Tag Archive: spider-man


I got to guest host on Nerd Alert this week with Kim Horcher. We talked about myriad topics, starting with a new Avengers: Infinity War tease!

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When LEGO Marvel Super Heroes was first announced, some of us less-open-minded comic-book aficionados had some questions about the idea of Warner Bros. (who owns rival DC) publishing a Marvel product of any kind. Luckily, it seems that developer TT Games has just as many mighty Marvelites on their staff as they do dedicated DCers (just don’t tell the bigwigs upstairs!).

Similar to the LEGO Batman games, TT started by making a LEGO-ized version of New York City, giving fans of the comic-book giant an open world comparable to DC’s Gotham. Sure, they’ve taken some liberties—the X-Mansion’s been moved to the North End and out of Westchester County, for example—but these changes were necessary to make everything fit logically into what’s a truly massive hub made of LEGO bricks. With well over 100 heroes and villains coming together in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, however, there needs to be a universal threat that ties this hub and these heroes together.

Fortunately, Marvel has exactly that in the form of the world-consuming Galactus. And he hungers for Earth. Again. Only a select few know of his approach, though, and some of Marvel’s most nefarious nemeses like Magneto, Loki, and Dr. Doom look to turn this global threat to their advantage. Marvel’s best and brightest heroes will now try to work together to thwart the master plan of these villains, as well as turn Galactus away.

If you’ve played any of the LEGO titles before—whether they were based directly on a movie or more loosely inspired by a property like this one—then you have an idea of what to expect. For this particular game, the action’s broken into 15 levels across many familiar Marvel Universe locales. As you make progress, you unlock gold bricks for performing certain actions, such as saving Stan Lee (who always finds himself in a perilous situation!) or collecting a certain amount of studs (the LEGO version of coins). As you unlock more bricks and play more of the game, you’ll add more heroes and villains to an ever-expanding cast of characters—who can then, in turn, be used to unlock more bricks. And the cycle continues until you 100-percent the game.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes features more activities than previous entries when it comes to acquiring bricks, giving the game solid variety and replayability. Some gold bricks require puzzle-solving and swapping of powers, but the game also includes plenty of fetch quests that are rather dull and populate much of the hub world. Escorting mini-figs slowly on foot from one side of the map to the other is not my definition of fun and could grate on completionists.

Speaking of swapping powers, your mini-figures can now wield more abilities than ever before. And not just the super-strength you’d expect from characters like the Hulk or the Thing—you can fire laser blasts with Cyclops, activate Magneto’s mastery of magnetism to move all things made of metal, or use Jean Grey’s telekinesis to move just about everything else in the world around. Mind you, wielding Magneto and Jean Grey’s power classes can take some getting used to, since they’re not as accurate as, say, a blast of flame from the hands of the Human Torch.

Since many characters can flylike Thor and Iron Mangetting around the hub world has also never been easier. The game even includes vehicles (some of which even having character themes, like the Green Goblin’s helicopterthough he really doesn’t need one, since he has his glider, right?) for characters that move around mostly on foot, such as Black Widow or Hawkeye.

So, some of the gameplay has changed to go along with the new IP, but one element remains mostly the same: the writing. TT Games usually does a tremendous job of finding ways to sprinkle in humor that freshens up the experience for older players, but they also inject plenty of slapstick and childish antics to ensure appeal to younger audiences. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is no exception, and its charm should warm the hearts of even the most jaded of comic-book fans.

Unfortunately, the technical problems that have plagued the LEGO series also return here. The camera remains a problem, especially in the hub world, and it’ll often lead to some unnecessary deaths. The rotating split-screen in co-op is also a distraction and detracts from the co-op experience, since two characters can’t just run off—they need to stay close to each other at all times. In future entries, TT Games either needs to make two static, horizontal split-screens or keep me and my buddy stuck within the same window. I started getting sick from the rotating line that appears when one player decides to run north and the other south.

While on the subject of co-op, the other big problem is that we still don’t have online 4-player co-op. The game includes many instances with four heroes in a group in the story, and I had to needlessly rotate through them all to try to progress. Even at my age, I can imagine having a good time with friends or my younger cousins on the other side of the country if we could do this online. And why limit the 4-player fun to the story? The hub world is easily massive enough to fit four mini-fig heroes in it.

Besides the legacy technical shortcomings, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is immensely enjoyable. It has enough side content, including bonus missions and challenges, that should keep gamers of all ages entertained for hours. But even if you’re just in it for the story, you should walk away happy. If you love LEGO, Marvel comics, or both, this game won’t disappoint.

