Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review: Marvel's Augmented Reality App

Despite having bought Avengers v. X-men for the past month, I have been unable until now to try out the augmented reality app that was launched with the event. This unfortunate occurrence was caused by my personal lack of an Ipad and the fact that I could not get the app to work on any smartphone I could get my hands on. Now that I am home and AvX #4 has ben released, I got my first taste of Marvel AR, and I am fairly pleased with it. The content is evenly spread through the book and varies greatly from panel to panel. The app is available for all IOS and Android products.

The AR cover delivered a recap of what had happened in the story so far through a motion comic and a hokey narrator voice. This wasn't very surprising and was actually quite handy as I was able to skip past the recap page. Inside the book, there were two panels that showed the artistic process of drawing a page from sketching to shading. While these two panels were interesting, they seemed like a waste of time given the potential of AR. One panel depicted the locations of the current battles of AvX while giving no additional information, which was rather tedious as it kept making a beeping sound.

Although there was some disappointing material, one AR panel of AvX #4 put me back on the band wagon. The AR triggered a video of a scientist explaining how something would actually go about destroying a planet. Since AvX is centered around the return of the Phoenix Force, an entity notorious for destroying planets, this AR clip fit right in. The video was informative, strange, and just about everything I wanted out of a gimmick like Marvel AR. As I have often tried, rather unsuccessfully, to explain comic phenomena, this video was much appreciated.

In summation, Marvel AR still needs to find exactly what it wants to do and stick to it. The current assortment seems a little scattered and I believe that with more focus, it can become an interesting part of future Marvel comics. I would like to compare Marvel AR to the beginning of special features on DVD videos, paltry but on the right track. Marvel AR is small but can grow to be something fans look for to expand their knowledge of the work. If Marvel continues this program, it could easily help keep people interested in the print medium rather than completely abandoning it for digital. I give the current Marvel AR a 2 out of 5 and the potential for the future a 4 out of 5.