Marvel Avengers - The Art of the Gameby Josh Morgan
Titan books has released another fantastic video game art book to add to their already stellar collection of quality books. Marvel Avengers The Art of the Game, much like other Titan books, takes you through the design process of the characters, levels, and weapons you will encounter in the game.
Full disclosure: Titan Books sent XboxAddict a copy of this art book to assess and ‘review'. While we may not give a traditional score, everything in this article will give you an in-depth look at what you can expect should you want to purchase it for yourself, or someone else for a fantastic gift. I would suggest playing through Marvel Avengers before delving too deep into the reading of the art book, as there are some minor, and possibly major, spoilers to be had. The art book assumes you've played the game already and want to learn more after the fact.
This art book has 192 stunning high gloss pages that feel thick and soft to the touch as you turn them. Like most glossy pages, you will see fingerprints but it's nothing a wipe with a shirt sleeve won't fix. The dimensions are 11" (273mm) tall and 12" (302mm) wide making it shorter, but wider than the Gears Tactics art book that I have from Titan. I really wish they would have a standard book size so they are all the same, as I am the type of person that likes to have things lined up and this book is an inch shorter than my others.
Comic books are a media where the design of characters is ever changing, and it must be hard to take a leap of faith with a character design knowing that others might not like it. For instance, since his creation in 1963, Iron Man has gone through countless revisions of the genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist and not all of them are as dashing as the Robert Downy Jr version we see in the MCU. When Marvel Avengers was first shown there was a HUGE backlash against the character designs. People flooded the comments sections expressing their hatred for these designs and demanding that they hire the MCU actors to voice and motion capture the characters. As a lifelong fan of comic books, all I could do was shake my head, because to me this was just another artist's take on the characters that I've been reading about since I was little.
Having an established set of characters to play with does take a lot of the pressure off having to create new characters that people will enjoy, but it does come with its own stress. These artists wanted to make these characters their own, while still holding true to the comic roots that grow deep with these stories. For instance, take the design of Captain America. With the realistic (not cartoony) graphics they chose for this game it makes more sense for Cap to have leather pads held together with buckles and straps instead of a skin tight red, white and blue spandex outfit of the comics. This is just one example of many design choices the artists had to make that are outlined in this book. Each main character, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow and Kamala each have a few pages showing the pitches the artists had for the character designs. It is very neat to see the many designs of Caps shield and the costume designs that will most likely make it in as paid DLC.
The first thing I did when I broke open the seal (other than breathe in that sweet, sweet aroma of a newly opened collector book) is flip through the pages to see if there is any hint of future DLC characters that could be added to the game. I am sad to report that they did not show any art for future characters planned for the game. I was really hoping for some concept art for Deadpool or Wolverine, but I will have to wait. What I did see was the most terrifying picture of MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) I have ever seen. Seeing him in a 2x5" panel on a 20-year-old comic book is one thing, but seeing that huge veiny head in high def 8x8" glossy paper is what fuels nightmares. The artists really made him terrifying, and even though I am not to the point in the game where he is fully MODOK, I am now going to make sure I play those parts with the lights on.
Marvel Avengers Art of the Game is packed with concept art, final designs, storyboards and artist commentary. It's 192 pages show the thought that went into designing the characters we love. It retails for $39.99 (USD) and $52.99 beaver pelts (CAD) and will look great on your bookshelf next to some Marvel POP! figures, or on your coffee table. Just... don't leave the MODOK page open, you will scare the kids.
Published: 4 September 2020 (US)
Dimension: 10.75" x 11.94" (US)
Writers: Paul Davies
All images © Marvel