Developer: TT Games • Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment • ESRB: E10+ • Release Date: 10.22.2013
9.0
Some technical shortcomings aside, this is a tremendously fun experience that will appeal to LEGO and comic book fans young and old alike.
The Good Same humor and charm we’ve come to expect from all the LEGO games.
The Bad Same camera and technical glitches we’ve come to expect from all the LEGO games.
The Ugly Same wonton destruction of property we’ve come to expect from all the LEGO games.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes is available on Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U, 3DS, DS, PS Vita, and will be a launch title for PS4 and Xbox One. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox 360.

Dr. Doomed from the start

Right next to having superpowers of their own and fighting alongside their favorite characters, the next best thing for most comic-book fans would be actually assuming the role of their most beloved superheroes. Personally, I’d probably like to be one of the X-Men. Wolverine, Iceman, or Colossus, if possible—I’m not picky.

The guys and gals at Gazillion Entertainment zero in on this concept with their free-to-play PC game, Marvel Heroes. Driven by Diablo-style action-RPG mechanics, the game sees players starting off by choosing one of five heroes who most comic fans would consider B-list: Hawkeye, Storm, Scarlet Witch, Daredevil, and the Thing. By beating the game—or spending some cold, hard cash—you can unlock other heroes or purchase a variety of costumes for these characters.

Unfortunately, if you’re like me and get tempted into picking up the ’90s X-Men cartoon version of Cyclops or Wolverine after a few story chapters, you’ll soon realize that the starter characters represent core classes—and no matter what hero you choose, the powersets are basically the same, just with different animations.

Considering the differences between the heroes in the Marvel universe, this was frustrating as a fan. After all, I was willing to shell out the cash—only to find out there’s no need beyond cosmetic preferences. To add insult to injury, each purchased character starts at level 1, so if you want to immediately use them, the game recommends that you start the entire adventure over again, no matter what point you’re currently at.

A couple of saving graces here, however, are the story and comic-book-still cutscenes. Written by Marvel super-scribe Brian Michael Bendis, the tale incorporates some of Marvel’s most famous story arcs from all their major comic lines into one tidy package. The basics, though, boil down to this: Dr. Doom has a Cosmic Cube, and he feels like messing with reality, because that’s what megalomaniacal bad guys do. I’ve also got to compliment the top-notch voice acting in the cutscenes, including instantly recognizable pros like Nolan North as Deadpool, Steve Blum as Wolverine, and Keith David as Nick Fury.

After choosing your characters, it’s time to actually play the game. And by the time I got a third of the way through the campaign, I’d already grown bored. Instead of offering any kind of variety or difficulty, the game simply threw more and more enemies at me—or gave them an insane amount of health—in the hopes of slowing me down. But it’s not like I was actually doing anything. I played as Hawkeye for most of the game after wasting my money, so all I had to do was get a decent distance away, hold the Shift key in order to ground my hero, and then hold another button to attack. Sometimes two. If I played as the Hulk or Thing, the only thing that changed was my distance relative to the target. The enemy spawn times are also horribly balanced, and I’d regularly clear an area of Hand ninjas or HYDRA goons, only to have them reappear nanoseconds later.

One decent aspect of the gameplay, however, comes in the dungeons. If you turn on auto-grouping, you can enter any dungeon without the fear of being completely overwhelmed. Unlike a lot of other MMOs, when you enter a dungeon around the same time as other players, you can be automatically placed on a team with them. Of course, this can lead to the confusing dilemma of having six Hawkeyes on the same team (which happened to me a lot) and getting your particular avatar lost in the chaos, but if you’re a more introverted gamer, you don’t have to worry about pulling up an awkward chat window, begging for assistance, and dealing with complete strangers.

Normally, this is about where I’d wrap up my review, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the most disappointing aspect of my time playing Marvel Heroes: the technical side. I purposely waited as long as I did to put up my review because I was waiting to see how the game performed after some patches. While the game has seen several small patches and one major fix in the two weeks since the game went live, I’m still experiencing many gameplay-balance problems, as well as numerous technical issues.

Every 20 to 30 minutes, my game crashes or freezes for no apparent reason, and while I’ve reported this error on the technical forums, it remains unfixed after performing the recommended actions from the support staff. I’ve made sure my drivers are up to date, I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the game launcher, and I’ve even turned down the specs to the lowest possible setting (my PC isn’t the highest-end gaming rig, but it should handle the minimum requirements no problem).

This left the support staff confounded—and me increasingly frustrated. So, I want to warn people before they play Marvel Heroes: In my experience, it just doesn’t work as well as it should. And after perusing the forums, I found that the error I encountered is actually pretty common. Then again, you get what you pay for—and the core of the game is free, after all.

