’ve been trying to keep it down to one Marvel-based post a week. I swear.
However, lately it seems like Marvel just keeps on giving. Or I keep finding something great. Avengers work by Jonathan Hickman. Hawkeye by Matt Fraction. New trailers, like the extended one for Captain America: The Winter Soldier before Thor: The Dark World. Lego Marvel Super Heroes.
The more of this that comes out, the more I remember that I used to be a big Marvel fan, and am being made one again. Disney’s plan of bringing in new fans by purchasing Marvel (and then Lucas Films…) seems to be a really good idea. Because they’ve snagged me again, anyway. Well played, Marvel.
Marvel for Me
I grew up on Marvel. The animated X-Men show, a subscription to Excalibur, a few print books, detailing events like The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past. Action figures, of a wide variety of the characters.
So I grew up watching Marvel. Reading Marvel. Drawing Marvel. Recreating Marvel. I would recreate the characters, or create my own, using the action figures, or using pen and paper. Or, often, both.
And for all my love of Time Travel, maybe born from Back to the Future or Quantum Leap, the X-Men fueled it – with stories like Days of Future Past and the Age of Apocalypse. My foundation in Science Fiction was really probably a foundation in comic-book sci-fi.
Somewhere in there, I left Marvel behind. Got a little older, got into bigger books like Dune, and past-times like Magic the Gathering. And somewhere in there, we spring forward to today.
I mean, in-between, I caught some of the Marvel movies. Definitely the X-Men films, sometimes to my chagrin, and then Marvel Phase 1. Played a Marvel game or two, like X-Men Legends. But with getting our iPads, and easy access to comics, I began to dive back in to a world I had left behind years before.
Marvel Now (Pun Intended)
And what I found was like finding an old friend. One who had had rough periods while we were apart, maybe, and has some history I don’t really know. But a friend who has matured nicely and by now is doing well for themselves. Big job, corporate. Big money flowing in (from Disney).
My timing was perhaps very good, looking back into comics right as Marvel Now! was getting its feet under it. And mobile really is a fantastic way to get and read comics.
But it’s more than that. With The Avengers, Marvel pulled off something just a little bit ridiculous in the world of movies. And with Days of Future Past next year, it looks like they are set to pull off something similar with a different franchise. News is constantly coming through for these movies, and trailers, and castings and character choices, and it’s really got me excited.
And maybe you are too – maybe some character you’re looking forward to is going to show up in the films. Or maybe twice, if you love Quicksilver.
And you can tell the creators are excited too – maybe shown best in Brian Singer tweeting so many spoilers and photos from Days of Future Past.
But then, there’s more than the comics and the movies, too. For one thing, there’s Agents of SHIELD, a daring move to make a TV show that runs alongside the movies. Another thing that hasn’t really been done before. They’re taking it slow, I suppose hoping to be able to stay on the air for years, and have plenty of time to get us interested and keep us there. By having an aftermath episode after the Thor movie… we know they’re going to tie these things in a lot.
And then we have games, where the Lego Marvel Super Heroes game might be the best Lego game yet. A really enjoyable game, with unique plots, character combinations, and some really faithful treatment for a large number of characters. They did what they won’t be able to do in the movies – or even really the comics – and did a gigantic mashup of characters and teams in this game. They even did Deadpool right – narrator and guide through the secret levels.
And then on mobile, there’s the game I haven’t Rage Quit yet – Avengers Alliance. I did a post about it here, and since then, have played a bit just about every day. At least a little bit to get daily prizes and such. The thing that’s really hooked me and has me challenged and intrigued is the PVP – where you get to pit your team of heroes against another player’s team of heroes. It’s interesting because you still play against the computer – that’s who controls the enemy team – but the setup is from a human mind. I have a really solid setup for when I control it, though it doesn’t do quite as well in the computer’s care.
(If you found this post looking for advice for this game, I should mention I am playing Colossus (as a scrapper) and Phoenix (as a tactician), which seem like the best classes to play. Then have Colossus block everything, and Phoenix blast things, and you’re in decent shape. The number one character I see in PVP is Human Torch, and so having a solid Tactician who can take him out – like Phoenix – is critical. And Colossus is immune to burning, so he’s hard for the Torch to exploit.)
There’s so much going on with Marvel right now that you’d think that would be enough, right? But no, I have been looking at some of the backlog of things I missed during my Marvel hiatus.
For instance, I have picked up Marvel Ultimate Alliance, a game that I somehow missed, from the makers of X-Men Legends, my favorite action RPG (at least, outside of my loyalty to Diablo). Unfortunately, it sounds like they didn’t keep up the licenses with this game – so I can’t get the DLCs to get my hands on Nightcrawler and some of the other characters. Well, unless I pay more like $150 for a hopefully “New” copy with the code inside for the DLC. Instead, I may just have to work hard to unlock a few of the characters, members of the Marvel Illuminati…
And I have subscribed to Marvel Unlimited. Marvel Unlimited is an annual fee to read older comics, and the older starts at only about 6 months back. Sadly, there are a few I want to keep up with, or else I could just wait a bit and go with this for all my reading! We looked at storylines we wanted to read – like Avengers vs. X-Men – and comparing the price, reading this story through Unlimited will work out to cheaper than buying the trade paperbacks, at least for a while. And then there’s access to all the other comics too!
The interface is sadly very different from the New Comics store of the Marvel App. There is no seamless transition from one title to another, and limited in-comic controls. However, for what you’re getting unlimited access to, I suppose that it works. It would be great to just have the same interface, but I can deal. Being able to create a library of comics I want to read is also nice, although it has already grown rather significantly – I have to mark most of the comics I want to read by only including the first issue!
I also keep contemplating the Marvel Legendary deck building game. If I love deck building games and Marvel, this should be perfect, right? Holding off for now, but I imagine this will be on my shelf one day.
I will try to continue to restrain myself to one or fewer Marvel-related posts a week, but they just keep giving us so much content!