April 28, 2012
Marvel's "The Avengers" won't be shown in U.S. theaters until Friday, May 4, but I have had the pleasure of seeing it the day it opened here on my side of the planet last Wednesday. I must say that the movie is pure popcorn entertainment, packed with superhero action from beginning to end. And in honor of the movie's release, Disney, which owns Marvel, has sent out an update to its iOS book app featuring the Mighty Avengers, Avengers Origins: Assemble! Launched a couple of weeks ago, Avengers Origins: Assemble is part of Disney's Marvel Reads series of interactive storybooks, which also includes Avengers Origins: Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story. Like those two other storybooks, Avengers Origins: Assemble presents the backstory of a popular Marvel superhero. In the case of Avengers Origins: Assemble, the spotlighted superhero is none other than the first Avenger himself, Captain America. Also, like those two other storybooks, it features an excellent narration by Marvel pioneer Stan "The Man" Lee. As the story goes, Captain America is revived from the icy depths of the sea by Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, and the Wasp, and, together with them and the Hulk, he fights against Namor and his army of the Atlanteans. Now, following the update to the app, you can also clash with the enemies by playing the brand new 3D third-person mini-games outside of the story. You can select to control the Avengers Quinjet to exchange blows with the Atlanteans, or you can choose Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, or Black Widow to take on the Atlanteans or Namor himself. Note, however, that you can choose to fight as the Hulk only if you also have Avengers Origins: Hulk on your device. These mini-games, which young readers are sure to find exciting, are nice additions to the app. But the update fails to bring what the app should have had from the get-go: Retina iPad graphics. The story relies on visuals more than on Stan Lee's grandfatherly reading, so better-looking comic illustrations are just in order. Designed for both iPhone and iPad, Avengers Origins: Assemble is available in the App Store for $5.99. I suggest you read the story and play the mini-games in the app with your young 'uns as you while away the days before you finally get to see "The Avengers."
Avengers Origins: Assemble!
Avengers Origins: Hulk
The Amazing Spider-Man: An Origin Story