So, if the game works for you perfectly, that’s great, but at the end of the day, fewer crashes still won’t make Marvel Heroes the most worthwhile of experiences unless you fall in love with its price tag.

Developer: Gazillion Entertainment • Publisher: Gazillion Entertainment • ESRB: N/A • Release Date: 06.04.13
4.0
While Marvel Heroes does some nice things, the Marvel license isn’t enough to cover up glaring technical and design flaws. As much as I wanted to like this game, I can’t recommend something that is, at its core, broken. In the end, you get what you pay for (or less, if you actually invested in this).
The Good Story that expertly reimagines some of Marvel’s greatest moments.
The Bad Constant crashing and glitches; uninspired gameplay.
The Ugly Expecting to get something for nothing—and then being surprised when what you get just isn’t that good.
Marvel Heroes is a PC exclusive. 

Clash of the Classics

When I was just a boy, my friends and I would argue for hours on end on the playground about what superheroes would win in an imaginary fight when pitted against each other in all different kinds of wacky combinations. We didn’t just mix up teams from a particular universe, but came up with all kinds of scenarios that put our favorites against all manner of pop culture heroes and heroines. So, when games like Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel vs Capcom breathed even more life into these conversations, you can easily imagine why we were hooked.

Flash-forward nearly two decades, and these games have led to the production of one of the most successful and beloved fighting game franchises there is. Because of this, Capcom wanted to make sure that not only us older games didn’t forget our roots, but also show a new generation the foundations of what set us on our hypercombo-ing path.

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is no ordinary old-school compilation, though. Included with these two original games—which have also had some HD graphic upgrades—are 8-player online lobbies with spectator modes, replay saving, dynamic challenges that unlock levels, and points you can spend on unlockables like characters that were hidden in the originals, end movies, or concept art.

The best part of the dynamic challenges and unlocks, though, may be that they give both games an unprecedented amount of replayability. Plus, if you’re as big a fan as I am, you will absolutely geek out over the sketches and stills of your favorites heroes and villains, as well as the chance to easily unlock the hidden characters that we originally had to input an impossibly long code for—Dr. Doom and Thanos in Marvel Super Heroes and Gold War Machine, Hyper Venom, Orange Hulk, and Shadow Lady in MvC.

Another nice aspect of the game is that everything that made these fighters unique in the first place is still there so you can relive the experience as if it were 1995 again and you were feeding quarters into an arcade cabinet under pink neon lights. The gem system of Marvel Super Heroes (inspired by the Infinity Gauntlet story from Marvel comics) still allows you to enhance your players temporarily with the powers of Space, Power, Time, Soul, Reality, or Mind, and MvC still gives you dozens of assist characters and the Duo Team Attack where you and your partner can combine your hyper combos into one truly devastating maneuver.

Unfortunately, in terms of gameplay, the games are a little too demanding at times, as players who are used to modern fighters will quickly see the age on these classics. Sometimes a little clunky and even a bit frustrating, both these games—but especially Marvel Super Heroes—can feel stiff, and the smooth combo chains you may be used to from Marvel vs Capcom 3 are much harder to string together and pull off in these titles. It’s not that you won’t be able to get the hang of these characters eventually and have fun in the process, but if you play modern fighters like MvC 3 religiously and then expect to be able to jump right into these games, you might be caught a bit off-guard by the stark differences.

When all is said and done, Marvel vs Capcom Origins hits enough of the right nostalgic notes to make it a more than worthwhile purchase for long time fans. I mean, the game even offers zoomed out, angled camera camera views designed to replicate the experience of playing on an old wooden cabinet. Younger fans might be a little frustrated with the less than silky smooth controls, but they should still play in order to truly appreciate how far we’ve come with fighting games. They’ll even likely start creating fun memories of their own once they adjust to the outdate feel. All in all, Origins is a fine compilation that’s more than worthy of a download.

SUMMARY: Marvel vs Capcom Origins does a fine job of staying true to the originals, while the addition of dynamic challenges provide a new layer of addictiveness that helps to overshadow how much these games have aged in the past two decades.

  • THE GOOD: New leveling up and variety of unlocks compliment classic game play well.
  • THE BAD: Games show their age at times.
  • THE UGLY: Far and away, it’s Shuma-Gorath.

SCORE: 9.0

Marvel vs Capcom Origins is available on XBLA (Xbox 360) and PS3 (PSN). Primary version reviewed was for XBLA.

Another tremendous week for comics and it seems that each one I read was better than the last in terms of established titles! There was some disappointing showings from Marvel’s newest numbers ones  though in Hawkeye and The First X-Men, and you got exactly what you’d expect from Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. For the full breakdown though, check out the Pullbox below!

