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Robert Cartagena is a boxing correspondent for SFBay.ca. He graduated from SF State in 2011 with a B.A. in journalism and spent more than a year contributing monthly articles to The Hudsucker, an online magazine with a blog twist. He has a passion for sports journalism -- particularly boxing -- as well as film reviews. He also enjoys blogging and aspires to be a professional actor one day.

‘Avengers Alliance’: The ‘Fantastic Four’ who should make the cut next season

For over a year now, I’ve been playing the turn-based social network game Marvel: Avengers Alliance on my Facebook account.

Image Credit: Facebook

Image Credit: Facebook

Developed last year by Playdom, players assume the role of a rookie S.H.I.E.L.D. agent recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. Your mission: Assemble and fight alongside a who’s who of legendary Marvel superheroes – including Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America – to combat the forces of evil that have been brought together due to a mysterious force simply known as “The Pulse.”

Sunday night I discovered that a second season of the game will begin later this year (I didn’t even realize I was in the middle of season one). But of course, a new season brings with it brand new features – not to mention, new characters.

The highlight of Avengers Alliance – as is the case with other games of its kind like the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and X-Men Legends franchises – is assembling your dream team of superheroes. Each player starts off with Iron Man and acquires Black Widow and Hawkeye for free soon after.

Other heroes can be recruited through the use of Command Points, one of the game’s forms of currency. The only setback is that the CP are not easy to acquire and can become a hassle if you want to purchase what I like to call an “elite” hero (one who costs at least 90 CP to recruit). So I’m hoping that there will be easier ways to acquire them throughout season two.

Now, there are hundreds and hundreds of heroes throughout the Marvel universe, but I’m only familiar with a few, such as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, Spider-Man, Luke Cage and Daredevil.

So I will focus on the four heroes I believe would make stellar additions to Avengers Alliance (call them my “Fantastic Four” of sorts) since I was not going to force myself to include other heroes I knew little to nothing about just to make a longer wish list.

Cue superhero roll call!

Image Credit: Marvel.com/Universe


Iceman is a major player in many X-Men comic book storylines, so I can’t imagine why he would be excluded from a game that includes many of his X-Men brethren. The guy has the ability to freeze whatever he touches – let alone, turn his own body into ice – so what’s not to like about him?

He was one of my favorites to play as in the hit fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on the strength of his ice attacks and combos, which included the ability to punch opponents with a snowball-like fist. Incorporating that fist attack in Avengers Alliance would be great simply because of the extra damage it could deal against a chilled enemy. Aside from some weapons the agent acquires throughout the game, none of the heroes utilize ice attacks, which would make him a major player in the game as well.

Plus, his appearance from X-Men: The Last Stand (where he was portrayed by Shawn Ashmore) would be a really cool alternate costume for the game developers to incorporate, especially with the recent success of Human Torch’s Annihilus costume.

Image Credit: Marvel.com/Universe


As a Dhampir (the child of a human and a vampire in Balkan folklore), Blade is not your typical vampire. His quasi-vampiric transformation – the result of his mother being bitten and killed by the vampire Deacon Frost during childbirth – ultimately made him immune to many traditional vampire weaknesses, including sunlight. He also possesses a rapid healing factor which prevents chemicals and viruses from causing his body to deteriorate and render him helpless.

Bottom line: Blade’s quasi-vampiric abilities make him invincible!

His invincibility may be a turn-off for some gamers, but it also makes him a valuable asset. He is also adept in various fighting abilities – martial arts, swordsmanship and usage of throwing knives – which could result in critical stealthy attacks. His ability to sense supernatural creatures could even result in extra turns or counter attacks when fighting such enemies.

Those familiar with Blade mostly likely remember his film and television appearances, where he originated from Detroit, Mich. But his comic book origins occurred in London, England – and with season two’s story slated to occur in the United Kingdom, that may just increase the possibility of the vampire hunter making an appearance alongside the Avengers.

If the game developers at Playdom are reading this, PLEASE include Blade in season two because he simply makes vampire hunting look super slick!

The original Venom: Eddie Brock (Image Credit: Marvel.com/Universe).


Venom is another iconic Marvel character that I can’t imagine being excluded from the game because of his legacy in the Spider-Man universe.

There have been many incarnations of the character – including Eddie Brock’s ex-wife, Ann Weying – but the most popular is Eddie Brock, himself. Brock is best known as one of Spider-Man’s greatest adversaries, but he has also joined forces with the web-swinger to combat common foes. They’re pretty much equal in terms of their special abilities, but Venom’s Symbiote ultimately makes him a more violent anti-hero.

The Symbiote could serve as an effective buff like it did with Spider-Man’s own black suit; Spidey’s alternate costume allowed him to deal extra damage against webbed targets, so that same ability could – and should – apply to Venom.

But to spice things up, each attack – especially against a webbed target – should further increase his Symbiotic rage, culminating in an attack that consumes all applications of rage to deliver a critical blow. It would even be interesting to see the Symbiote fuse to an enemy and ultimately discover its greatest weakness or fear that Venom could feed off of in battle.

Venom’s best work has been as a villain, but Avengers Alliance recently allowed players to recruit Magneto – one of X-Men’s most iconic antagonists – by collecting eight magnetic lockboxes. Something similar should be done to recruit Venom, but since he’s a sentient alien, it would have to include some aspect of collecting samples of the Symbiote.

Still, his inclusion in the game’s second season would be quite beneficial to my team, especially when fighting alongside Spider-Man for some significant team-up bonuses. With his superhuman strength, agility and hulking physique, Venom would give any Marvel hero or villain – not to mention, Topher Grace’s Venom from 2007’s Spider-Man 3 – a run for their money!

Image Credit: Marvel.com/Universe


I was recently introduced to Armor while watching episodes of Marvel Anime: X-Men last year, and she really caught my eye. She can generate a psionic exoskeleton body armor that protects her from even the most debilitating attacks. Plus, her armor is very vibrant and would look stunning in high definition if brought to life on screen.

But there’s more to her armor than just defense.

It grants her superhuman strength, agility, endurance, durability and dexterity. She’s also able to generate enough force through the armor to deliver destructive blows and even punch through several walls of a building.

She pretty much sounds invincible like Blade since very little can penetrate her armor – except for lasers and – in some cases – adamantium (the indestructible metal alloy that strengthened Wolverine’s claws). But her special abilities could make her one of the strongest characters in the game.

Some players may not expect the Marvel heroines to pack as much punch as their male counterparts. But some of the game’s current roster of heroines – including Rogue, Invisible Woman, Scarlet Witch and Ms. Marvel – possess a stellar combination of attributes and special moves.

Since many significant X-Men characters (Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, etc.) have been included in the game since its debut, it would only be fitting for someone of Armor’s caliber to become unlockable in the future. Armor may be the last X-Man a loyal fanboy would expect to see featured in Avengers Alliance, especially when they consider many of the other stronger X-Men (Bishop, Sunfire, Polaris, Magma, Moonstar, etc.) who could possibly debut soon.

But should she be thrown into the mix, Armor could really turn some heads with her offense and defense – and become the dark horse of Avengers Alliance.

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