A Look Back at Marvel’s Avengers Alliance

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Greetings, True Believers!

Today we take a look back at Marvel’s Avengers Alliance. September 30th marks the sixth anniversary of the final day of this wonderfully simple game. I still miss it.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance was a turn-based social network game developed by Playdom in 2012. It is based on characters and storylines published by Marvel Comics and written by Alex Irvine. The game was available as an Adobe Flash application via the social-networking website Facebook, and via Playdom’s official website via an app. The app wasn’t directly connected to a user’s account so moving between the two platforms was not possible. You chose one or another.

Agent Bruce Wayne was my character name

In 2012, I was pretty excited for this little game to come out. I liked the premise of it and the design. On launch day I played a few levels and was a bit discouraged, so I dropped it for a month, but eventually I returned. I am not sure if I had changed, or the game had. Something clicked, and I was enjoying myself. Avengers Alliance was my jam. I had only been playing a few games on Facebook with Mrs. Multiverse, so this was like a fun breath of fresh air for me. Something I was familiar with, old friends that I could spend a few spare moments with a few times a day. There were friends that had joined me from the “real world”, but after a time most didn’t stick with it. In the end, only two remained. Even they didn’t play the last month. What was the point of sticking around?

The point, for me, was to celebrate the years of fun that this game had generated. There was a glitch in some of the reward mechanisms for completing tasks that I ended up reporting, and the nice folks at Playdom loaded my account up with a ton of extra gold. I was able to get everything that I had ever wanted in the game. What a great month of fun it has been.

At the end of the day this will be a favorite of mine, forever more. Sure, there were some misses in the hero offerings. Some things were pretty difficult to get by without purchasing gold. There were moments of too much repetition. I did have a few times when I took extended breaks, or I just would log in just to send heroes out on missions. All that aside. I give the game a solid B+ average over its lifetime. I only played it on Facebook and that’s where I kept my game play. This game weaned me off of playing more involved games that I would spend a majority of my free time in. It was a great casual game that I miss.

Excelsior!

Kirby, Comin’ At’cha

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Jack Kirby was the master if the dynamic action comic book cover. He usually had a primary subject with some smaller secondaries or interesting background elements. These are some of the most engaging covers that make you was to purchase the book as they demanded attention.

Fantastic Four Cover Homage & The Cover’s Possible Origin?

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I went down the rabbit hole of cover homages to the first appearance of Marvel’s first family, Fantastic Four No. 1 (1961), by Jack Kirby. It was a fun romp full of exciting takes on the cover’s composition. There were many fan made homages to wade through, but I wanted to only include industry printed covers. I would say that John Byrne is the biggest fan of the cover, judging by how many homages he has rendered.

I was really hoping that DC would have done at least one homage to this cover but… wait, hold on… I may have found one…

So, yeah… I feel like this cover, featuring the first appearance of the Justic League of America is the origin to Jack’s Fantastic Four cover. It’s no wonder, since Atlas publisher Martin Goodman mentioned the team-up book to Stan Lee.

Revisiting The Key Difference Between the Heroes of Marvel & DC

After hearing about Joss Whedon’s being brought onboard by Warner Bros. in 2017 for finishing the JLA movie, Jessica Chobot of Nerdist News, reported that Scott Snyder had called in Whedon to help with something on the production way before his needed exit. We now know that to be a complete fabrication, most likely invented by the damage control unit at WB.

Whedon was awesome at directing interpersonal relationships in the Avengers, now I suspect that he was also under a very tight rein to suppress his lack of his own acceptable interpersonal skills, to put it lightly. He was able to humanize what appears to be beyond human. On the whole this is what Marvel has seemed to excel at in the comics and the MCU. Marvel humanizes their characters. They make them imperfect. They have weaknesses and human failings.

The heroes of DC have always been akin to gods. From time to time, depending on creative team, they take time out to live a normal day, or moment. I’m thinking about Oneil and Adam’s “Hard Traveling Heroes” of the 70’s. Those stories were few and far between in the DC Universe. These heroes are less relatable to humanity. There are pros and cons to this method of storytelling. Remember that even the Greeks told tales of their gods where they all had failings, unlike other cultures who came after and created perfect beings. Perfection is boring in the long run but, in shorts spurts, it can be fun. The CW’s Arrowverse characters have tackled much of the perfection problems and incorporated the shortcomings and outright failings into what makes the hero a hero in spite of their issues.

I was interested to see how Joss made the god-like characters more relatable, and even more likable for the Justice League film. His ability to break tension with humor felt like it had to be a superpower, but in JL it was forced and jarring. Basically, I would have loved to see heroes dealing with issues that we all experience, every day, while trying to save the world. It’s a lot to ask from somebody, but they are heroes and that comes with the territory. As we all know, the production of JL had its issues, and failings. While I found things to be entertained by, it isn’t something that I choose to revisit. The Snyder cut wasn’t really that much better, but it flowed, and it brought something a little different to the table. Neither brought the human touch to the DC Gods.

So, the characterization of these characters, some almost ninety years-old, could just be what we want them to be. The Marvel Age characters were conceived to have everyday problems that we could identify with. Whereas their DC counterparts were created to be our new mythological protectors. There are exceptions to the rule but it’s about scale. Peter gets screamed at for being a few minutes late to work, Kyle finds his girlfriend murdered in his refrigerator. I can only relate to one of those situations. At the end of the day, these are all fictional characters and we and take from theme what we will.

Wonder Man?

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Wonder Man, Simon Williams, was created by writer Stan Lee and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, he first appeared in The Avengers #9 (1964). The character, who was initially introduced as a supervillain imbued with ionic energy, fought against the Avengers and after a series of events, he joined the team. There have been multiple Wonder Man characters from several comic book companies, but this one is the one that stuck.

So… Wonder Man, eh? I mean, sure… I guess. Wonder Man has never been a favorite of my, but I’ve never disliked him either. He was just there. A background character or a simple plot device. Never anything special, although some of his incarnations have been better than others. Wonder Man isn’t anything that I’ve been clamoring for, and I’ll check it out, but it’s not on my must-see list. Without the Avengers, I wonder how they’ll introduce him into the MCU, that will make or break the character. We shall see.

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