Marvel – Avengers vs X-Men Round #9 – Hope’s training is still moving far too slowly and Avengers are dropping like flies. With a little help from the rest of the X-Men who are starting to realize that the Phoenix Four are going mad with power, the remaining Avengers attempt a mad prison break to free their fallen allies and one hero prepares for the ultimate sacrifice.

Originally, I was going to do one of the other Marvel #1s in this spot so I could bash them up a bit because they were pretty bad, but between Round 8 and now Round 9 in this AvX event, I needed to mention that this is the first time in literally five years that I’ve rooted for Spider-Man in a comic book. His selflessness and wisdom beyond his years, his ability to overcome all the odds and take tragedy in stride, are traits that made Spidey one of my favorites growing up. He had lost this a few years ago and he still doesn’t have it in his own monthly, but in the various Avengers books Spidey is starting to reclaim what made him great and this book really solidified that. A great read as this event looks like its finally about to come to a head.

Marvel – The First X-Men #1 – Mutants are starting to pop up everywhere and Wolverine and Sabretooth aren’t thrilled with the idea that there are folks who are looking to bring them harm. Not really known for being heroes though, this odd couple does what they do best in busting heads in the hopes of protecting some folks who still don’t know how to protect themselves.

This book infuriated me more than any other #1 Marvel put out this week so although Hawkeye escaped my wrath, this book will not. It blatantly changes what we’ve come to know as the origin stories of Wolverine, Sabretooth, Professor X, and several others just to try to have another book with Wolverine blatantly in the spotlight since he is clearly Marvel’s powerhouse character in terms of sales right now. The dialogue between the characters is not entertaining in the least and the course of action just seems like another blatantly needless origin re-launch that does nothing but confuse people and turn off long-time comic book readers. Even with it being a number one, this book just isn’t worth it.

DC – Batman Detective Comics #12 – Batman finally unravels the mystery behind Mr. Toxic and although he may have a new villain on his hands, he know things could be much worse as Mr. Toxic is about to go atomic. And Batman needs to remedy this situation quickly as an old foe’s return looms on the horizon.

Not the best wrap up of what has mostly been a confusing storyline, it at least had a few intense action sequences and Batman’s new jetpack armor looked pretty badass. Really all this did was delay what fans have really been waiting for and that is the return of the Joker and what he plans to do in the New 52 and what made this comic was the tease of his return next month in the final few pages of the story. I for one cannot wait for next month as all this did was whet my appetite for a real Batman story already.

DC – Animal Man #12 – The epic Rotworld crossover between Animal Man and Swamp Thing starts here in this first chapter. Animal Man’s son has been tainted by the rot and is barely clinging to life and all Buddy Baker knows is that he must enter a Louisiana swamp and put an end to all this at its core. Lucky for him, Swamp Thing has the same idea after dealing with Anton Arcane for the first time since his resurrection.

I’m not a huge fan of Animal Man typically, but this first issue was really well written and made me think I might have been missing something all this time as I picked it up sporadically over its first dozen issues. Of course, it could also be the crossover with Swamp Thing, which also came out this week so make sure you got both chapters one and two of this event folks, which just happens to start in this issue. The build up for this event has been brilliant by DC and I really hope they can follow through now on this amazing foundation they’ve set up.

Image – Spawn #222 – Jim Downing, the newest Spawn on Earth has been using his powers unlike any other Spawn before him, to heal. At least in the public eye. Behind the scenes he is still a Spawn and as he struggles to piece his life together by terrifying every hood who might be connected a lab initiative called ‘The Program’ that took away Downing’s memory and might have given him some of his power, he awakens some old Spawn enemies. In this case, Tremor. But Downing unusually turned his healing powers on Tremor and seemingly cured him of the experimentation that turned him into that monster who now will help Downing track down more members of the ‘The Program’.

I walked away from Spawn for a long time due to the fact that Al Simmons lost all interest to me as a character. But curious as to how they were able to keep the book going for about 60 issues after I lost interest, this new Spawn and the fact he never died, yet has all the powers and then some of Al, has intrigued me. I’m a bit sad though that classic villain Tremor now seems to be no more, but at the very least we still have The Clown! The art is great, the story is very realistic conspiracy theory driven instead of the whole heaven vs. hell aspect that drove Al for so long, and Jim Downing’s desire to do good all the time is refreshing. If you haven’t been reading Spawn for many of the same reasons as me, you might be interested in checking it back out again as it’s definitely piqued my curiosity like it did in the old days.

After finally recovering from a SDCC caused coma, The Pullbox has returned! A busy week this week in terms of comics as we saw an enticing new #1, some crazy things happen in AvX, and a new entrant into our indie space. So without further ado, here is this week’s Pullbox!

