A Look Back at Marvel’s Avengers Alliance

Shop Doc’s Designs on TeePublic

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!

Best Trailer Drops from SDCC

Wonderful VW rendering by Christina Booth

So, there’s a lot to unpack from this San Deigo Comic Con of 2022. Unlike the past, I wasn’t hanging on every live stream, or report from the big blogger sites, but I just took things as they came. The pandemic has changed how I process everything. These trailers are pretty exciting, but I waited to comment on them, so I had time to digest them. If you are new here, I am not the bleeding edge of nerd news, nor do I care to be. Along with news about Daredevil and X-Men ’97, we got confirmation that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds would be making a return. The toy news is your normal fair, nostalgia reigns supreme through re-issuing old toys, or updating old toys, or reimagining of old toys; not that I have a problem with that. The most exciting toy I saw was a Macross Valkyrie / Robotech Veritech in Battroid mode as a 24″ Shogun Warrior. I neither have the money nor the room for such a piece, but I LOVE the fact that this will exist.

Now… on to the trailers. These are in no particular order. I enjoyed them all. I will say that I am looking forward to the projects that seem to be more about fun than the more serious ones. I can see The Rings of Power becoming a bit burdensome, whereas She-Hulk will be something that I actually look forward to from week to week just like Ms. Marvel.

Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions

Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions
Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions
Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions

It was the merry month of March of 1982, I was twelve and my mind was BLOWN when I saw the cover for Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions issue number one. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought that you could pack so many superheroes into one book!

The most I could hope for would be a super team cross-over with the Avengers and the Defenders, or the Justice League and the Justice Society. Having just reread the first issue the story is a bit thin, but set-up for the ensuing contest is fun. Seeing how the heroes interact with each other while not in battle is a hallmark of Marvel Comics. It also seems as if the books were to be platforms for nationalized heroes… some ridiculous as the Shamrock of Ireland, Collective Man of China, or Blitzkrieg of West Germany. These were lazy filler characters and a tad bit patronizing, if you ask me. I can see wanting to, perhaps seem more inclusive, or to break into more of the international market but they could have done a better job rather than be on the nose with some of these characters.

While I’ve seen far grander scale of mini series cross-overs in my now 51 years of existence, this was my first and it still has a treasured place in my geek heart. I may not remember more than a handful of lessons from my grade six year but this like this, what cartoons and movies I was introduced to and the toys I received as gifts are seared into my psyche for ever. This is the way. I don’t see life in the terms of good or bad at this point, but I can reflect on those earlier times as say they were best.

Digital Drawing: Black Panther

From rough sketch to finish, this T’Challa was great fun to render. I attempted a few different background elements but nothing could compete with the Panther God from Black Panther’s first appearance in the Fantastic Four comic. I wanted a Jack Kirby element and that fit the bill perfectly. While not technically perfect for a start to finish digital piece, I am happy with it.

I was so satisfied with how the Panther God element turned out, I fleshed it out a bit more and posted the design on my TeePublic shop.

Fantastic Four (1994) Season Two

I like most things that I talk about, I really do, and the animated adventures of the Fantastic Four is no exception. I can find redeeming qualities in most things that other can trash without batting an eyelash. The second season of the animated Fantastic Four (94) is some of the best adaptations of the original content that I can think of. The first season was a bloody mess. I think it tried too hard to be “acceptable” by people who were not in the know about Marvel’s first family. That opening season isn’t something that I tend to revisit that often, but the second brings me back more and more.

It’s not that the second is some sort of perfect retelling of Stan and Jack’s original stories, it’s more that they capture the essence of those stories. The first episode of that season opens with the FF losing their powers and Daredevil is involved in protecting the four from Doom. The story is basic, and Ben is oddly insensitive to the perceived handicap of Matt Murdock, with Alicia sitting right next to him. Apart from that it deals well with the loss and regaining of their powers.

My favorite episode is “Prey of the Black Panther”. T’challa attempts to prove himself by taking on, and defeating the Fantastic Four. A classic story, retold very well.