Thanks to the clever wit and brilliant acting of Robert Downey Jr., Iron Man has risen from near-obscurity to become one of the most famous Marvel characters around. It is no wonder that the comic distribution company chose the metal clad hero to be the guinea pig for the first fully interactive comic book experience.
By teaming up with Loud Crow, developers of the popular “A Charlie Brown Christmas” app, they’ve come up with a way to read comic books that could potentially go down in history.
For all you fanboy naysayers, this app is fantastic so don’t even think those smarmy thoughts about how stupid it probably is. The innovative way that the narration, word and thought bubbles can be slid across the screen makes the story come to life. By tapping on numerous spots on any given page, readers interact with the characters.
On one page, readers can tap on Tony Stark’s machinery to outfit him with the Mark II. On another page, call up important information on Colantotte with the help of J.A.R.V.I.S. (a shameless advertisement for magnetic wristbands). There are so many ways to interact with each page that you’ll spend more time on this 15-page app than you would a 22-page comic book.
That being said, from a comic fan perspective, this isn’t exactly a five-star book. The problem lies with the writing. Comic book veteran Fred Van Lente penned this one-off, but he is not to blame for the mediocre story. Lente is an award-winning writer with a hefty list of titles under his belt. The problem is that this app is meant to sell the upcoming Avengers movie, not draw in new comic book fans.
Most of the story is just a wrap up of what happened in the first two Ironman movies. It doesn’t bring anything new to the stage, or insert anything into the Ironman cannon. It is simply an interesting advertisement for Marvel’s summer blockbuster.
If enough interest was drummed up for this type of interactive comic book reading, I can honestly say it would revolutionize the industry, and probably even gain young new fanboys (and girls). Comics are the perfect format for interactive digital books. Why not start an Ultimate Marvel series staring Wolverine and Rogue? I’d invest in a run of those stories. I’d even subscribe to it if given the option.
What I liked: The illustrations by artist Steve Kurth are exquisite on the iPad’s Retina display screen. It gives me goose bumps to see it so clearly and vividly. The soundtrack is fitting and the effects are well placed.
What I didn’t like: Every once in a while, you will tap on something on a page that will randomly bring up a Facebook posting option, or trigger an email send. There is a place for that at the beginning of the book. It is unnecessary to pepper (heh) it throughout the pages.
To buy or not to buy: This app is free, and worth the download. Even bitter fanboys will appreciate it for its interactive design. Just don’t expect a riveting story.
- App Name: Marvel’s The Avengers: Iron Man Mark VII
- Version Reviewed: 1.2
- Category: Entertainment
- Developer: Loud Crow Interactive
- Price: Free