DC – Batman Beyond Unlimited #6 – This collection of stories following Terry McGinnis, the Batman of the future, gives us three interesting continuations of tales started in earlier issues. First, Solomon Grundy reveals himself to Superman while Lex’s daughter’s plan comes to fruition. In another story, Batman and the rest of the future Justice League travel to Apokolips to help Orion and a blinded Darkseid fight a giant serpent. The final story follows Batman by himself and the Jokerz from all over the country continue their migration to Gotham and Batman needs to prioritize multiple attacks at once!

Honestly, I love this comic. I don’t mind paying an extra dollar each month to get several stories in an obviously extended book. I just hope that they don’t forget it’s called Batman Beyond as there is a lot of Superman love here. If they were going to do that, they should really give him his own future book as I think fans would snatch up both. Especially considering how epic the fight is between Grundy and Superman and Lex’s illegitimate daughter following in her daddy’s footsteps is priceless. The other two stories were okay in terms of writing and pacing, but the Jokerz story is starting to drag as so little happens month to month and needs a jumpstart again.

DC – Nightwing #11 – Nightwing starts to get to the bottom of this new villain named Paragon and his group called The Republic of Tomorrow. But with him fighting both the police for being framed, the banks for a loan to buy Amusement Mile, and these new bad guys, it’s going to be hard for Nightwing to come out on top!

This book did a good job of setting up the next issue where we will likely see the climax of this story arc where the villain and his connection to everyone in the past few issues will be resolved. Good action early on followed up by a lot of plot to maintain order within the story worked well for my tastes and shows why Kyle Higgins is the perfect guy to be writing Nightwing. My favorite part of the book though may have been Damian actually accidentally assisting Dick in putting the final pieces of this puzzle together and their banter back and forth.

Marvel – Captain Marvel #1 – After what happened on the Kree homeworld, Carol Danvers has donned a new costume and a new outlook on life. While helping Captain America battle The Absorbing Man though, Cap suggests that it’s time Carol changes her superhero name to something that fits her a bit more and pays respect to someone she clearly cared deeply about. This, Carol takes the mantle of the new Captain Marvel.

This was a good start to this new monthly. I’m not really sure how I feel about the new costume and haircut for Carol just yet, and the plain cover might turn some folks off, but once you crack this book open, you’ll be happy you did. The art inside is something special and its rare I’m this blown away more by the art than the writing of a book. Not to say the writing isn’t solid. Starting off with a B-level villain, but coming out of the gates with it, was a good move because Absorbing Man can be quickly dispatched and that allowed for plenty of time to develop Carol and her hesitation at taking the Captain Marvel moniker. Her banter/beating-up of Spider-Man briefly also added some necessary comedy relief to what was otherwise a very serious book. Good pacing, action, humor, and drama, all in the first issue, really shocked me and has made Captain Marvel a book I will at least be picking up a few issues of, if not making a permanent fixture in the Pullbox.

Marvel – Avengers Academy #33 – Emma Frost continues her tirade about why Juston’s Sentinel must be turned into scrap. And the entire Avengers Academy wants to fight her tooth and nail to stop that from happening. Has Emma become mad with power though or does she make a point about the Sentinel being an abomination? Either way, Juston doesn’t care and won’t stand for it!

This was an entertaining story arc from the first issue up to this conclusion. It subtly asks questions about artificial intelligence and what makes us human, while mixing it with a lot of over the top action and fighting between Emma and the Academy, even if the save at the end was a little weak. More importantly, this issue serves as a launching point for what could be the four most important issues in Avengers Academy history as things look to take a turn for the worst as this AvX event continues.

Boom Studios – Extermination #2 – Alien forces have invaded the Earth and its people have been utterly decimated. In order to survive, odd alliances have been made, most notably between a former superhero named Nox and a former supervillain named The Red Reaper. All does not seem lost though as the unlikely pair moves across the wasteland towards Nox’s secret lair for supplies, they are discovered by another band of survivors. Unfortunately, Nox and the leader of this rag tag band have a history and he’s having a tough time letting go of the past. 

The first issue was only $1 and it was an interesting concept that this Batman/Joker like team are forced to pair up in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and other monsters that have destroyed everything they know and love. This second issue though was well worth the normal cover price as it completely blew me away. The relationship between Nox and Red Reaper is wonderful to see develop and Nox’s loyalty to his morals is admirable to a fault. The best part of the book so far has been the interspersed flashbacks showing us their world as it once was as they make off the cuff references to things that clearly no longer exist. I can’t wait to see where this book goes from here and being only two issues in, it shouldn’t be hard to find Issue 1 and get on board immediately, which I highly recommend. 

Catchin’ Thieves Just Like Flies

Since developer Beenox took over the Spider-Man franchise for Activision, they’ve put out a couple of great Spidey titles that gave fans of the wall-crawler hope for his future in video games. But now that they’re going to do a game based off of a movie instead of an original story, many are wondering if the developer will have enough wiggle room to produce the top-tier title fans have started to expect from them with the web-head.

After seeing a brief demo of The Amazing Spider-Man, I have hope renewed. Although the game will be released about a week before the movie actually hits theaters, the game takes place after the events of the movie and will feature Dr. Curt Connors (no word on if he’ll turn into the Lizard in the game), Gwen Stacy (basically confirming she won’t get killed off in the first movie), and our dear Peter Parker. Aside from them, exclusive to the game we also saw a very bestial looking Rhino (although we’re not allowed to go into much more detail than that).

Beyond the characters though, the thing that really jumped out at me was the look. Crisp, clean, and very cinematic, Beenox has taken their time to craft what is shaping up to be their most life-life Spidey yet in a fully realized Manhattan. And part of this was the camera angle, especially when web-slinging.

“The camera is more of an over-the-shoulder shot than a traditional third-person view and is much closer than in any previous Spider-Man game ever when web-swinging. It gives you this incredible connection to the character. This is extremely different from anything anyone has tried before in a Spider-Man game and, for me, this provides the most outstanding web-swinging experience ever because of that familiarity you quickly develop with Spidey from it,” said Dee Brown, Studio Head at Beenox when talking about the new cameras while swinging around Manhattan.

And speaking of getting around Manhattan, the movement was definitely one of the key aspects of the demo shown to us. One of my favorite sequences involved Spidey trying to get to the front of a high-speed car chase, using both his normal webs, and a new move called “Web Rush” where Spidey can stop in a moment and pick a specific point he wants to throw his web. The game engine then performs real-time computation to get Spidey to that point in the fastest, most acrobatic way possible. When Spidey got to the front of the chase, we were rewarded with him spinning a massive web that caught the entire getaway vehicle and left the robbers high and dry for the cops to clean up with a very distinct Spider-Man calling card.

The web rush ability was very cool to see, and it showed off how powerful Beenox’s new engine is, but my only concern is that there were a lot of yellow Spidey silhouettes showing where he could go and I hope that they will only be active during the mode or that those silhouettes were still early build markers as I could see that getting distracting very quickly in game.

Aside from the movement, we also saw some of Spidey’s new combat. Incorporating some of the stealth maneuvers Beenox had played around with in Shattered Dimensions with Spider-Man Noir, Beenox has it now so that in the indoor areas Spidey will traverse, he can either go in with web-shooters blazing or take the sneaky route and really strike some fear into the foes he will face.

Although the game is still a few months from release, again, what I saw gave me a lot of hope. Beenox knows they’ve set a pretty high bar to hit and know that being tied to a movie can both help and hurt them. But from what I saw, I think everyone is just going to really enjoy being Spider-Man again and I, for one, can’t wait to see the finished product.

A solid week all around in terms of releases this week, but it was difficult to pick the best of the best as there were a lot of good comics, but not necessarily great comics. Interesting twists abound as plots are further forwarded, so let’s see how by taking a look at this week’s pullbox!

1) IDW – Ghostbusters #5: After saving Ray from the hands of another minion of Gozer, the Ghostbusters are forced to try to get into shape by William Peck to meet the same standards as the NYPD and other civil servants. Meanwhile, as Venkman and Peck trade classic barbs, a new paranormal entity is causing havoc in Schenectady, New York, having possessed an entire amusement park and only the Ghostbusters are qualified for the job.

I can’t praise Erik Burnham enough for being able to capture the humor and absurdity of the situations that we loved seeing in both the movies and cartoons that many of us grew up with in terms of the Ghostbusters. After a brilliant 4-issue story arc to start the series off, I can’t wait to see what he does next as many details about this new ghost are minimal besides the fact that we know it is pretty powerful. Not to mention I love the paranormal files at the back of the book outlining the powers and abilities of the ghosts we’re seeing to give some insight as if we were a part of the team.

2) DC – Batman #5: Batman is trying his best to fight against the mind games of the Court of Owls, but as he remains lost in the ending labyrinth beneath Gotham, the world above can only wonder and worry what happened to their constant protector.

Almost feeling like a filler issue as most of the issue is simply seeing the effects of what the Court of Owl’s mind games are doing to Batman, the tricks used in the book might actually start to screw with the reader as panels start going sideways and upside down and so as you start turning pages, you’re also turning the actual book. A nice way to really help the reader feel just how upside down Batman’s world is becoming. But we’ve seen Batman overcome mind games before, whether with the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh sub-personality or some other mental training exercise he’s been through so again this is why as much as I love most of Scott Snyder’s work on Batman, this is a bit more of a filler issue, no matter how much I love the rotating panels effect.

3) DC – Green Lantern Corps #5: With John Stewart and some other members of the Corps being tortured clear on the other side of the universe, Guy Gardner is rallying the troops on Oa to stage a rescue mission and bring it to the Keepers. And Gardner is calling in the big guns, specifically a group of Lanterns who redefine the term “tenured” and who don’t know how to pull their punches called “The Mean Machine”. But will even this grizzled group of veteran Lanterns be enough to save Lantern Stewart and the rest in time?

I really like how this issue is expanding the Lanterns a bit more and adding a bit more personality to Corps members outside of those from Earth. I also like that it’s getting Guy Gardner back to his no-holds-barred, dirty tricks, all about results roots as he will do anything to save his friends and you have to love that about this character. All in all, this is a really well-written issue as it looks to build up to an explosive confrontation between Guy and his group of semi-rogue Lanterns and the Keepers, whose awesome origin story as a new enemy of the Lantern Corps is also pretty sweet and is revealed this issue.

4) Marvel – Daredevil #8: The second part of a two-issue crossover with Amazing Spider-Man ends here as Black Cat, Spider-Man, and Daredevil hunt down the thieves of some cutting edge hologram technology. But ol’ Hornhead may have bitten off more than he can chew as it becomes a bit more personal with the Cat. But can her motives be trusted and if he can’t or can, I don’t think Daredevil’s radar sense would be able to figure it out anyway.

The personality that Daredevil gives off and the constant making fun of Spider-Man makes this a particularly great issue and sets itself up that Black Cat, at least for the next few issues, will likely be a guest star as the hologram technology only scratches the surface of what could be a larger and more innate plot with Hydra and other evil global organizations. No matter if you’re just getting into Daredevil or have been following this new series since the start though, this book is most likely Marvel’s best written overall monthly and it only continues with this issue.

5) Marvel – Generation Hope #15: After another mission to find one of her “lights”, Hope doesn’t realize she has actually brought the mind-wiped Sebastian Shaw back into the midst of the X-Men and Cyclops is not happy about it. The X-Men must now decide the fate of one of their once greatest enemies as he is a blank slate and looking for refuge in Utopia. Meanwhile, the rest of Hope’s team come head to head with some Morlock refugees who are furious over their second class status even amongst their fellow mutants.

There were a lot of great X-Men books this week, but the banter between Emma Frost and Hope Summers as they argued over the fate of Sebastian Shaw put this over the top for me. Absolutely hysterical as you see things start to come to a head in the Utopia War Room. Throw in the return of the Morlocks who have almost been forgotten about in Utopia and I think this could continue to be the most interesting of the X-books in the near future.

We are back folks! Finally caught up with the back issues I missed over the holiday as well this week’s releases. And let me tell you, that was no easy feat, never mind actually picking this week’s Pullbox. But that was difficult, too. A lot of great comics, especially from Marvel and on the Indie side of things, made for some tough choices this week, but I think that the elite have risen to the top. So here is this week’s Pullbox!

1) Marvel – The Amazing Spider-Man #677: When the Black Cat is framed for a technology theft she didn’t commit, as Spider-Man can attest to since he was with her at the alleged time of the crime, Spidey calls in his old friend Matt Murdock to help him get to the bottom of the case and to help the Cat clear her name.

Although I’ve steered clear of Spider-Man for the most part because I think the character only regresses with every major event he takes part in, this issue sees the start of a brief crossover with a character who has been rejuvenated in past months, Daredevil. And so I decided to pick up this comic and was pleasant surprised. Brilliant artwork and the banter between Spidey and Daredevil is hysterical as they work together over the course of the issue that will be concluded in the next issue of Daredevil. There is also a point in the comic where Spider-Man questions himself and wishes he had Daredevil’s strength of character as he has had more problems than anyone else in the Marvel universe and didn’t really need a cheap character re-launch by pick himself back up. As someone who has been furious at most of Spidey’s writers for a while, that made me feel good.

2) Marvel – Carnage USA #2 (of 5): As Carnage continues his dominance of a small town in the middle of the country, Spidey finds himself getting help from some unlikely sources as he tries to formulate a plan that could finally put down Cletus Kasady for good.

Surprising I know to put a pair of Spider-Man comics at the top, but this mini-series and the last one by Zeb Wells clearly show who should be at the helm of the wall-crawler in the future. His storylines in both these mini-series and the new Avenging Spider-Man show that he knows what Spider-Man fans want. Smart, witty banter between Spidey and his enemies, some cameos from other Marvel heroes once in a while, and to pit Spidey against his more iconic villains instead of working on new threats or some thing more on a global scale that should stick to Avengers stories. Marvel touts that Spider-Man is the world’s greatest super hero. It’s stories like these that actually give them a case in defending that claim.

3) DC – Batman and Robin #5: Damian Wayne has made his choices and has decided that he is sick of being treated like the child that Batman thinks he is. So, when offered a chance to follow “Nobody”, better known as Morgan Ducard, the son of one of Batman’s former teachers, Henri Ducard he took it to satiate his killer instincts. But will Robin actually pull the trigger when the time comes? 

There are a lot of similarities between the development of Damian so far as a character to the original Jason Todd, but the fact this twisted being is in the body of a 10-year-old boy makes it a bit more creepy. With the knowledge of his past mistakes always looming in the back of his mind, it’ll be interesting to see what Batman does to not only win Damian back and if he finally starts to grow into the “father figure” role that Damian so clearly needs, but if he reveals all of his secrets to Damian who so desperately desires his trust just as much as his love. Left open on another cliffhanger ending, the next issue will definitely see some sparks fly and if you want to see just what the future of the Batman and Robin dynamic will be, you’re going to want to start with this issue.

4) DC – Deathstroke #5: Realizing his long thought dead son may actually be alive, Slade Wilson, better known as Deathstroke the Terminator, must also deal with the fact that the closest thing he’s ever had to a friend in Christoph, has just received his head as a very clear message. Along with Peabody, Deathstroke must continue to track down his clearly enraged son while also still dealing with yet another person wearing the Legacy suit. But this newest hunter has some metahuman powers that will put Slade’s own to the test.

Always guaranteed to provide tons of over the top action, this issue continues that trend while bringing up more questions of where Deathstroke goes from here as things just seem to get more and more complicated and he really doesn’t know who to trust as that short list just got shorter. The interesting thing of course will be how he handles this new Legacy and if the running joke of this new character being cannon fodder comes to an end as we also learn the extent of this new Legacy’s powers. We’ve seen some super-strength and some high level telekinesis. It’ll be interesting if there is anything else up his sleeve as he takes on the world’s greatest assassin.

5) Image – PIGS #5: The Russian sleeper cell continues to fracture from within as a new assignment has come their way and requires them to break into a prison to perform an assassination. As the ante has been raised, more of the group starts to hesitate and decides to go with the more subtle approach unlike their first mission, but things don’t exactly go according to plan. Or do they?

With so many comics revolving around super-heroes and crazy powers and worldwide threats from extraterrestrial beings and whatnot, it’s great writing like this that makes me a fan of comics. An espionage thriller like this is a rarity in today’s market, but hopefully it continues for a good long while, or at least as naturally as the story will allow it to. The rift that is forming in the group and knowing everything that is riding on it, you don’t know who to root for as its easy to lose sight of the fact that the story really revolves around bad guys. So now the big question becomes when will the US government start to step in and really up the ante for what is already an interesting and high intensity book.

THE BUZZ: Disney, along with their social games division Playdom, have announced the plan to launch a new Marvel inspired game for Facebook in the next three months.

The game will feature many of the most popular heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe and will be titled Marvel: Avengers Alliance. In the game, you will play as a new agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. tasked with assembling the greatest team of Avengers yet to battle many of the villains from the Marvel Universe who are converging on Manhattan after a galaxy wide event known as “The Pulse”.

Aside from following this story, the game will also feature PvP battles for players to test their social standing and feature a leveling up system for each individual hero.

EGM’S TAKE: No surprise really to see Marvel and Disney trying to get a game into the social market in time for the Avengers movie release, but the game would likely appeal to fans of the comics anyway no matter when they released it.

From the screens below and the fact you can level up, the game looks to be shaping up into an old-school RPG with the enemies on the left and villains on the right.

It also looks like your character will fight alongside the heroes at the top of the screen in traditional S.H.I.E.L.D. garb. Nick Fury has also been mentioned as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the game so the story will likely be less tied to the comics and more to the movies. It should be interesting to see if they use the traditional comic book version of Fury or the Ultimate version portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson like in Marvel’s recent slew of movies though.

The first big question I thought of when I saw this though was when are we going to get a full blown Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 for a console?

To check out the trailer and to get the latest updates on when the game may go to open beta, you can check out the game’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/avengersalliance

What do you folks think? Is this going to just be propaganda for the new Avengers movie or will it be a legit foray for Marvel and Disney? What villains and heroes do you think the game should feature? Let us know what you think with comments below!